The 3G device costs $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract. If you buy one before July 15, Verizon will throw in a free Xbox 360 game: either Halo: Reach, Kinect Sports, or Lode Runner.
The media-centric device features a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor, surround sound through SRS WOW HD, 3.8-inch WVGA touch screen, 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and 720p HD video capture, 16 GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11 b/g/n). It's also quad-band and will work in more than 200 countries, Verizon said in a press release.
Microsoft will purchase the company from investor group Silver Lake, which—along with Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz Ventures, and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)—acquired a majority stake in Skype in December 2009.
Microsoft said the deal will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications across its products, while expanding Skype's reach. Skype will be available on Microsoft products like Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and more.
Microsoft said it will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.
Separately, Microsoft also started rolling out the first security update for Windows Phone 7, which fixes nine fradulent third-party digital certificates.
Like other Windows Phone 7 users, those with an HTC Surround will receive two updates, the first of which will be for a minor update first rolled out in February. Once that's updated, users can move on to the March update, which includes copy and paste, improved Marketplace search, and faster app launching.
Windows Phones check for updates every three days, so it might not appear right away. If you don't want to wait, you can check for it manually via the Zune software on the PC. Just plug the phone in via USB and click "update now." Once the February update is installed, you will have to unplug the phone and plug it back in to receive the March "cut and paste" update. Microsoft has a how-to guide on its Web site.
"I believe it's important that we learn all we can from the February update. So I've decided to take some extra time to ensure the update process meets our standards, your standards, and the standards of our partners," Eric Hautala, Microsoft's general manager of customer experience engineering, wrote in a blog post. "As a result, our plan is to start delivering the copy-and-paste update in the latter half of March."
Microsoft started rolling out its first, minor update for the Windows Phone 7 platform in late February, but a glitch prompted the company to temporarily halt updates for Samsung phones.
When Apple announced the iPhone three years ago, the entire mobile industry started to play catch-up to what Apple was doing. It took a while, but slowly companies like Google, RIM, and Palm eventually released smartphone operating systems like webOS and Android that aimed to compete. However, not much was heard from Microsoft. Once heralded as a major player in the smartphone business with Windows Mobile, Microsoft took a hell of a long time to come up with anything that could compete against iOS, Android, webOS, and really anything else out there. Then, finally, they announced Windows Phone 7 Series, and smartly dropped the "Series" part when just about everyone made fun of them for coming up with a name that was more convoluted than necessary.
Microsoft wanted to tell the world that they were serious about competing, even going so far as to hold a funeral for the iPhone and BlackBerry. A bold (and ridiculous) statement for sure, but now Windows Phone 7 has arrived, launching tomorrow over in Europe, and arriving in the USA on November 8th. Has Microsoft actually learned anything by sitting back and observing the smartphone wars over the past few years, sitting on the sidelines while taking notes? We've been playing with Windows Phone 7 non-stop for a while now, and we're sharing our answers with you here in our Windows Phone 7 review.
Windows Phone 7 launches on November 8 here in the US, and in just three days over in Europe. I got a chance to sit in (okay, I kinda took it over) on Windows Phone Radio a couple days ago to talk to Brian Seitz and Matt Akers about what we can all expect from the launch, from the software, and from the hardware devices that we will see launching. We chat about Zune, Xbox Live on the devices, and also what it took to bring a bunch of Microsoft divisions together to collaborate on this operating system. It's all good stuff, and if you're interested in WIndows Phone 7 or mobile devices in general, give it a listen.
I'm gonna try and make semi-regular appearances on the show, so if there are any questions you have, feel free to send them my way!
Yesterday Microsoft held a joint press conference with AT&T to launch Windows Phone 7. We’re sure you’ve probably read all about the news, but that’s never as good as taking in the information first-hand, is it? Well, now you can watch the press conference in its entirety, and we’ve embedded it above. It’s an hour long, so you may wanna grab a snack, but it’s definitely full of good info about what Microsoft plans on doing to try and win back their place in the mobile wars.
Microsoft finally unleashed all their Windows Phone 7 news today, which we will be sharing in a bit. They also put out their first Windows Phone 7 ad, and we’ve gotta say, we think it’s a good one. It got a chuckle or two out of us, and seems apropos for this day and age. Give it a look!
Ahhhhh snap! Microsoft is officially bringing “it” by touting the Windows Phone 7 as the next revolution in smartphones. Introduced with a cinematic touch by utilizing Lawrence of Arabia themed teaser trailer, Windows Phone 7 rides blurringly from out of the distance into the forefront. Okay, we’re a bit too enthusiastic, but something about Xbox Live on our phones makes us get all giddy inside!
Wanna get an in-depth preview of what Microsoft has in store for Windows Phone 7? In this episode, we chat with Brian Seitz of the Windows Phone team, and he gives us a tour through the entire Windows Phone 7 interface. We get a look at a bunch of features and hubs, including things like social networking integration, Microsoft Office, Xbox Live, photos, friends, Zune, Outlook, and much more. Seeing how Microsoft was able to tie a bunch of their different service offerings (Xbox, Office, Zune, Bing, Explorer, etc.) so tightly into one device is impressive, and definitely gives us hope as they gear up for the launch of Windows Phone 7 devices this fall.
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