Coming song T-Mobile’s Windows Phone 7-equipped HTC HD7 will retail for $199, and ship Nov. 8. That’s according to T-Mobile’s corporate Twitter feed, and a note on T-Mobile’s corporate Website.
On that Website, T-Mobile claims the HTC HD7 comes equipped with a 720p HD video recorder, 16GB of memory, and “the largest screen available on a Windows Phone smartphone on the market.”
That $199 price tag seems to be the evolving standard. During Windows Phone 7’s New York City launch event Oct. 11, AT&T announced that it would market three smartphones at that price point: the LG Quantum ($199), with a physical QWERTY keyboard; the HTC Surround, with a slide-out speaker and kickstand; and Samsung Focus, which AT&T claims is the thinnest of the initial Windows Phone 7 devices.
Windows Phone 7 has earned generally strong reviews so far. Microsoft hopes that the smartphones’ unique interface, which aggregate content into six subject-specific “Hubs” such as “People” and “Games,” will attract buyers who would otherwise gravitate towards the Apple iPhone or a Google Android device.
“We set out to build a phone that was thoroughly modern,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the assembled media and analysts during the launch event. “Modern in the hardware we use, modern in its design principles.” The company has imposed fairly strict hardware requirements on its manufacturing partners, such as dictating that all devices feature a 1GHz processor at a minimum; some of those OEMs, however, have decided to tweak that basic form-factor with pop-out speakers, slide-out physical keyboards, kickstands and the like.
I played with the HTC HD7 for a few minutes at the Microsoft event, and it certainly seemed to be a very solid device. The 4.3-inch screen is optimal for those who rely on their smartphones for multimedia, and some hardware details were particularly well thought-out–for example, the way HTC built the kickstand into the frame around the camera aperture (see Slide 21 in this slideshow I did, to see what I mean).
The question now, of course, is whether Windows Phone 7 will sell. Microsoft and its partners certainly hope so, but it will likely be some time before we have a clear picture of the overall sales trend.