AT&T Will Be Exclusive Carrier for Windows Phone 7

Microsoft plans to unveil smartphones that run its Windows Phone 7 Series operating system on Oct. 11. The software giant is partnering with AT&T to roll out new devices from Samsung, LG Electronics, and HTC.

The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter in detailing the planned New York launch and smaller events in other key cities. Microsoft is hoping to rebound in an increasingly competitive smartphone operating-system market where Apple and Android devices have been gaining ground on established players.

“This is a very critical launch for Microsoft,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. “Developers have actually been pretty positive about the platform. People who have seen the phone are pleasantly surprised about how good it is and are hoping for an alternative to the other devices that are out there, specifically Apple. The success is going to depend an awful lot on the hardware end.”

Windows Phone 7 Defined

The Journal said AT&T has an exclusive on Windows Phone 7 devices, which won’t include any hardware from Microsoft itself. Microsoft tried its hand at smartphone manufacturing with the KIN, which sold on Verizon Wireless and failed in the first six weeks. But KIN didn’t sport Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7 works to consolidate common tasks and services in shared hubs so consumers don’t have to move in and out of smartphone apps. It’s no surprise that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is built into the phone.

Every phone that uses the operating system will offer a dedicated hardware button for Bing to give users one-click access to search from anywhere on the phone. And a special implementation of Bing search provides intent-specific results, delivering the most relevant web or local results, depending on the type of query.

Microsoft has developed what it calls dynamically updated “live tiles”…

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