UPDATED 12:36 EDT / NOVEMBER 08 2010

New Windows Phone 7 Models Appear In U.S. Stores, Now Also With Xbox LIVE

Microsoft has released a new operating system version for Windows Phone 7 and those phones are beginning to hit the shelves now. The new models appearing in U.S. stores debut at around $200 retail, but discounts may bring them down as low as $150 for subscribers willing to buy a new contract. According to Wired, we have a lot to expect from these devices,

Windows Phone 7 is available today on three handsets: the HTC HD7, the HTC Surround and the Samsung Focus (pictured above). The HDC7 is available for T-Mobile customers, and the Surround and Focus are available for AT&T customers.

[…]

All the phones include a Snapdragon processor, 256 MB of RAM, at least 4 GB of flash storage, 802.11 b/g wireless, a capacitive touchscreen and five sensors (A-GPS, accelerometer, compass, proximity and light).

Two more handsets, Dell’s Venue Pro and the LG Quantum, haven’t yet been released but are scheduled for the holiday season. This puts the total number of models to hit the selves at five.

In tandem with the new OS release, we’re also seeing a huge surge from Microsoft in connecting Xbox LIVE back to mobile handsets—from an article on VentureBeat,

Xbox Live has its own hub within the phone’s user interface. That’s important because it differentiates Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 phones from all the others in the market now, including the iPhone.

You tap on the Xbox Live icon and it takes you to your Xbox Live account avatar, or character, with your gamerscore number and gamertag name. You can view the library of games you have on the phone, including Xbox Live-enabled titles, as well as recommended “spotlight” titles. In that respect, the Xbox Live feature is great for discovering new content.

For the gamer who just cannot stay away from their console—or friends—for very long. The interface should also allow them to connect into Xbox LIVE to send and receive messages from other people connected to the community. No news yet on if the app allows the phone to connect into the voice chat service or not (that would really be a canny development.) The number of people who use Xbox LIVE chat to keep up with friends and just generally hang out is quite large; being able to hook into a current conversation with a phone when away from the console would really round out the experience.

For now, Windows Phone 7 users will have to settle for being able to send/receive messages, update their avatar and glitz out their stuff, and look at how their friends are doing in their games. Perhaps it’ll become the next-big-thing for hardcore gamers getting out of work, stuck at holiday get-togethers with the family, or the like so that they can see what they’re missing out on before they return to the warm glow of their TV screen.


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