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Windows 7 mobile unveiled; first phones announced

HTC HD7The Windows 7 release marks a major upgrade for the software giant. Microsoft, once one of the key players in the mobile industry, saw its star fall over the past few years with the release of Apple and Android-based smartphones. Microsoft’s share of the smartphone operating system continued to drop in the second quarter of 2010 by ┬ámarket fell by more than half to 5.5%, according to market research firm Canalys.

In a bid to take back market share and reclaim its former losses, Microsoft announced several new phones that would be carrying the Windows 7 mobile operating system.

AT&T Inc. displayed three of its Windows 7 devices including the Samsung Focus, the LG Quantum, and the HTC  Surround, which are priced at $199.99 with a two-year service contract. They will be on sale starting the week of Nov. 8.

T-Mobile USA, which will launch its phones after AT&T, is scheduled to show off its own Windows Phone 7 device later Monday. T-Mobile plans to launch its Windows HD7 device in mid-November.

HTC is putting a lot of trust in the success of Windows 7, revealing five smartphones with Microsoft’s new operating system. Its phones will be available by late October for distribution in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

“We at HTC can create the best Android phone and we can create the best Windows Phone 7 phone and let the consumer decide,” said Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO, during a press briefing in Taipei.

The include the HTC 7 Surround, HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Pro and HTC HD7.

In the US, T-Mobile will be carrying the HTC HD7. While pricing has not yet been released, it is expected to arrive on the market in mid-November. It includes a 4.3 inch touch screen and what T-Mobile claims to be the largest screen for a Windows mobile device in the US. It also includes a 1GHz processor, 16GB in storage and 5-megapixel camera.