Windows Phone 7 will be GSM only; CDMA in 2011

The long-awaited handsets with Windows Phone 7 will be available only from carriers that have GSM networks, like AT&T and T-Mobile, Microsoft said.

The new operating system for smartphones won’t be available on handsets on CDMA networks like Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. Microsoft has postponed the CDMA-ready version of the OS till 2011.

“For the worldwide market, the vast majority of phones are GSM phones, so we focused on GSM first and then plan to deliver an update that will have great CDMA support in the first half of 2011,” Microsoft’s senior product manager, Greg Sullivan, said.

It makes sense for Microsoft, as CDMA has a smaller position globally. Remeber, though, that one of the largest wireless networks in the US, Verizon Wireless, runs on CDMA.With the iPhone currently available only on AT&T’s GSM networks, and Windows Phone 7 limited to AT&T and T-Mobile, Android phones will continue to dominate Verizon and Sprint sales as there is nothing competing directly with the popular Droid phones.

Bloomberg reported AT&T will have the first Windows Phone 7 smartphones when it launches. The report claimed AT&T will offer three different phones running Microsoft’s long-awaited mobile OS. To date, T-Mobile has declined to say whether it will sell the phones.

The phones are expected to go on sale next month.

Microsoft also finalized its Windows Phone Developer Tools, for developers interested in building Windows Phone 7 platform. The company hopes the new OS will be popular enough to halt the company’s market-share slide in the smartphone arena. A report showed Google’s Android chipping away at RIM BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, and Microsoft mobile OS market shares.

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