As the launch date for Windows Phone 7 approaches, the tech media have been working overtime, trying to pin down the date for the launch gala and also the date that phones built on the operating system will hit store shelves.
Now, a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says its sources have given it the real dates. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), the WSJ said Thursday, plans to launch the phones on Oct. 11, as the predominant rumors had been predicting for weeks.
The location, New York, that pundits had been predicting was also reinforced by the WSJ piece, along with satellite link-ups to other major cities worldwide.
Additionally, the paper said, Windows Phone 7 smartphones are slated for commercial availability the week of Nov. 8.
That date, however, is the real date for the launch gala, according to Paul Thurrott, an industry insider and author of a forthcoming book about Windows Phone 7, who posted on the topic at his Windows Phone Secrets blog.
It remains to be seen which source has the better scoop on the exact dates. However, if Microsoft is going to invite the press to its launch shindig, it had probably better start sending out the invitations soon considering Oct. 11 is less than two weeks away.
Other details that the Journal claims to have been told include the launch carrier — AT&T (NYSE: T) — which is also the exclusive service provider for Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones.
With only AT&T, the second-largest U.S. operator, as the sole launch carrier, that could mean that Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile, the fourth-largest operator, will not support Windows Phone 7 handsets, at least not initially.
This comes just two weeks after Microsoft revealed that Windows Phone 7 will only support GSM mobile networks at launch.
GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile Communication is the technology in use by T-Mobile and AT&T. The other two major U.S. operators — Verizon and Sprint — support Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile networks. Microsoft has said that the operating system will support CDMA — next year.
In fact, much of Europe, the Middle-East and Asia run on GSM.
Initially, AT&T will sell three Windows Phone 7 smartphones, according to the WSJ’s story — one each from Samsung, LG, and HTC.
Many analysts and other industry observers believe that Microsoft must gain significant mindshare from the start, making it unclear whether the planned launch event will have enough splash to make a serious impression on its first customers — consumers — by the holidays.
It may turn out to be difficult, given Microsoft’s late entry into the smartphone business at a time when such devices are becoming a popular replacement for laptops as mobile client devices.
“We do not comment on rumors and speculation. As we have said, we are excited and on track to deliver Windows Phone 7 this holiday,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.