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T-Mobile's Phone 7 Device Sold Out in Uneven U.S. Debut

By Barry Levine
November 9, 2010 10:29AM

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The U.S. debut of Windows Phone 7 devices appears uneven, with T-Mobile's HTC HD7 reportedly sold out. Observers reported in-store promotions at T-Mobile and AT&T focused on the iPhone and Android devices instead of Windows Phone 7. The other Phone 7 devices are the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround, both available from AT&T.

It's the day after the launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 smartphones in the U.S. How are the new platform and devices doing?

If selling out one of the three smartphones is any indication, Phone 7 appears to be doing well. On Monday, the first three Windows Phone 7 devices went on sale in the U.S., at AT&T and T-Mobile stores -- the Samsung Focus, the HTC Surround, and the HTC HD7. The HD7 is reportedly already sold out at T-Mobile.

'In an Embryonic State'

But the reception appears to be uneven. Some observers have noted the lack of in-store promotion for Phone 7 devices at AT&T and T-Mobile stores, with valuable promotion space dedicated instead to Apple's iPhone at AT&T and Android devices at T-Mobile.

The HTC HD7 offers a 4.3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, internal storage up to 8GB, 720p HD video, and a five-megapixel camera. The Surround features a slide-out speaker for sharing music, internal storage up to 16GB, and 720p HD video. The Focus offers a four-inch display, a five-megapixel camera with panorama and other enhanced photo options, internal storage up to 8GB, and 720p HD video. Both the HD7 and the Surround have a kickstand for hands-free viewing.

The LG Quantum and Dell Venue Pro are expected to be released in the U.S. in the next few weeks, and Phone 7 handsets have been on sale in New Zealand, Europe and the Asian Pacific since last month.

Ramon Llamas, an analyst with IDC, said the Windows Phone 7 rollout is still "in an embryonic state," and expectations of the reaction have been distorted by the phenomenal launch of Apple's iPhone. "Microsoft simply doesn't have that kind of brand appeal," he said.

'Three Units in Stock'?

Llamas also noted that the advertising campaign so far has been oriented to "bad behavior" by people who are using their smartphones when they should be doing something else, like a bride walking down the aisle while using her handset.

The tone set by Microsoft's marketing campaign so far is that Phone 7 devices will free the country of such bad behavior. The campaign has indicated that the new phones use good smartphone design to get things done faster, so people can get back to their lives and, apparently, their otherwise good behavior.

Llamas pointed out that, at some point, people want to see what a given device can do, and that will drive demand for specific devices.

Current Analysis' Avi Greengart agrees, adding that the "teaser ads" have been successful so far in "cutting through the clutter" of smartphone-related advertising. He noted that the sold-out HD7 is the only Phone 7 device that T-Mobile is currently carrying in the U.S., and, at this point, "we don't know if they only had three units in stock or if the demand has been overwhelming."

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