As Microsoft gears up to launch Windows Phone 7 in the U.S. next week, handsets are in short supply in countries where Windows Phone 7 devices are already available.
In the U.K., where Windows Phone 7 devices went on sale Oct. 21, Orange is grappling with supply shortages for the HTC 7 Mozart and the Samsung Omnia 7, the U.K.-based blog Mobile Today reported last week. Orange is issuing vouchers for about $32 to customers that pre-ordered Windows Phone 7 devices but have yet to obtain them, according to the report.
The shortages raise a puzzling question: What the heck do Orange and AT&T get for being named Microsoft's "premier" partners for Windows Phone 7? This status has been ill-defined, although that hasn't stopped AT&T from preening over it. At the Mobile World Congress in February Microsoft said it would work with the two carriers to differentiate their Windows Phone 7 devices through "unique software and services" on their networks.
On Monday, Business Insider speculated that the Windows Phone 7 device shortages stem from scarce supply of AMOLED screens, a key smartphone component that handset makers have had trouble keeping in stock in recent months.
Meanwhile, O2 in Germany has had trouble keeping up with demand for HTC's HD7, and Australian carrier Telstra has similar issues with its HTC 7 Mozart, the blog Digitimes reported Wednesday.
Next: Genuine shortage or just a marketing ploy?