Report: Microsoft Picks Date For Windows Phone 7 Launch

The official Windows Phone 7 launch event will be held Oct. 11, and Windows Phone 7 handsets will be available later that month, according to Pocket-Lint, which cited "multiple sources familiar with the matter."

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft declined to confirm this latest tidbit of Windows Phone 7 scuttlebutt, noting that it has a policy of not commenting "on rumors or speculation." Since unveiling Windows Phone 7 in February, Microsoft has said only that devices will be available in time for the holiday season.

Given this timeframe, it wouldn't be surprising to see Microsoft launch Windows Phone 7 next month. Nor would New York City be a shocking choice of venue, given that it was the site of the Windows 7 launch last October and the Office 2010 launch this past May.

Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 to manufacturing on Sept. 2 and plans to offer the final version of the Windows Phone Developer Tools on Sept. 16. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 handset partners, which include Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung, are now in the process of getting devices ready for market.

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But as Microsoft prepares for what is arguably its most closely watched product release since Windows 7, some channel partners believe its rivals may have already raced out to an insurmountable head start. This includes partners who've tested Windows Phone 7 devices and been impressed with its features and usability.

With Windows Mobile, "Microsoft was so wedded to the Windows brand that they lost sight of what was necessary to be successful," said one Microsoft partner, who requested anonymity. "They could still get back on track, but Apple has done such a great job with the iPhone that it could be hard for Microsoft to make much of a dent."

Microsoft is well aware of its trailing position and has been fervently trying to get developers up to speed and developing apps for Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is reportedly preparing a major marketing push around the Windows Phone 7 launch, which could, according to some reports, cost in the neighborhood of $1 billion.

It's a similar scenario that unfolded around the Windows 7 launch, when Microsoft sought to dispel the demons of the unpopular Windows Vista with a marketing campaign that highlighted the massive amount of developer feedback it had incorporated. The implicit message then, as it is now, is that this feedback helped Microsoft figure out exactly what its customers wanted.

In a blog post heralding the Windows Phone 7 RTM, Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of Windows Phone engineering, called it "the most thoroughly tested mobile platform Microsoft has ever released".

"We’ve had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback. We are ready," Myerson said in the blog post.