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Windows Phone 7 to launch on November 8

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that Microsoft's next handheld operating system will launch next month

Windows Phone 7 to launch on November 8
At least nine Windows 7 handsets are scheduled to launch along with the OS next month

Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed Windows Phone 7 (WP7) will be released on November 8, during a presentation about the operating system. Nine Windows 7 handsets were also shown, each of which is expected to hit the market when the OS officially launches.

The interface is said to have been completely redesigned and so will share little in common with Windows Mobile 6.5. The operating system's requirements call for a 1GHz processor, a capacitive 4-point multitouch screen, a DirectX 9 compatible GPU, 256MB of RAM and at least 8GB of flash memory, an accelerometer with compass, a 5-megapixel camera, a FM radio tuner and at least six dedicated hardware buttons at minimum.

The software giant has been selective about its partners and has nominated Dell, Samsung, HTC and LG as the brands that can carry the OS. Some phones that will don WP7 are the LG Quantum, HTC Surround, HTC Mozart and the Samsung Focus. Microsoft billed Windows Phone 7 handhelds as ‘a different kind of phone'.

Microsoft has integrated its ‘Bing' search engine into the phone's interface and is able to function based on voice commands. The home or main screen allows for animated icons and all business and personal e-mails and appointments can be synced with Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail and Exchange Servers.

At present third party apps are limited and when the OS launches, it will face stiff competition from the likes of Android, BlackBerry and the iPhone. The three platforms already have significant user bases and in the case of the Android and iPhone, huge amounts of paid-for and free applications and games are already available.

WP7 is a fully-fledged replacement to the older Windows Mobile platform and is intended to be a complete ‘reboot' of the company's mobile strategy.

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