It may not have been quite the upgrade Microsoft had conceived of with the company's initial route map for 2009 but the launch of Windows Phone/Windows Mobile 6.5 today comes with no less ceremony. Naturally, an operating system is all very well and good so, here are some of the first flush of Windows phones to show it off.
The handset almost synonymous with the launch of Windows Phone is the HTC Touch2, codenamed the HTC Mega when the web first got whiff of it. It has a full 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen, a 3.2-megapixel camera, 256MB of internal memory, a microSD expansion slot, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and HTC's TouchFLO interface which will sit on top of Windows Mobile 6.5. If you've seen a demo of the OS, it was probably done on this handset.
Samsung Omnia II (i8000)
You could almost fill an article on Windows phones with what Samsung has planned alone given that four of the company's 6.5-toting Omnia variations are set for launch this month. The pick of the crop for the consumer is probably the I800 or Omnia II which features a 3.7-inch AMOLED touch display, a 5-megapixel camera, aGPS, up to 32GB memory via microSD, Wi-Fi and Samsung's reskin UI known as TouchWiz 2.0. For those on more of a budget, it's also worth looking out for the B7300 Omnia LITE which is largely the same as its bigger brother but with just a 3-inch WQVGA and a lower resolution 3-megapixel camera. Both handsets, come with the Professional version of Windows Mobile 6.5 and support HSDPA.
LG is never one to slouch in the face of technological advances and, at IFA, the Korean competitor promised 13 phones before 2010, three of which will feature Windows Mobile 6.5. The one we know most about at the moment is the all touch screen LG GM750. It will be rolled out today in Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK on Vodafone and in France on SFR. It has a 3-inch screen, supports Wi-Fi, HSDPA, GPS and also houses a healthy 5-megapixel camera.
One familiar face which is now offering a free upgrade from Windows Mobile 6.1 is the Toshiba TG01 exclusive to Orange. The hardware will remain the same with its crystal clear 4.1-inch WVGA touchscreen display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5-megapixel camera and super thin design but the multicolour strip GUI will disappear. The resistive touchscreen means that it makes no difference that Windows Phone offers no multi-touch support anyway but it's the Toshiba REGZA technology in the device for the increased colour gamut on the screen that is the highlight of this handset. A good choice for video.
Just when you thought they couldn't get any bigger, flatter and faster; the world got wind of the 4.3-inch HTC HD2 (previously known as the Leo). It features a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 448MB RAM, 3.5G speeds, a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus, microSD slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and a 3.5mm jack - all of which puts it in direct competition with the TG01. What's more, it trumps Toshiba with a capacitive display capable of multi-touch and all the experience of HTC's mobile technology.