The first crop of Windows Phone 7 devices has gone on sale in Microsoft's home market, backed by heavy promotion by the company and its carrier partners.
US operators AT&T and T-Mobile on Monday started selling the HTC Surround, the Samsung Focus and the HTC HD7, Microsoft said. The LG Quantum and Dell Venue Pro will launch in the next few weeks.
AT&T is strongly pushing WP7 devices, devoting a special product wall with a dedicated touchscreen at most of its 2,200 stores, Forbes said.
The operator has already introduced its U-verse Mobile video-on-demand service for Windows 7 devices simultaneously with the WP7 launch.
Microsoft could spend as much as $500 million on marketing, subsidies and other expenses to support the WP7 launch, TechCrunch reported.
Reviews of the first Windows Phone 7 release have praised the responsive user interface, but say it takes getting used to and is missing a universal search option.
Reviewers also complained about the lack of support for third-party multitasking. Engadget said the WP7 still feels a year behind market leaders by user experience and feature support.
Windows Phone 7 devices first went on sale in international markets, including New Zealand, Singapore, Australia and London, in late October.
At least one handset maker, HTC, is reportedly seeing better than expected WP7 sales in some first-release markets.
Gartner research vice-president Carolina Milanesi last month said she does not expect the new platform to help Microsoft improve its market share beyond 2011, after which volumes will grow but not by enough to keep up with the market.
“Do I think that this is a marked improvement over previous versions of the OS? Absolutely. Do I think that it will have a positive impact on sales this year and next year? Yes, I do. Do I believe that Microsoft has done enough to establish itself as a key OS in five years time? I am not sure,” she said.