Phones

Latest Windows Phone 7 Firmware Available on Two New Phones

Two "new" Windows Phone 7 handsets, for AT&T and Sprint, are on display this week at the CTIA conference in Orlando. Both are arriving with the latest version of the Microsoft mobile operating systems, which includes new features such as copying/pasting text.

The firmware update to existing Windows Phone handsets now is being rolled out to selected customers in Europe, and will be expanded gradually to others, according to Microsoft. Among the new features Windows Phone 7 are copy/paste, faster application loading, and an improved search for the online Zune Windows Phone Marketplace: searches can now return results for just apps, or music, or games instead of all three combined.

AT&T announced the HTC HD7S, which is a variant of the existing HD7 Windows Phone handset previously available overseas and from T-Mobile USA. The main difference is the improved display. The original HD7 used a standard thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD display. For this new phone, HTC seems to be relying on Sony's Super LCD technology, which makes some changes to improve the screen's contrast ratio and viewing angle. It will be AT&T's biggest-screen Windows Phone device: a 4.3-inch display, with an 800 x 480 pixels WVGA resolution.

The HD7S has a 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, for photos and HD video. It packs 16GB of internal memory. As with other first generation Windows Phones, the HD7S has Qualcomm's 1-GHz Snapdragon single-core processor.

The phone comes with AT&T's U-verse mobile app, which lets customers of its U-verse media subscription service manage DVR recordings, browse TV listings, and download and watch TV shows.

The phone will be available in "coming weeks" but no price was announced.

The other "new" phone is the previously announced HTC Arrive for Sprint, the first Windows Phone for CDMA networks, which became available this week. The Arrive is a relabeled HTC 7 Pro, which was first announced in October 2010 but was only available outside the U.S.

The Arrive features a 3.6-inch, 800 x 480 pixel WVGA touchscreen, which slides up and tilts to expose a full QWERTY. It has a 5-megapixel camera and video camcorder, Wi-Fi and 16GB of internal storage.

For the Arrive, Sprint charges the $10 monthly add-on fee for its smartphones, on top of the Everything Data plan, which starts at $69.99 per month.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

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