Telstra unveils HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

HTC has a user-centric focus and Windows Phone 7 has a clean interface

Telstra, HTC and Microsoft have teamed up to launched the first high-profile Windows Phone 7 smartphone onto the Australian market with the HD7 on the Next G network.

The handset will be available from March 29 for $768 outright or on a 24-month contract. Contract pricing was not announced at the launch event in Sydney today.

After a spate of Android-based handsets launched over the past two years – from the Dream to the Desire Z – HTC has adopted WP7 in a big way with the HD7.

This week Microsoft announced legal action against a number of makers of Android-based handsets. The latest action follows a patent settlement between Microsoft and HTC last year over its use of Android.

The HTC HD7 features a 4.3-inch touch screen with 480 by 800 resolution, five megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p HD video recording, integrated Xbox Live gaming, music and video by Zune, HTC Sense and integrated Facebook and Windows Live accounts.

Telstra has also ported its suite of content applications to WP7 in the form of the TelstraOne application.

Telstra’s director of mobility products Andrew Volard said Windows Phone 7 is easy to use and the interface makes accessing information simple.

In the past Telstra has developed custom interfaces for the old Windows Mobile operating system, but with the advent of WP7 Volard said the company will focus on applications, not themes.

With the arrival of WP7 Telstra now manages mobile software development practices across the iPhone, Android and Windows platforms.

New HTC country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Ben Hodgson, said the combination of HTC, Windows Phone 7 and the Telstra network make the HD7 a compelling offering.

“HTC has shown strong leadership in developing Windows-based devices in the past, illustrating our ability to be first-to-market,” Hodgson said.

“HTC has a user-centric focus and Windows Phone 7 has a clean interface.”

WP7 has about 10,000 applications in its marketplace and this number is growing at about 100 per day.

With the HD7 Telstra has integrated operator billing for marketplace apps up to the value of $20.

Speaking at the launch Microsoft Australia’s mobile communications business director Sheau-Lan Reed said despite the head start of the iPhone and Android, the company plans on being number one in the mobile operating system market.

“There are 30,000 developers using Windows Phone 7 and we have a local developer challenge,” Sheau-Lan Reed said.

“Applications like Angry Birds is coming to Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer is coming along with multitasking.”

Reed said developers need to port older Windows Mobile apps to Windows Phone 7, but the skills required is not greatly different.

A WP7 update for the HTC Mozart handset is scheduled for April.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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