Three days before sale, nobody knows about Windows Phone 7
You wouldn't know it, but Microsoft's much-heralded debut of their new smartphone operating system happens on Thursday. On that day, the phone will be available to buy from Orange, T-Mobile, O2 and 3 as well as other third-party retailers such as Carphone Warehouse. Up to seven handsets are expected to be available, all carrying the new Windows Phone 7 OS, which Microsoft believes will revolutionise how consumers use their mobiles.
There's just one problem. Three days before going on sale, none of the providers know how much they cost or what tariffs will be available.
Since Steve Ballmer's officially launched Windows Phone 7 last week, there has been no pricing released by retailers. Developer Terry Brown tells of his frustrations in contacting both O2 and Carphone Warehouse for pricing and tariffs - not only was he told that none were available, but operators at neither company could guarantee they'd have handsets in stock on the day.
Terry also runs through all the outlets that Windows Phone 7 should be available from, and points out that none carry any information, other than to say the phone is available soon. Orange has some pricing information available, according to Terry - but it is impossible to find on their site. When we called Orange to ask about their HTC 7 Mozart handset this dinnertime - a handset exclusive to Orange - customer services told us they hadn't heard of the phone, and because it wasn't displayed on their internal systems there was no pricing available for the time being.
Think about what happens when Apple launch a new version of the iPhone; there's a big media event, the handset is demonstrated - and Apple announce the price of the handsets and when they will be available. In between that event and the date of sale, the service providers announce their tariffs and the mindless frenzy of fanboys begins.
So what's going on with WIndows Phone 7? Three days before the handsets go on sale, are service providers still negotiating prices with Microsoft, is it a bungled rollout or is there widespread apathy towards Microsoft and their new operating system?
Is it even worth the wait? Not according to avid Bitterwallet reader A Cole, who passed on the official Windows Phone 7 commercial: "So smart phones are better than sex, unless you have a Windows Phone 7?"