Updated: Microsoft announces availability of Windows phones

Today can be marked as the last day of the "Windows Mobile" device brand as Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows Phones worldwide at an exclusive event in NYC hosted by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division. The devices announced today ship with Windows Mobile 6.5, which has been a long time coming.

So what is a "Windows Phone" one might ask? "Our lives increasingly have become this complex mash-up of our professional and personal worlds, so we need a better way to connect to the people we care about and an easier way to connect to the information that matters to us," Bach said during his welcome at the Open House.

A Windows phone offers a variety of software and applications including: Mobile versions of Windows Live, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and much more. A redefined e-mail experience which the ability to manage multiple accounts using Outlook Mobile and Exchange Server synchronization.

One of the applications that was announced today at the event was My Phone, which was announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress (Our first impressions). My Phone is a free service that helps people manage, backup, restore, synchronize data between PCs, and share information from their Windows phone directly to Microsoft's secure My Phone servers .

Additional features of the My Phone service is a set of "lost phone" features that are currently free of charge until November 30th, and for $4.99 after. This package allows users to immediately locate the phone's current location on a map (U.S. only), remotely lock a phone, post an "if found" message to its screen, loudly ring the phone even if it's set to vibrate or silent mode, or to remotely completely erase the phone's content.

Here's a list of Windows phone available today or in the coming weeks (country and carrier):

In North America:

  • HTC Pure from AT&T
  • HTC Imagio from Verizon Wireless
  • Samsung Intrepid from Sprint, available Oct. 11, 2009
  • HTC Tilt 2 from AT&T, available in the coming weeks

In Latin America:
  • Samsung Omnia II available in the coming weeks from TIM Brasil

In Europe:
  • MDA Vario V, MDA Compact V and HTC Touch2 and the Samsung Omnia II from Deutsche Telekom in select European markets
  • HTC HD2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France
  • HTC Touch2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France, Spain, Switzerland and Romania
  • A software update for the HTC Touch Pro2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France, U.K. and Romania
  • Samsung Omnia II from Orange, available in the coming weeks in Poland, Switzerland and Slovakia and from early December in France
  • Samsung Omnia LITE from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France and Spain
  • Samsung Omnia PRO B7320 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France and the U.K.
  • Toshiba TG01 W from Orange, available as an update to the TG01 in the coming weeks in France, the U.K., Switzerland and Romania
  • LG GM750 and Samsung Omnia II from SFR in France
  • TMN Bluebelt 2 and TMN Silverbelt, made by ZTE Corp., from TMN in Portugal
  • Samsung Omnia II and Omnia LITE from TMN in Portugal
  • HTC Touch Diamond2 from Vodafone in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa and Central Europe
  • HTC Touch Pro2 from Vodafone in the U.K. and Switzerland
  • LG GM750 from Vodafone in Germany, the U.K., Spain and the Netherlands

The following phones are available on the open market in Europe:

  • Samsung Omnia II, Omnia LITE, Omnia PRO B7320, Omnia PRO B7330 and Omnia PRO B7610 available in October

In Asia:
  • ZTE X60 from China Unicom
  • HTC Touch Diamond2 from Telstra

The following phones are available on the open market in Asia:
  • Acer beTouch E100, beTouch E101, beTouch E200 and Acer neoTouch
  • Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20
  • HTC Snap, HTC Touch Pro2, HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Touch2
  • LG GM730 and LG GM550
  • Samsung Omnia II and Samsung Omnia PRO B7320, Omnia PRO B7330

Update: Attendees at today's event in NYC also got a sneak peak and hands-on experience with the Bing for Mobile application coming this fall. First impressions: Elegant UI, very quick search results, and relevant search results. Check it out:

More on the Bing for Mobile application is expected to be announced later this year at the Web2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Important links:
Link: Microsoft Press Release: NYC Open House
Link: Microsoft Press Release: Redmond Headquarters
Link: Microsoft My Phone Service Homepage
Link: Windows phone homepage

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