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  (Source: Engadget)

Microsoft shows off Windows Phone 7 at a recent event. It also let the launch month -- October -- slip.  (Source: YouTube)
Microsoft is putting it all on the line with its ambitious OS redesign

In a recently released video Microsoft spills the beans on when it will be first releasing Windows Phone 7 (the successor to Windows Mobile 6.5) handsets.  In the YouTube video it states, "I'm gonna ask rock star Kostas... to come on. And Kostas has brought with him Windows Phone 7, which we launch this October."

Before Microsoft would only state that it was launching in the "holiday season".

Among the other features shown in the video demo include: "Applications as ads, being able to pin applications as live tiles to the start screen and get updates and continuing engagement with the user and toasts, which are notifications developers can send to the end user."

Microsoft's redesign of its smartphone operating system has been a painful process.  After facing much criticism that its OS was stale compared to competitors like Android and the iPhone (OS X variant), Microsoft ditched its code base almost entirely, choosing to build from the ground up a mobile phone OS atop the OS found in its Zune MP3 player.

The company is speeding towards launch, but may be missing many key features such as the ability to multitask, copy and paste (except in the mobile version of Office, which is expected to be implemented at launch), and more.  It also has drawn criticism for "following in Apple's line", banning pornographic apps.

Ultimately Microsoft is coming very late to the game -- but then again it was in the same position almost a decade back when it released the Xbox, whose successor has since become a solid second place in the latest console war round.  Indeed, Microsoft hopes to leverage its gaming savvy by creating Xbox Live games for the smartphone.  How well this catches on remains to be seen, but given that over a third of iPhone apps are games, it certainly seems there will be interest.

If Microsoft can pull off a solid launch, and then quickly bring its OS up to speed in terms of multitasking and copy and paste, it may prove a compelling competitor.  A lot of its fate will ultimately rely on hardware partners, too, but with top names like Dell and HTC cooking up Windows Phone 7 smart phones, its safe to say that it will launch with at least some high-end handsets.




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