At least five handsets will be available at launch

Though a specific launch date has not yet been announced, news surrounding Windows Phone 7 is beginning to increase. Last week, DailyTech reported handsets sporting beta versions of the upcoming OS made their rounds for developers and reviewers. More recently, Pocket-lintconfirmed Microsoft's launch partners for Windows Phone 7, including  Dell, ASUS, LG, HTC, and Samsung.

All five companies are expected to have a handset available at launch, speculated to be sometime in October.

The recent news confirms the existence of a number of Windows Phone 7 handsets in development, including Dell's Lightning, and the LG Pacific. Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior product manager, told Pocket-lint that at least five handsets would be available at launch, sporting both full-Qwerty and touchscreen configurations.

Sullivan also confirmed that Windows Phone 7 will not be carrier-specific, opting for Google's Android route instead of Apple's iPhone model. 

"We want as many people as possible to be able to get it", Sullivan said.

He said he hoped the new OS would be a top contender among Android OS, Apple's iOS, and RIM's Blackberry OS.

"We will offer the best aspects of Android and the best of the iPhone, giving users the flexibility of different form factors, but with the rigidity of apps that are guaranteed to work on every device that is out there," Sullivan told Pocket-lint.

Microsoft is hoping its new smartphone OS will parallel the recent success of Windows 7, which earned it a record Q4 profit. The company's latest mobile offering, the KIN line, ended in failure when Microsoft pulled the handsets just two months after launch, thanks to paltry sales numbers.

Early reviews of Windows Phone 7, running on a Samsung device that Sullivan said would not be available at launch, have been mixed at best. The OS still lacks a copy-and-paste function and third-party multi-tasking. Facebook users are forced to combine all of their Facebook friends into the phone's contact list upon logging into the application. On the positive side, the OS has a decent version of Internet Explorer, an informative homescreen, nice camera results and music player.  

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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