Windows Phone 7 is, likely, just over a month away from hitting the store shelves in Europe and just over two months away from seeing the light of day in the States . We've seen manufacturer devices, app development, and (obviously) development of the OS itself over the past several months.
The one thing we haven't seen much from is the wireless providers. Who's getting what and how much is going to cost us when it gets there? While the "how much" is well in the shadows right now, we do have some idea on the "who" with respect to wireless providers. Here's how we see it breaking down.
AT&T: Billed as one of the "premiere launch partners", AT&T appears to be in a position to offer the largest selection of Windows Phone 7 devices. We've heard rumors of HTC (T8788 or HD7?), Samsung (Cetus), and LG (C900 and GW910) devices headed to AT&T. Our count shows as many as four Windows Phone 7 devices hitting AT&T's shelves this Fall. Unless something changes over the next two months, AT&T will be at the forefront of Windows Phone 7.
T-Mobile: We are confident that T-Mobile will have a Windows Phone 7 device on the shelf at some point and the HTC Schubert has been quietly rumored to be that device.
Verizon: Verizon and Microsoft may not be on good speaking terms these days after the KIN adventure. Rumors are that Verizon is simply not interested in Windows Phone 7 and a leaked "end of life" report has Verizon removing any existing Windows Phones from their line-up by March of 2011. Coupled with the signs that Verizon doesn't have any Windows Phones on their2010/2011 product road map, we won't be shocked if Verizon shifts their smartphone focus from Windows Phones to Android or Blackberry.
Sprint: Listed as a launch partner when Windows Phone 7 was announced back in February (but that was a non-binding agreement), Sprint could go either way with Windows Phone 7. They could keep everything under wraps and surprise everyone with a Windows Phone 7 or simply taking a "wait and see" approach (as they did with Android). Fared Adib, Sprint's Vice President of Product Development did say back in February, "Sprint and Microsoft have had a 15-year-plus relationship together. And we believe that the Windows Phone 7 Series will continue that relationship into a new decade." Our guess, Sprint will let Microsoft work out the kinks with Windows Phone 7 and eventually have a Windows Phone 7 device in their line up. Maybe the Dell Streak Lightning?
Granted all this is speculation and the carriers still have plenty of time to throw in a few twists before Windows Phone 7 hits the shelves.
We still have the nagging questions of "when will the carriers get these phones?" and "how much will they cost?". The OS was just released to manufacturers and best guess is still seeing mid-to-early November for availability. Pricing points are still anyone's guess.