Windows Phone 7 officially unveiled by Microsoft

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Windows Phone 7   here at last

Microsoft has officially launched Windows Phone 7 with a speech by figurehead Steve Ballmer in New York and an appearance by iPhone-loving Stephen Fry at the London event.

Steve Ballmer announced that nine handsets would be available at launch, which is a global figure. Six phones are being announced at the launch event in the UK, the HTC HD7, HTC 7 Trophy, LG Optimus 7, Samsung Omnia 7 and the HTC 7 Mozart as well as the oddly-named Dell Venue Pro.

"We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft, as he formally announced the mobile OS that was previously shown off at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in February.

"Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience — one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a 'glance and go' format."

All of Britain's major networks have got their hands on exclusive deals for some of these handsets, which represent a huge push by Microsoft to compete with the likes of BlackBerry OS, Apple's iOS 4 and Android from Google.

For all our Windows Phone 7 stories, check out our hub page.

New start

Microsoft has acknowledged that its previous Windows Mobile offerings have not been strong outside of the business sector, and is hoping that this latest effort can put it back among the contenders.

To that end, some of the company's biggest brands have been included, including gaming tie-ups with Xbox, Zune media, Office and Exchange support and, of course, the use of the Windows brand.

Steve ballmer