Six months after Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, the company will lastly be able to say that it’s available on all the major U.S. wireless carriers.
Verizon said Thursday it would begin selling its first smartphone with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system next week. Online sales will start next Thursday. Retail store sales will begin June 2.
Phones that run on the mobile operating system are now obtainable from AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Sprint in the U.S.
Made by Taiwanese electronics company HTC, the latest phone is called the HTC Trophy.
The phone will cost $150 if customers sign up for a two-year agreement for voice and data services, and if they mail in a rebate for $50. The lowest price of a combination voice and data plan would be $70 per month.
The HTC Trophy has a 3.8-inch touch screen, 1-gigahertz processor, 16 gigabytes of storage and a 5 megapixel camera.
“We’re adding Windows Phone 7 to our lineup, so we’re giving customers more options,” said Albert Aydin, a spokesman for Verizon.
Asked why it took Verizon months longer than other carriers to start selling the phone, Aydin said, “We put our phones through a lot of testing and when we think that the device is ready for our customers … that’s when we will put out a phone for launch.”
Microsoft is planning to declare new features for Windows Phone 7 at a Tuesday event in New York.
Microsoft and Verizon have an up-and-down history. Last year, the two companies commenced the Kin smartphone, which Microsoft had hoped would sell well with socially networked tweens, but pulled the phone less than two months later.
Sales were poor, observers said, partly because the service plan Verizon required was too expensive for tweens.
Phones that run Windows Phone 7 have been selling since October.
The last time Microsoft released sales numbers was in January, when the company said it had sold 2 million software permits to phone makers. That number did not signify how many phones were sold by carriers.
Research firm IDC expects Microsoft’s share of the overall smartphone market to increase slightly to 5.5 percent share by the end of the year; Google Android is expected to raise to 39.5 percent; Apple to stay level at 15.7 percent; and BlackBerry (Research In Motion) to fall to 14.9 percent.
Michael Cherry, an analyst at self-determining research firm Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, said he can’t tell what impact Verizon sales will have on Windows Phone.
“I don’t think Microsoft has managed to get market enthusiasm to the point where people are going to go, ‘Wow, a new Windows Phone in the Verizon stores? I’m headed out there tonight,’ ” Cherry said. “I think the iPhone is the only one that has that kind of cachet.”