Microsoft has announced a new line of Windows Mobile phones amid the launch of its app store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
The software giant plans to launch more than 30 new WinMo smartphones in at least 20 countries around the world by the end of this year.
In North America, the company said AT&T will be carrying two WinMo-based HTC handsets, the HTC Pure and the HTC Tilt 2. The Pure is available now and the Tilt 2 will be available in the coming weeks.
Verizon Wireless and Sprint are also part of the global launch. Verizon is now carrying the HTC Imagio. Sprint is slated to have the WinMo-based Samsung Intrepid on Oct. 11.
According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company’s goal was to allow subscribers to seamlessly integrate content into their handset.
“We all want to connect quickly to the people and information that’s important to us from across our lives at work and at home,” said Ballmer in a prepared statement. “A Windows phone lets people take their entire world of digital information, communications, applications and entertainment with them wherever they go.”
To that end, the company said it was launching customizable themes for the phones through windowsphone.com/theme. It also updated its Windows Live platform with news feeds and photo sharing across major social networking sites like Twitter.
Its app store is launching with 246 mobile applications, including Facebook, Netflix and Zagat. All apps are certified by Microsoft and are backed by a return policy. The company said it has about 750 ISVx on board to build out its apps catalog. The company did not provide a specific timeline on the build-out, but did say the store would “continue to evolve” over the next few months.
The company is also leveraging its ubiquitous Windows operating system from the PC space by allowing WinMo phones to use PowerPoint and open and edit Word and Excel documents.
Furthermore, the company redesigned its Internet Explorer mobile browser platform with Adobe Flash Lite2. Microsoft claims the update will provide a “mobile Web browsing experience closer to what people have come to expect from their PC.”