News by Dan Seifert on Wednesday June 20, 2012.
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Microsoft announced its new Windows Phone 8 platform today, and it revealed that HTC, Nokia, Samsung, and Huawei would be building devices for the new platform to be ready for its fall launch. Now, thanks to some sleuthing from PC Mag, we know that most of the major U.S. carriers will offer Windows Phone 8 devices, despite the tepid support that Microsoft's earlier renditions of Windows Phone have received in the past.
So far, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have confirmed that they will be carrying Windows Phone 8 devices. T-Mobile goes as far as saying it will definitely have them at launch, but AT&T and Verizon Wireless didn't provide a more exact time frame than before the end of this year.
Sprint, MetroPCS, and Cricket have yet to commit to the new platform, and didn't reveal any specific plans to launch Windows Phone 8 devices. MetroPCS claims that its is watching the adoption of Windows Phone among consumers before diving in, while Sprint and Cricket just claim that they intend to offer a variety of smartphone platforms to their customers.
Support for Windows Phone 8 from major U.S. carriers is a big deal for Microsoft, as the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5 platforms did not get the support they needed to really gain market share. In the case of Verizon Wireless and Sprint, neither carrier even picked up new Windows Phone devices when Windows Phone 7.5 Mango launched last fall, and instead just plodded along with the basic models they had been offering since Windows Phone 7's 2010 launch.
Windows Phone 8 certainly looks promising, and it brings the platform to parity with other smartphone platforms with the addition of a number of new features. Still, we said the same thing about Windows Phone 7.5 when that was demoed last year, and it wasn't enough to earn Microsoft enough market share to make an impact. Hopefully, the improved carrier support in the U.S. for Windows Phone 8 and the new features for the platform will turn that around for the company.
Update: AT&T has provided us with its official statement on Windows Phone 8:
AT&T plans to carry a new line of Windows Phone 8 smartphones launching later this year. The unmatched leader in Windows Phone -offering the very first 4G LTE Windows Phone smartphones in the U.S. - AT&T is home to the most robust Windows Phone portfolio of any carrier.source: PC Mag
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.