HTC, T-Mobile mum on Windows Phone 7 plans for HD2 smartphone

Opt not to wait for the new OS to launch HD2, even though Microsoft has said Windows Mobile 6.5 devices cannot be upgraded to Windows Phone 7

Phone maker HTC and wireless carrier T-Mobile announced the highly anticipated HD2 smartphone in the U.S. on Tuesday, but also said that no plans were in place to put Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS on the device yet.

The smartphone includes a large 4.3-inch touchscreen and runs the Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional OS. The HD2 was originally launched in October in Europe, and Microsoft has said Windows Mobile 6.5 devices could not be upgraded to Windows Phone 7.

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Users could therefore be left with a device that can't be upgraded when Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is officially released. Microsoft has said that smartphones based on new OS could become available starting late this year.

Despite the growing enthusiasm surrounding Windows Phone 7, the companies didn't want to wait for the new OS to release the HD2 in the U.S., said Jon Eliav, a T-Mobile spokesman. Eliav said that HTC is not providing a projection on when or whether HD2 smartphones will carry the Windows Phone 7 OS.

"We don't know when the first [Windows 7 Phone OS] device is coming out," Eliav said.

At the time of the Windows 7 OS launch, a number of carriers worldwide, including T-Mobile, committed to offer Windows Phone 7 Series devices as part of their phone offerings.

The HD2 phone will be available in the U.S. on March 24 for US$449 without a contract, and for $199 with a mobile phone contract with T-Mobile. It includes 3G, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless connectivity options.

The phone includes a 5-megapixel camera and runs on Qualcomm's 1GHz processor. It weighs 157 grams (0.35 pounds), and provides 3G talk tame of 320 minutes and standard talk time of 380 minutes. The standby time for the phone is up to 490 hours.

The phone provides up to eight hours of battery life on video playback and 12 hours on audio playback. The devices comes with 576MB of memory and includes a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.

The companies have also tied up with a range of content providers to deliver multimedia to the device. Users will be able to download video from Blockbuster or e-books from Barnes and Noble. The company has also tied up with MobiTV to receive live TV. During a demonstration, the HD2 played back a movie and the MSNBC TV channel without choppy images.

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