Windows Phone 7: the first day

Windows Phone 7 holds its own on day one.

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 seems to have done moderately well in yesterday's first day of U.S. sales.

There were no reports of thousands of users lined up around the block for hours waiting for AT&T and T-Mobile retail stores to open. Microsoft's more-or-less hometown newspaper, the Seattle Times, reported some small lines at some retail stores in the metro area.

But anecdotal evidence points to plenty of positive curiosity from potential buyers, and plenty of enthusiasm from those that made the purchase. "#Microsoft you have definitely built a winner with #WP7. This is definitely one of your best work," tweeted self-confessed "Xbox fanatic @Billy_Koch.

Forbes Elizabeth Woyke offered an inside look at AT&T's preparations for the Windows Phone launch, including equipping most of its 22,000 retails stores with a wall and touch-screen panel dedicated to the new phones. Half the stores will have “experience tables” -- flat surfaces to showcasing WP7 phones.

"Allocating this much space to a single launch is a major commitment, particularly at a carrier that offers as many different phones as AT&T," Woyke writes. "The iPhone is the only other handset that has its own wall in AT&T stores."

One commenter to a Network World story yesterday must have been in one of the stores that didn't make the list: he found zero promotional material for Windows Phone 7.

There are unofficial reports that T-Mobile USA sold out the HTC HD7 Windows Phone. Amazon's online sales for a quartet of Windows Phones lists the Samsung Focus as out of stock, and warns that both the HTC HD7 and LG Quantum are back-ordered (technically, the Quantum is not yet available so it's being pre-ordered). Only the HTC Surround is listed as in-stock.

Obviously, it's hard to know what to make of that, without knowing how many phones were actually available for sale. T-Mobile and AT&T issued the customary vague PR statements that they were seeing "strong interest" or were "encouraged by early demand."

Another relevant metric: Microsoft was claiming late yesterday that the Zune Windows Phone Marketplace had reached nearly 2, 000 applications; 13,000 registered developers, and 500,000 development tool downloads.

One Twitter post may have distilled the essence of Microsoft's position in the mobile world with its radically redesigned OS: "iPhone, android or wp7???? decisions decisions," tweeted @ItsAlip. For Microsoft even to be included as a possible choice with the two platforms would have been unthinkable 10 months ago; and for some, it was unthinkable even 24 hours ago.

Even iPhone user Leslie Horn, @leshorn, was impressed after reading PC Magazine's reviews of the new phones. "I'm not switching from my iphone 4 anytime soon, but they're pretty cool!" she tweeted. Another skeptic, @phampton, tweeted "Wanted to hate WP7 but its actually not bad, will live or die by the quality of the apps & h/w tho. With 2k apps, they have a way to go yet"

Engadget has a package of Windows Phone reviews, including a full review of the Microsoft OS plus review of the three U.S. Windows Phones now available, as well as the international phones on sale overseas.

So, have you bought a Windows Phone? Have you evaluated one? Do you plan to do either?

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