Asus Windows Phone 7 handsets may never see the light of the day

Contrary to Digitime’s fabricated rumors, Asus is not going to shown of or announce any Windows Phone 7 device at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Speaking to Forbes, Asus’ corporate vice president and GM or Mobile Device unit, Benson Lin, stated that the company is still undecided about its future Windows Phone 7 plans. You may remember that the Taiwanese OEM was the first manufacturer to build the Galaxy 6 which was the first WP7 prototype device ever shown and followed up with the Asus E600 developer handset. Unfortunately the lack of carrier demand and the company’s struggle with it’s Garmin Navigation division has put a stop to it’s Windows Phone plans for the time being and is now instead focus only on Android devices.

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Final word on the Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 development handset

I just wanted to point out something and hopefully lay this subject to rest: the Asus E600 is just a Windows Phone 7 development handset never meant to hit retail. I’ve been telling you this since last October but nobody seems to have noticed (or cared) and we still saw baseless rumors popping up left and right about the device. Anyway, Raphael.R and the ChevronWP7 crew got handed out E600s last week and confirmed that these are only dev handsets similar to the LG GW910 and Samsung Taylor.

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The latest Windows Phone 7 and MWC rumors

I thought that I would comment on the latest Windows Phone 7 and Mobile World Congress rumor making the rounds today. Digitimes is now claiming (based on their “own” sources) that Microsoft is going to unveil a new batch of Windows Phone 7 devices during MWC in February and that the Asus E600 is going to be one of them. First off I would like to point out (did it earlier on Twitter) that when Digitimes doesn’t name its “sources” they are nearly always wrong (I highly suggest to take a look at the sites past claims about the iPad and other tech préductions if you want to have a good laugh…). Secondly, AFAIK the Asus E600 is never going to hit retailand is only used as a developer device by Microsoft (similar to the LG GW910 and Samsung Taylor, and the first WP7 prototype wy saw which was the Asus Galaxy 6). But don’t take my word here,just think for a second. Would Asus / Microsoft “unveil” a device that has already been officially shown publicly by Microsoft employees all over the world (you can see it being used many of the PDC10 keynotes) ?

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The Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 passed the FCC more than 6 months ago

The Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 prototype developer handsets actually passed the FCC more than 6 months ago according to the documents currently availalbe on the FCC’s website. As I told you a couple of months ago, the E600 isn’t intended to be a retail product but is used as a test and developement device by Microsoft. You can check out one of the only videos we have of this device here (or you can just watch some of the PDC10 sessions where the Asus E600 was used to do the OS).

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Asus and Garmin break up. No Windows Phone 7 handset in sight

Yesterday Asus announced that it will not renew its business relationship with Garmin in the smartphone market which in turn may delay the launch of some of the current products in the works. Today the company has also stated that the focus is currently on Android and not on Windows Phone 7:

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First Asus Windows Phone 7 device shown on video

That’s right folks, the previously leaked Windows Phone 7 Asus E600 handset is finally revealed in a 12 mins long video today. I personally think that it looks really nice and a lot better than what I expected after I saw the first leaked picture a few weeks ago. Screen seems to be AMOLED and you will also get to how the current “internal” Marketplace looks like. Also note that the ROM on the device (which I “witnessed” first hands last week) is different from the ones currently in the wild (notice that Bing Maps features the new colors layout..). Video after the break:

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Asus Windows Phone 7 handset spotted in the wild

What apparently looks like Asus‘s first commercial Windows Phone 7 handset has made an appearance on Twitter today. The full touch screen slab device seems to be made of brushed metal and features what looks like 2 capacitive touch buttons (or maybe the whole thing is clickable similar to the original HTC Diamond) and more conventional home button in the middle. There isn’t much else to say here other than this thing is roaming freely in Pakistan right now.

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2 more Windows Phone 7 hands-on videos

Looks like a bunch of guys have recorded videos of the Windows Phone 7 prototypes at Microsoft’s NYC event yesterday. The first one shows the same Asus prototype we have seen in the video posted a few hours ago. You well basically see the same stuff demoed earlier (video is a bit out of focus though..):

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New Windows Phone 7 hands-on video

Microsoft held a an event iin NYC last where a bungch of Windows Phone 7 prototype handsets were shown.IntoMobile manage to grab some pretty good footage of what looks like one of the latest builds of the mobile OS. You will notice that everything is super smooth like I’ve showed you a few weeks ago in my video with the Samsung Taylor prototype. It’s nice to see performance being a top priority for the WP7 team. Adding features should be next… Watch the full video after the break:

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Windows Phone 7 development handsets shipping in July to select developers

LG Panther / GW910 @ Microsoft France

Microsoft’s Brad Watson has confirmed today during TechED  what I repoted 2 days ago ; the Windows Phone 7 development handsets will finally be available in July to select developers who will have to contact Microsoft to request one (devices will be available to devs in 29 countries). Several prototype models will be available but all will have similar hardware specifications so you can probably expect to see the LG Panther / GW910, Asus Galaxy 6 and probably some other OEM (I don’t really think that we are going to see one from HTC).

UPDATE: Brad Watson has just posted more information :

I’m here at TechEd, and there’s a lot of talk about Windows Phone 7 devices and when they are going to be made available. One cool thing that the team is doing is handing out coupons to event attendees redeemable for general availability devices when they start shipping. We’re only handing out around 50 or so of these coupons, so it’s definitely not a broad distribution. It’s meant for people who are attending sessions or wearing Windows Phone hats around the show floor.

Developer devices are also on everyone’s lips. During the Windows Phone session yesterday, Terry Myerson (he runs engineering for Windows Phone 7) stated that we will start putting phones into select developers’ hands next month. That’s exciting stuff. Obviously we’re starting with the developers who have invested in the Silverlight and .NET platforms, registered at Windows Phone Marketplace and have begun building apps with the Windows Phones Developer Tools. Specifics of the programs are TBD, but we are going to want to get phones into large ISV hands, small team hands…you name it. We’re definitely not going to carpet bomb phones; we want to get maximum leverage for our phone distribution to developers.

Source: Brandon Watson