Microsoft names initial five Windows Phone 7 hardware partners

Windows Phone 7

Microsoft has confirmed the five hardware partners that will initially bring Windows Phone 7 handsets to market later this year.

The five OEMs LG, Asus, Dell, Samsung and HTC all have products running Microsoft's new operating system in the pipelines, with release dates expected around the holiday season, according to Microsoft senior product manager Greg Sullivan.

And Sullivan promises they won't disappoint, either.

"We will offer the best aspects of Android and the best of the iPhone, giving users the flexibility of different form factors, but with the rigidity of apps that are guaranteed to work on every device that is out there," he said in an interview with Pocket-Lint.

The specific identity of the five OEMs comes as little real surprise. All have worked with Microsoft in the past on Windows Mobile devices, while the Windows Phone 7 developer handsets that were recently sent out were manufactured by Samsung.

Sullivan also revealed that Microsoft wouldn't be restricting its next-gen OS to any one network, either here or in the US, saying the company wanted "as many people as possible to be able to get it".

And responding to suggestions that Windows Phone 7 would effectively have to steal back customers lost by Windows Mobile to the rival iPhone OS/iOS 4 and Android platforms, Sullivan responded: "By the time we will launch, we won't have to worry about stealing customers from other operating systems, there will a new wave of smartphone users to embrace for us to still be successful."