Telstra to unveil Windows Phone 7 plans next week


Microsoft and Telstra have scheduled in a ritzy Sydney launch next Tuesday morning to unveil their mutual plans to start selling phones with the software giant’s Windows Phone 7 platform.

The event will be held at Sydney’s Luxe Studios, an exclusive state of the art development facility which is also used for events. In attendance will be Microsoft Australia chief executive Tracey Fellows and Telstra chief marketing officer Kate McKenzie.

So far, the pair have not revealed any details of the handsets, plans or bundled content and applications they will go to market with for Windows Phone 7, which was first unveiled back in February.

In a briefing in August, Telstra would only say that there would be a number of different handsets available to consumers at launch, and the devices were slated to go on sale before Christmas, and that its Hub application would be featured on Windows Phone 7.

The software constitutes a news, application and entertainment portal, although Telstra is still working on the video streaming aspect and is being developed by local startup development house Xamling. Fairfax is also developing software to run on Windows Phone 7.

The news comes as competition in the smartphone market is running white hot. Telstra this morning released what it called its “Smartphone index” — a piece of research put together by Nielsen that showed Australia was currently obsessed with the multi-function devices.

A wave of smartphones based on Google’s Android platform is currently hitting the market in time for Christmas, and Apple’s iPhone 4 has suffered stock shortage problems due to demand over the past several months. Nokia, too, is refusing to be left out, with its flagship N8 handset soon to launch in Australia, although the company has not yet said precisely how the device will launch in Australia.

Nielsen’s research suggested that 36 percent of Australians with mobile phones owned a smartphone, with that number to grow to more than half within the next 12 months.

And there were some surprising usage patterns — more than half of smartphone owners admitted to using their phone in bed, one third have used their phone to surf the web while on the toilet, and one in five Australian drivers admit to surfing the web on their smartphone while driving.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve seen huge growth in the popularity of smartphones and they now make up more than half of all Next G™ handset sales in Telstra Stores Australia-wide,” said Telstra Consumer executive director Rebekah O’Flaherty.

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. Telstra and Microsoft are yet again in bed together.

    These two companies seem to have the common goal to clutch onto the past, by clutching each other.

    It is a mistake for Telstra to put its mobile future in the hands of Microsoft, as Microsoft is known for failing with every mobile device it has ever had anything to do with. Microsoft is famous for making devices that consumers don’t want (eg Zune, Windows Mobile, Kin… all failed).

    The problem for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is that the OS still lacks essential functionality, such as the ability to Cut & Paste text. Other missing features include app multitasking (it can’t run two of the apps you install at the same time), removable SD cards, tethering with a laptop computer.

    Other missing features of Windows Phone 7 will be peculiar to the Australian market. For example, not all the Xbox live features, and not all the Zune marketplace features, will be available to Australian users. Telstra should really put a sticker on the packaging of Windows Phones to notify users of what is missing for Australian users.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more about Windows Mobile, but I wouldn’t say Telstra is pinning its hopes to the MS operating system. In fact, I would say Telstra is pretty much pinning its hopes to Android right now, having lost much of the early market share war in the iPhone space to Optus.

  2. @David C: There is no exclusiveness to the deal between MS and Telstra. And Telstra is not basing everything on WP7. WP7 will be available on all networks, Telstra is just the first to put their hand up. Wasn’t it MS that stole the Smartphone market right from under Palm? You mention Zune, WM, Kin…, Zune was a US exclusive, and has captured more than 7% of market share in the US, and is still being sold today. WM may not be all that popular in AU, but in countries such as India, they still have the largest market share. Kin, well that was a failure, but in saying that, it was due to their lack of focus. You hold onto the ideals of things like Cut & paste, which they’ve already said will be coming shortly after release, and multi-tasking, which the iPhone didn’t (and technically still doesn’t) have for years. The way the iPhone does it now is exactly the same way as WP7 will do it (and MS introduced this BEFORE Jobs made it out like Apple was doing something revolutionary), in that with WP7 apps, they would be put in a tombstone state. iPhone does the same thing. They do not run whilst app switching, but merely tombstone for the developer to reload things when the app is relaunched. Reason for non-removable drives is also for security (in all phones I have, I’ve never removed the SD card anyways, have you?). And like with cut & paste, tethering will eventually come.

    As for the rest, such as lacking Xbox live features? Zune marketplace features? What is missing from Xbox integration? The phone hasn’t been officially released so how can you make this call? And as for Zune, fair enough we don’t get a Zune Pass like the US, but we still get the same level of functionality that iTunes offers. So you’re not at a loss at all, just not at a gain which the US market has.

    I think you really should do your research and see that, even though MS has been in the Smartphone market for ages which only rivals in length to Palm, they’re starting ALL over again with WP7, giving a large focus on the consumer of today, and how they’re not going the way of Android in just copying iPhone with the app-centric design, but focusing on the consumer-centric design in allowing you to “Glance and Go” (you’ll see ads of this coming in the near future I believe). MS understands that not everything is there that people want, but given they built this from the ground up in less than 2 years, what they have there is done REALLY well. From a developer perspective, MANY have reported that development time for WP7 compared to Android and IOS is far quicker and more efficient, so you can expect great quality application to come at launch, and continue coming.

    It seems that you’re just putting them down without seeing that both MS and Telstra see potential to offer something unique, whilst providing healthy competition and giving us consumers more options and better quality. Who wins in the end? We do as consumers. If they should “put a sticker” of what’s missing, why not do that for every other phone? iPhone doesn’t do video calling over 3G, even though all other phones in its class has done it for years, Android’s multi-tasking does cause battery drain, so why not put a label on all Android phones for that? Your case-in-point is merely just of someone who has a vendetta against MS and Telstra.

    • To be fair, a lot of people do have a vendetta against Telstra and Microsoft, often for completely legitimate reasons ;)

      And to be honest, I don’t think there is room in the mobile market for more than two major operating systems. We already have iOS and Android. Nokia is pushing Symbian and BlackBerry its own O/S. Will Windows Phone 7 get much traction in this context? I admit I haven’t yet played with one of the devices. But … it’s Microsoft. The only great embedded O/S they have ever made has been the one on the Xbox.

      Wait, but that was pretty good!

  3. Funny how Telstra has trouble unveiling their iPhone plans before the day of the launch, but can price a Windows Phone 7 phone before any even exist.

  4. MS are putting allot of money and focus on WP7. Android has clearly shown that the iPhone’s dominance can easily be matched if not surpassed in a quick time if the product is good. WP7 looks very competitive and is easily the the most original UI since the iPhone which is looking kind of old already.

    The Smartphone market has only just started and if MS wants to get into the game seriously then the other companies will be looking over their shoulders!

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