updated 10:05 am EDT, Tue August 23, 2011
Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T ships early
KDDI confirmed talk an early ship date and moved up the launch of the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T to a month earlier. The very first Windows Phone 7 Mango phone should be in Japan on August 25. It's expected to sit at about $253 on contract.
The design will be a mix of lower- and higher-end features. Although it will have just a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a 3.7-inch, 480x800 display, it will carry a 13.2-megapixel camera and 32GB of storage. Its unique trait will be IPX8-level waterproofing, although it will also be just the second phone after Verizon's HTC Trophy to have both CDMA for KDDI's own network and GSM for world travel.
Toshiba-Fujitsu's early release fuels rumors that Microsoft attempts to downplay September 1 are just a smokescreen tactic and that the day will represent the official debut outside of Japan. HTC's September 1 event is now thought to be focusing exclusively on its own Mango-equipped hardware, and as the start of the IFA show in Berlin, it could see most other partners launch at the same time.
The Mango release is potentially the real test of whether or not Windows Phone can move beyond the largely flat and sometimes declining share it has had for the past year. It catches up with important features like a fully modernized browser, multitasking, and deeper access to the hardware with third-party apps; it also brings much wider language support and more hardware manufacturers, including Nokia. Microsoft's chances are uncertain, since it has not just had limited reach worldwide but frequent hostility from store reps that pitch Android and the iPhone when given the chance.