updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon September 12, 2011
ATT intros Samsung Focus S, Focus Flash, HTC Titan
AT&T revisited Windows Phone on Monday with details of a widened Windows Phone strategy for the fall in sync with the Mango update. The launch will be headlined by the Focus S, better known so far as the i937; the device is effectively a slightly slower Galaxy S II and shares its 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen along with the very thin 8.6mm (0.34-inch) profile. It drops to a single-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon and has both an eight-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera.
The Focus Flash is intended as a more mainstream model. It carries the same 1.4GHz Snapdragon but has a 3.7-inch, regular Super AMOLED screen. A five-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera contribute to the lower price.
Also coming is a direct port of the HTC Titan, one of the largest phones ever and the largest in the WP7 group. It carries the same 4.7-inch display, 1.5GHz Snapdragon, and eight-megapixel rear camera, with its main additions 14.4Mbps HSPA native to AT&T's network and the U-verse Mobile TV app.
All existing Windows Phones on the network, including the HTC HD7S and Samsung Focus, should get an update to Mango in the fall. The OS adds multi-tasking, Twitter and IM integration, forward-facing camera support, and numerous other features to help catch up to and occasionally pass Android and iPhone devices.
AT&T wouldn't narrow down a release date and only put the hardware on shelves sometime in the fall. Unofficially, the hardware is poised to ship during or near the CTIA fall show in mid-October.
The carrier in unveiling its plans revealed that AT&T is so far the top Windows Phone carrier in the US if not the world, having sold "more of them than anyone else," senior devices VP Jeff Bradley claimed. Neither AT&T nor Microsoft has given out sales numbers, however, and it has taken third-party analyst groups to show mostly flat shipments and shrinking sales as former Windows Mobile users often go to Android or the iPhone instead.
WP7 has been critically well-received but, in part because of its feature gap and the negative stigma associated with Microsoft in the mobile space, hasn't translated to real performance. In an exact reversal of Microsoft's experience with PCs from the 1990s, retail staff have been telling customers to pick Apple over Microsoft and often relegating the Windows Phone hardware to a niche audience.