Microsoft’s Windows phones hit the market

After months of talking about Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is announcing on Tuesday that the first crop of phones to carry the Windows Phone brand are ready to hit the market.

A host of new phones running the new operating system are expected to debut between now and the holidays, with many being announced later on Tuesday. AT&T has already announced two Windows Mobile 6.5-based phones–the Pure and the HTC Tilt 2. In all, Microsoft has said to expect more than 30 phones running the OS by year’s end.

(Credit: Microsoft)

With the new operating system, Microsoft hopes to make the case that the devices are not only worthy phones, but also the best option for those who want to take their Windows world with them. The operating system itself features Adobe Flash support, an improved browser, and menus that are easier to navigate with a finger, as opposed to a stylus. Perhaps more interesting are two new services that come along with Windows.

The first, the Windows Marketplace, is Microsoft’s answer to the iPhone‘s App Store. It’s somewhat interesting that Windows Mobile has long had more programs than the iPhone–none of which involved approval from Microsoft. But Microsoft has found itself in the position of having to insert itself as middleman to match Apple’s approach.

Users will still be able to buy and download applications directly from developers, but Microsoft apparently felt it had to mimic the iPhone’s App Store in order to help connect less technically savvy users with the thousands of programs that already exist for its phones.

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