Windows 7 smartphones due in October – report

Microsoft plans to unveil smartphones using the latest version of its Windows operating system on October 11 which will be sold exclusively by AT&T, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The newspaper, citing “people familiar with the launch plans,” said the US software giant will offer three Windows Phone 7 smartphones with handsets made by South Korea’s Samsung and LG Electronics and Taiwan’s HTC.

The Journal said AT&T will be the initial exclusive US carrier for the phones, which will go on sale the week of November 8.

Microsoft’s Windows operating system has been steadily losing out to Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry and Google’s Android mobile platform and the launch is being seen as a way to claw back market share.

According to market research firm Gartner, Microsoft’s share of the worldwide mobile operating system market will fall to 4.7 percent this year from 8.7 percent last year.

In June, Microsoft killed the “Kin,” a line of mobile telephones aimed at young people it had unveiled just two months earlier.

In emails to AFP, Microsoft said it is “on track to deliver Windows Phone 7 this holiday” but does not comment on “rumors and speculation.”

AT&T declined comment.