5 makers for Windows Phone 7 now official

List includes Asus, HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell

Microsoft has officially divulged the names of at least five manufacturers for its coming Windows Phone 7 devices, with Asus recently added to a list of four that was revealed at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference on July 13.

Microsoft's mobile senior vice president, Andy Lees, told conference attendees in Washington that applications in WP7 devices will work with "100% consistency" across hardware coming from HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell.

On Sunday, a Microsoft blog post authored by Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Windows Phone Engineering, mentioned Asus, as well as LG and Samsung, as a maker of one of the prototype WP7 phones that went to developers this week.

While Asus, LG and Samsung could come to market sooner this year than Dell or HTC because their prototypes are already launched, it seems more likely that Microsoft will want to coordinate a launch across all of its manufacturing partners at once.

All five manufacturers have been expected to be WP7 phone makers, but Lees' comments and the Microsoft blog have now confirmed the five. Given the addition of Asus, it is possible that some other small, lesser-known makers could be added to the list.

Experts have commented that Motorola would not join the group because it is producing so many Android devices after emphatically renouncing devices running Windows Mobile, the WP7 predecessor, last year. Nokia, Apple and Research In Motion all use their own operating systems and hardware. HP now owns Palm and its webOS, making WP7 support in any of its smartphones unlikely.

Various reports have indicated that the phones will be available in November, in time for the holiday selling season, but Microsoft is saying only that they will ship in time for the holiday season. A spokeswoman couldn't be reached to comment on the device makers or the shipment timing.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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