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Windows Phone 7 launch reportedly off to strong start

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(Read caption) Windows Phone 7 handsets have sold well this week, according to several new reports. Here, MTV personality Rob Dyrdek and actor Minka Kelly play with the merchandise at an event for Windows Phone 7.

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Horizons didn't exactly have high expectations for Windows 7 Phone sales. As we argued recently, the smartphone market is a crowded place – and many consumers have already sworn allegiance to Android or to the Apple iPhone – or their office has them hooked to BlackBerry. Plus, Microsoft is playing a serious game of catch-up by getting into the game so late. But hey, we'll be the first to admit that maybe we had it all wrong.

Today, several outlets are reporting that the HTC HD7, one of the first smartphones to carry the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS, has sold out at stores across the country. "This instantaneous success," writes Brandon Slattery of PC World, "can be credited either to HTC's impressive track list of making great smartphones or the public's strong interest in Microsoft's revamped mobile OS."

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The HTC HD7, of course, has received exceptionally strong marks from reviewers, who have praised the high-processing speed, the bright and vibrant 4.3-inch WVGA display, and the "tech-heavy" 5-megapixel camera. An AT&T rep told the Seattle Times, and the company is "encouraged by early demand."

"A lot of people focus on the fact that unless you have a line circling three times around a New York City block that you've launched a failure, but I think what we've seen is that people are interested in these alternative devices and they're willing to take a look at them," Will Stofega, an analyst at research firm IDC said in an interview with the Seattle Times today.

The Windows Phone 7 OS itself has received only middling marks from tech critics. Some reviewers have argued that the Windows Phone 7 OS makes it a pain to sync up email and music with a home computer, and the lack of HTML5 and Flash capability is a drag. Still, not all is doom and gloom.

Joshua Topolsky of Engadget was "extremely impressed by the software's touch responsiveness and speed. In fact, this is probably the most accurate and nuanced touch response this side of iOS4," he wrote. "It's kind of stunning how much work Microsoft has done on the user experience since we first saw this interface – everything now comes off as a tight, cohesive whole."

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