The first Microsoft (s msft) Windows Phone 7 handset for Verizon’s (s vz) network finally arrives next week. The HTC Trophy will be available in stores on June 2, with online sales starting on May 26, for $149 after a $50 rebate and with a two-year contract. To help jump-start sales of the 3G handset, Verizon is offering one of three free Microsoft Xbox console games with the purchase of an HTC Trophy prior to July 15.
Although the first Windows Phone 7 handsets launched last November, the Trophy doesn’t appear much different from other phones that use Microsoft’s new mobile platform. Part of the reason is because Microsoft set hardware requirements early on and handset makers didn’t deviate from them. Indeed, the Trophy headed for Verizon Wireless is the same handset that’s been available in the U.K. and Australia since last year with the following specifications and features:
- 1GHz Snapdragon (s qcom) processor
- 16 GB of internal storage
- 3.8-inch display running at 800×480 resolution
- 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash and 720p video recording
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, GPS
- SRS WOW HD surround sound
While the 2010 handset hardware may not inspire in 2011, especially when Verizon’s newest phones are starting to sport dual-core processors, the Trophy brings something new to Verizon customers in the form of Windows Phone 7. The unique interface is fresh, fun to use, and offers support for other Microsoft products such as Office, Zune media content and Xbox Live games.
Will getting the Trophy on the current largest carrier in the U.S. bring any market share prize to Microsoft? The company reportedly saw just 1.6 million Windows Phone 7 handsets sold in the first quarter: That number is sure to trend upward now that more carriers are selling Windows Phone devices; Sprint (s s) recently launched its first in the HTC Arrive, for example.
Even as consumers look for alternatives to iOS (s aapl), Android (s goog), and BlackBerry(s rimm), however, I wouldn’t expect a huge sales jump for Microsoft’s mobile platform from Verizon customers. By introducing a new phone that’s really seven months old, Verizon appears to be checking off a to do list with the Trophy rather than propelling Windows Phone 7 forward.