Editors' note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary and questions from our readers. For those of you who just want the basic updates, we've included them in regular text here. To get the key points from today's Windows Phone 7 announcement, you can check out our summary post here.
Transcript of live blog starts here--note that all times given below are in Eastern Daylight Time, since the event took place in New York:
9:21 a.m. EDT (Ina Fried): OK, gang, it's 9:20, and we're seated. Bonnie Cha and I are here. D-Lite's "Groove Is In the Heart" is playing, and we're on the edge of our stylish but o-so-uncomfy clear Lucite seats.
9:25 a.m. (Ina Fried): We're in Chelsea in a warehouse. To get to the launch room, we rode an elevator that was totally reminiscent of the Haunted House ride at Disneyland. About 5 minutes 'til the news goes live. Probably a few minutes after that, the event will start.
9:26 a.m. [Comment from reader Carlos]: Good Morning Ina!!!
9:26 a.m. (Ina Fried): Good morning, to folks on the East Coast. Good afternoon, to those in Europe and, wow, you are up way too early, to folks on the West Coast.
9:26 a.m. [Comment from reader PJS]: Hey Ina, did you get any SWAG yet?
9:26 a.m. (Ina Fried): No swag yet. I'll let you know...
9:27 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Hi everyone, I'm here to help out with the Windows 7 launch. Like Ina said, it's in a weird old warehouse building with a big post-industrial elevator to take us all up.
9:27 a.m. [Comment from reader Ben]: Is there going to video coverage?
9:27 a.m. (Ina Fried): Microsoft is live-streaming the event. We'll also have video highlights later today.
9:28 a.m. (Ina Fried): If they were giving away swag, I'd recommend seat cushions. These chairs are a lot prettier than they are functional.
9:29 a.m. [Comment from reader Luc]: No hearse or Thriller dance in view ?
9:29 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): The techno music is a bit "Thriller"-esque
9:29 a.m. (Ina Fried): No hearse or "Thriller." There are some black limos out front, but no hearses.
9:30 a.m. (Ina Fried): And greetings to Caroline McCarthy, the third member of our exclusive, live team coverage hear at Storm Central. (Wait, I guess that's a bad name for a non-RIM smartphone event)
9:30 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us!
9:32 a.m. (Ina Fried): OK, it's 9:30, so we can spill the remaining secrets. AT&T will have phones November 8; T-Mobile just a bit later in November, as expected. EA is bringing a bunch of games, including The Sims. I'll include some links to some stories in a sec.
9:33 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): T-Mobile introduces the HTC HD7, Dell Venue Pro: http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20019146-85.html
9:35 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): I'll be monitoring the #wp7 hashtag on Twitter and adding updates to the live blog.
9:35 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): AT&T will launch three devices: The HTC Surround, Samsung Focus, and LG Quantum.
9:35 a.m. (Ina Fried): Here's a link to a story that just went live on how Microsoft plans to pitch Windows Phone 7: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20019111-56.html.
There are some clever ads that show that people engrossed in their smartphones and show Windows Phone as the way to get in, get out, and get back to your real life.
9:35 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): With regard to the fact that the press conference is starting late, Twitter user @poleydee says, "10 minutes til #wp7 Apparently, Mr ballmer delayed getting on. Eye of the tiger CD was broke and they had to download from itunes maybe?"
9:37 a.m. [Comment from reader Franc]: About how many people would you say are there?
9:37 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Hey Franc, not that many--maybe 200?
9:37 a.m. (Ina Fried): We should play Price is Right. I say 175.
9:37 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Announcer says presentation will begin in "just one minute." 60, 59, 58...
9:39 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Lights go down...
9:39 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): Here we go.
9:40 a.m. (Ina Fried): "I've been looking forward to this day for some time, I would say," [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer says, kicking things off.
9:41 a.m. (Ina Fried): "Windows Phone...a different kind of phone" reads the slide behind Ballmer. Ballmer says Microsoft's energy focused on helping real people do what they want with a phone.
"We want to let you get in, out, and back to life," and have that be as fast and as simple as humanly possible.
9:41 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Ballmer: "the differences in the Windows Phone are as much about not just what you're going to do with the phone but how you're going to do it. We've really put our energy and our design creativity into bringing together the things that you love."
9:41 a.m. [Comment from reader Vincent Malig]: Are you going to give the streaming-video coverage?
9:42 a.m. (Ina Fried): "Always delightful and wonderfully mine." Wanted it to be delightful and still have a range of devices.
9:42 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): @Vincent: No live streaming, but we'll have video highlights and hands-on videos of the devices later today.
9:43 a.m. (Ina Fried): On it being "wonderfully mine": "Everybody should be able to take a look at a Windows Phone and say I can represent me."
9:43 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Lots of people using Twitter hashtag #wp7 reacting with a bit of skepticism to the "always delightful and wonderfully mine" mission statement.
9:43 a.m. (Ina Fried): A reference to the ability to customize with things like one's avatar, home screen. He shows his avatar, a bald guy with the gamer tag Iluvmsft.
9:44 a.m. (Ina Fried): "It's got to me mine," he said. There will be nine phones, when Windows Phone ships in U.S. in November. From Dell, HTC, Samsung, and LG.
9:45 a.m. (Ina Fried): He's got all 9 devices in front of him. Dell's, which I hadn't seen, has a more rugged look, with a slide-out keyboard.
9:45 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Ballmer really seems to be pitching ubercustomization and uberpersonalization as an implicit contrast to the fact that there's "only one" iPhone.
9:46 a.m. (Ina Fried): Ballmer says, "We think it is important to have consistent delight and let people have a series of choices." (Phones that slid out on a rotating carousel have now gone backstage--hopefully not for a battery charge.)
9:46 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): The table with the nine phones on it was just brought offstage on some kind of motorized track. Unexpected.
9:47 a.m. (Ina Fried): Ballmer introduces ATT Mobility President Ralph de la Vega.
9:47 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @fastchicken: "Balmer really is a salesman. Which isn't a good thing when you are pushing a vision, not a product. Shows just how good Jobs's is. #wp7"
9:48 a.m. [Comment from reader Brad]: You mentioned AT&T and T-Mobile Win7 phones, any word on Sprint availability?
9:48 a.m. (Ina Fried): "Congratulations on a great Windows Phone 7," de la Vega says. AT&T and Microsoft have a long history of working together. They launched the first Windows mobile device in 2003. (Microsoft and AT&T also partner on U-verse TV, which uses Microsoft's Mediaroom operating system. De la Vega is now giving a sales pitch.)
9:48 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): @Brad: Windows Phone 7 will launch only on GSM carriers this year. CDMA phones--Verizon and Sprint--will come the first half of next year.
9:48 a.m. (Ina Fried): De la Vega notes that he sees a lot of smartphone OSes. "When Steve and his team showed us Windows Phone 7, we knew it was going to be a winner."
9:49 a.m. (Ina Fried): Three devices from LG, HTC, and Samsung are coming November 8, including the LG Quantum, with keyboard.
9:50 a.m. (Ina Fried): The Quantum will be priced at $199.99.
9:51 a.m. (Ina Fried): The HTC Surround is aimed at media and gaming enthusiasts, with 16GB of on board storage. It is the only smartphone with Dolby surround-sound speakers that slide up: "You've got to hear this to experience it." It also has a kickstand. Also $199.99.
9:51 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @chrissharp: "9 launch devices for #wp7 - 9!? aren't consumers going to suffer paralysis of choice?" -- This is exactly the contrast between the iPhone "universal phone for everyone" strategy and the Windows Phone 7 pitch.
9:51 a.m. (Ina Fried): The Samsung Focus has the best-looking screen of the Windows Phones, De la Vega says. It has a 5-megapixel camera, and it is the thinnest Windows phone in the U.S., at 9.9 millimeters thick. Also priced at $199.
9:52 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): On the other hand, from Gartenberg: "Nine phones at launch is impressive. Shows proper momentum. #wp7"
9:52 a.m. (Ina Fried): The HTC Surround and Samsung Focus are coming "a few weeks later" than the LG, which is coming November 8.
9:53 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): The HTC Surround, with its Dolby surround-sound speakers, is getting a lot of excited gadget freak buzz on Twitter.
9:53 a.m. (Ina Fried): U-verse coming to Windows Phone for both current subscribers and new users. De la Vega also says ATT will, in the next few weeks, let Xbox 360 owners use the console to get U-verse TV -- something Microsoft promised was coming years ago but is finally here.
9:53 a.m. (Ina Fried): Ballmer is back.
9:54 a.m. (Ina Fried): And it's demo time. Starring Joe Belfiore, one of the main designers on the phone product.
9:54 a.m [Comment from reader Mark]: Has there been any mention of Zune Pass streaming on these devices?
9:54 a.m. (Ina Fried): The Zune has not been mentioned yet, but there is Zune streaming. I'm sure that we'll get that in the demo.
9:55 a.m. [Comment from reader BD]: Any mention of cost for use of U-verse on Windows phone?
9:55 a.m. (Ina Fried): Not specifically. Got the sense U-verse might be free for existing subscribers and available for "a low monthly fee" for nonsubscribers.
9:57 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore is showing the home screen, which lets you know how many messages you have, plus details on your next appointment, even before you unlock. Now he's showing the home screen with its live tiles.
9:57 a.m. (Ina Fried): On Belfiore's phone are tiles for Ballmer and Andy Lees, as well as Twitter, eBay, IMDb, and the aforementioned AT&T U-verse service.
9:58 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore just deleted Steve Ballmer's Live Tile and is adding his wife higher on the home screen. "It's about the people you care about," Belfiore said.
9:58 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Windows Phone and #wp7 are now both trending topics on Twitter.
9:59 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore is demoing a cool picture-taking feature. Press the camera button, and the phone wakes directly to camera, bypassing the home screen.
9:59 a.m. [Comment from reader tbrocato]: will you have some hands-on time with the new phones today?
10:00 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): @tbrocato: Yes, we'll have photos, videos, and first impressions.
10:00 a.m. (Ina Fried): Also shows how it's easy to share photos. Photos can also be uploaded to the cloud automatically. (I love taking pictures--and this is one of the cool things on Windows Phone 7.)
10:01 a.m. [Comment From sengkh]: more pictures pls.
10:01 a.m. (Ina Fried): The demo moves on to e-mail. His Exchange account shows a suggestion that he not wear jeans with holes in them today. (He's not.)
10:02 a.m. (Bonnie Cha): @sengkh: They're coming. I got knocked offline for a few minutes.
10:03 a.m (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @DerickP: "On one end you've got an iDictatorship... and on the other you've got Androidarchy. Where's the happy medium? #Android #iPhone #wp7 @Google"
10:03 a.m. (Ina Fried): Yep, @DerickP, that's what Microsoft is aiming for -- more choice than Apple, but more consistency than Android.
10:04 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Well, this is one way to put it, from Twitter user @HWGeeks: "Noooooooooo they put power point onto the phone #wp7 I am tired of ppt." It did look pretty impressive.
10:04 a.m. (Ina Fried): Now Belfiore is demoing the auto-correct feature of the typing. It is really good. He's making tons of typos, and all but one were fixed. "Come on, that was pretty good," Belfiore said.
10:05 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @raymondjwlau: "Wow, if there's one reason to get #WP7, it's Office Mobile 2010."
10:06 a.m. [Comment from reader Jason Coombs]: Software keyboard is amazing.
10:06 a.m. [Comment From jp249]: Will windows phone 7 have apps, channels, widgets or whatever you want to call them?
10:06 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): There are lots of chuckles from the audience, when Belfiore opens up an e-mail from Ballmer, announcing a post-event dinner at TGI Friday's.
10:07 a.m. (Ina Fried): There will be lots of apps at launch--not as many as Apple or Android--but lots. IMDb, eBay, Twitter, and Netflix, to name a few...lots of games too.
10:08 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): A one-touch "I'll be late" button for calendar items--this would be the button I would use the most. "We think that's an example of smart design," Belfiore says. Or just acknowledgment of human nature?
10:09 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore shows how addresses automatically create a clickable link to a map. (That's part of how Microsoft gets around the fact that there isn't copy and paste). It works well, but it doesn't cover enough scenarios for my taste.
10:10 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore is now looking for a better restaurant than TGI Fridays at which to have dinner with Ballmer. (That shouldn't be hard for any phone to find.)
10:10 a.m. Caroline McCarthy: Belfiore demonstates, using Bing Maps, how he's going to suggest a location to Ballmer that isn't TGI Friday's. (Thai food instead. He's searching for options.)
10:11 a.m. (Ina Fried): He segues to demoing built-in Bing search to look for the Thai Food. Includes a list view with some ratings.
10:11 a.m. (Ina Fried): Defaults to the local option, guessing he's more interested in finding local restaurants, as opposed to learning the history of Thai food (which might be the top Web search result)
10:11 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @hollyhock: "The "I'll be late" button should come with a mandatory small shock for the users. #windowsphone #wp7"
10:12 a.m. (Ina Fried): @hollyhock. I agree. I'm chronically on time and not looking forward to lateness becoming even more socially acceptable. Expecting to get a lot of those messages.
10:12 a.m. [Comment from reader Joe]: Does it looks like the UI is consistent on the whole phone?
10:13 a.m. (Ina Fried): The UI is remarkably consistent across all the Microsoft-designed built-in apps. We'll see how well the third parties were able to do carrying that into their programs. The tools were made available fairly late for some of the key Windows Phone controls.
10:13 a.m. [Comment from reader Joe]: Support for Windows Hotmail?
10:14 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @matteastwood: "Lots of social media buzz around Windows Phone 7 launch. #Microsoft needs some serious 'fan boys' to keep the hype alive thru holidays. #WP7"
10:14 a.m. (Ina Fried): Yep. Hotmail is supported not just as the standard, but also using Exchange ActiveSync, allowing for push Hotmail. I've been using it on my demo phone, along with Exchange.
10:15 a.m. (Ina Fried): Now being demoed: Tellme voice recognition, did a search for Alaska Flight 7, and it recognized his voice and returned the results one would want: flight details.
10:15 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore is moving on to the hubs--people, gaming, Xbox Live, pictures, Office, and one more I can't remember but I'm sure he will get to.
10:16 a.m. (Ina Fried): It's a beautiful sunny New York day outside. But, it's starting to get hot in here. AC???
10:17 a.m. [Comment from reader rj]: Is copy and paste a possibility in future updates?
10:17 a.m. (Ina Fried): I'm sure we'll see it, at some point. When, is the key question for me.
10:17 a.m. [Comment from reader Holly]: Missing copy and paste could be a deal breaker for me. What about you?
10:18 a.m. (Ina Fried): It's close to a deal breaker for me. That said, I've been using Windows Phone 7 as my main phone for a couple months now, and I've lived without it. Only a couple times, I have been desperate for it.
10:18 a.m . [Comment from reader VengenceBot]: I wish i could verify my comments are being read.
10:19 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @VengenceBot: Hello!
10:19 a.m. a.m. (Ina Fried): They are being read, but we are getting a billion, Trying to both live-blog the event and have a dialogue.
10:19 a.m. [Comment from reader Meh]: Any support for multitasking?
10:20 a.m. (Ina Fried): There is some multitasking, but not full multitasking. You can listen to music and run another app, or talk on the phone and run an app, but not run two third-party apps simultaneously.
10:20 a.m. [Comment from reader Francisco]: Hi CNET Thanks for your live blog Here Francisco (aquitayo) in Ecuador South America.
10:20 a.m. (Ina Fried): Hola!
10:20 a.m. [Comment from reader Dustin]: What about us Verizon people?
10:21 a.m. (Ina Fried): Early next year (or by mid-year anyway) for Sprint and Verizon.
10:21 a.m. (Ina Fried): Demoing Find My Phone feature. Also, on Windows Live, you can see your OneNote notebook, as well as see photos taken on phones.
10:21 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Windows Phone 7 "People" hub brings in tagged photos from Facebook. Interesting synchronization.
10:23 a.m. (Ina Fried): We're on to Music and Video--one of the selling points. Shows a history of recent songs and videos you've been listening to and watching, as well as what's new among content you follow..."We made that just a couple of taps away."
10:23 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Belfiore is showing off third-party music apps plugged into the "Music" hub.
10:23 a.m. (Ina Fried): The Music and Video hub includes Zune, but it isn't limited to Zune, meaning that third-party apps can plug in, such as YouTube, Iheartradio, and Slacker.
10:23 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From Twitter user @sircatalyst: "What good is OneNote and Office Mobile, if there's no copy & paste @wp7 @windowsphone #wp7"
10:24 a.m. [Comment from reader pip]: I'd really like to know what the crowd reaction has been like, and which features impressed the most.
10:24 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From @natelanxon: "Forget apps, forget Zune, forget Office. It's the Xbox Live stuff that'll get me to carry a #wp7 along with my iPhone."
10:24 a.m. (Ina Fried): Crowd is sitting attentively, but not particularly emotive one way or the other. No gasps, sighs, applause, or any other reactions.
10:24 a.m. [Comment from reader Mike]: People Hub is Facebook only, correct? Is there a way to prevent syncing with Facebook?
10:25 a.m. (Ina Fried): People Hub syncs to Windows Live and Facebook. Facebook is optional. You choose to sign in or not.
10:25 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Hundreds of thousands" of developers are working on WP7 apps, Belfiore says.
10:26 a.m. (Ina Fried): eBay app getting a demo...
10:26 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): From @aldarIT: "The rumors about a facebook phone were not wrong after all," with regard to WP7 Facebook integration.
10:27 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Hahaha. Belfiore loads up IMDb app on WP7, and instantly, the poster for "The Social Network" shows up on the home screen.
10:27 a.m. (Ina Fried): Now the IMDb app, which offers showtimes, top news, and other options... Showtime uses location info to find closest theater.
10:28 a.m. (Ina Fried): Now AT&T's U-verse mobile is getting a demo. This is the first thing I haven't seen.
10:28 a.m. [Comment from reader Douglas]: Does Win Phone 7 include Adobe Flash?
10:28 a.m. (Ina Fried): No Flash support for now.
10:28 a.m. [Comment from reader imran]: Any thoughts on the u-verse app?
10:29 a.m. (Ina Fried): The demo seems to show a limited range of mobile programs, as opposed to really getting to watch your full broadcast TV on your phone--that's what I would want.
10:30 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore is moving on to gaming, another area where Microsoft has a little something extra, in terms of Xbox Live. Users can see their gamerscore, see and interact with their avatar, and play with their existing Xbox Live friends.
10:30 a.m. (Ina Fried): Belfiore may not be wearing ripped jeans, but his avatar is. Gets some laughs from crowd.
10:31 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Twitter chatter from the WP7 launch in London has turned to the fact that apparently comedian Stephen Fry is onstage.
10:31 a.m. [Comment from reader Gary]: Any hulu support or netflix?
10:31 a.m. (Ina Fried): Netflix yes. Not sure about Hulu Plus.
10:31 a.m. [Comment from reader Edgar]: What do you think generally of the UI? Does it look cool, easy to use, etc?
10:32 a.m. (Ina Fried): I think the UI is pretty good. I have been surprisingly pleased. My real question is how well third parties keep that going vs. doing their own thing.
10:32 a.m. (Ina Fried): Elo Milo (sp?) is getting a demo.
10:33 a.m. (Ina Fried): "These phones are going to be amazing game machines," Belfiore said.
10:33 a.m. (Ina Fried): We're proud to say we will have EA at launch. Belfiore demoing the Sims now...
10:35 a.m. a.m. (Ina Fried): Demo time is wrapping up. Belfiore notes that the phones have an updating mechanism so that all phones get updates.
10:35 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Copy and paste is coming in early 2011.
10:35 a.m. (Ina Fried): Everyone who buys a phone this holiday will get copy and paste in 2011.
10:36 a.m. (Ina Fried): Ballmer is back. "I hope you will also agree that what we have done here is a different kind of phone.
10:36 a.m. (Ina Fried): Now, video time, with hardware makers getting their say. CEO Qualcomm first up (all the phones are using Snapdragon).
10:37 a.m. (Ina Fried): Next up in the video: Dell, followed by HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou. "We are expecting that Windows Phone 7 will make a tremendous contribution to our business. This is a very competitive phone."
10:38 a.m. (Ina Fried): LG and Samsung also get their chance to praise Microsoft.
10:38 a.m. [Comment from reader Snapshotx]: Is the Phone 7 Xbox Live Avatar separate from the regular Xbox Live Avatar, or are they one and the same?
10:38 a.m. (Ina Fried): It's your same avatar as on Xbox; changes on one show up on the other.
10:40 a.m. (Ina Fried): OK, things are wrapping up here. I'm going to the demo room and going to sign off, but stay tuned on CNET for tons more from Bonnie and me.
10:41 a.m. (Ina Fried): And Caroline wins Price Is Right. Officials say there are more than 200 people here.
10:42 a.m. (Ina Fried): Digging in on some of the technical details you all asked about. First answer: some phones do have microSD. All of the phones have a GPU.
10:42 a.m. (Ina Fried): Some do have HDMI out.
10:43 a.m. (Ina Fried): No dual-core CPUs now.
10:59 a.m. (Ina Fried): Just got a demo of copy and paste. I'll post a short blog on CNET News.
Editors' note: What follows is the initial introductory text:
Microsoft today is, at long last, showing off Windows Phone 7, more than three years in the making.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, along with AT&T Mobility and Consumer President Ralph de la Vega, are now on stage, and we're covering the event live in this post--see the CoveritLive module below. Phones unveiled include handsets from Dell, HTC, Samsung, and LG. T-Mobile is also set to show its Windows Phone 7 lineup later today, and we'll have plenty of coverage from both events.
What is debuting is actually Microsoft's second crack at Windows Phone 7. The first was a more enterprise-focused device that was scrapped about a year and a half ago, when Microsoft decided it needed a much more consumer-friendly approach in order to take on the iPhone and Google's Android.
First shown at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona early this year, Windows Phone 7 is now finalized and will start showing up in devices that go on sale later this month in Europe and early next month in the U.S. (though it won't run on Sprint or Verizon until next year).
In the meantime, we have tons of Windows Phone 7 coverage, including our review of the Windows Phone technical preview, a video First Look from Bonnie Cha, our likes and gripes, as well as exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories looking at the development of the operating system and the effort to woo app developers to write Windows Phone programs.
Editors' note: The initial, bare-bones version of this story was posted October 8 at 12:01 p.m. PDT.