WM7 had the big launch yesterday and there are tons of handsets out there. wmpoweruser.com has a very nice overview of the handsets available with their specs. I've enjoying having a couple of WM handsets over the past few years. I don't even think their new catchphrase "always delightful, and wonderfully mine" is that creepy or any dumber than any other large corporate phrase generator :)
I do think MS has successfully edged between the iCrowd and the fandroids. The multitude of form factors will ensure there's something for everyone. The HTC Surround looks really cool with the pop up speaker and built in stand - hopefully you would have an office and not just a cube. You can get a vertical or horizontal keyboard which is nice for those who like physical keyboards. I'm always tempted by the HTC Pro until I actually pick it up - it's pretty heavy. Then there are, of course, the slabs from Samsung, HTC and LG. The sparse interface and closed app store will make it easier to control. A couple of new-ish players are being given a shot - I'm referring to Dell and LG - but it's no surprise to hear that HTC was working with MS from the start; they don't have a proprietary O/S.
Over the past couple of years, as I've been looking for the smart phone for me I've come to realize that tech sites really *fear* customization which is why they've liked the iPhone so much and cheered the new direction for MS. They want something good enough right out of the box that the reporters don't feel the desire to go below the surface. And they're sure if consumers dip below the surface they will be scared and/or disgusted by tiny print and a learning curve seen in WM 6.5 and even in Android (yes I have seen the little print - it lets you do the cool stuff). What they like to over look (or dismiss as fragmentation) is how consumers pick a phone.
My SIL is a general consumer and I am a gadget geek yet we ended up with the same phone. She wanted something with SIM. She texts, takes pictures, uses SoundHound, lets her boys play games, goes on line and makes the odd phone call. I wanted something with a SIM card that I could watch TV, read books, text, surf, bank, and make the odd phone call. It looked great, the on board interface was attractive to both of us and we're both really happy.
Against my better judgement, I made the jump to Android earlier this year; I had wanted to wait until after the launch but even after the launch I have no regrets. I played with an iPhone 4 for awhile the other day. It's small, heavy and has that screen of icons that I find unappealing. WM7 has those big the tiles and the closed App shop, I don't have a Zune or Xbox and I don't need Exchange compatibility. Even though I start out liking things out of the box, over time, I always customize. When I handed off Luigi (Omnia i8000) I reset to factory and was amazed at how different it looked. I had even changed the start up graphics! I know I'll need to learn a new OS so I'll go to something I can personalize.
And yes I do stare at my phone but not because I'm looking for something, I looking AT something I find interesting. It's a cute idea but glance and go isn't going to appeal to me or any of the people in the commercial.