Tuesday, November 2, 2010

U.K. Demand Creates Shortages of Phone 7 Devices

Shortages of new Windows Phone 7 devices from HTC and Samsung are being reported in England. Carrier Orange is dealing with the Windows Phone 7 shortages with pre-orders. A lack of AMOLED touchscreens may be causing the shortages of Windows Phone 7 devices, which include the HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, and the Samsung Omni 7.

Less than a week before HTC and Samsung roll out phones in the U.S. based on Microsoft Relevant Products/Services's new Windows Phone 7 operating system, reports Relevant Products/Services from England say demand is outstripping supplies. The HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, and Samsung Omni 7 went on sale in Europe and Australia on Oct. 21, and carrier Orange UK has admitted it has been giving a 20-pound voucher to customers who didn't get handsets.
The shortage was first reported by Mobile Today, which quoted an Orange spokesperson as saying the company, which has 17 million broadband and mobile customers, is working to keep up with demand.
Shaky Footprint
"We have been working with our handset partners to roll out Windows Phone 7 devices across our retail footprint as swiftly as possible," the spokesperson said. "We can confirm that, as part of this process, we have been running a pre-order service whereby customers are given an incentive in those stores who have yet to receive stock, and we are working with our suppliers to meet customer Relevant Products/Services demand as a number-one priority." The spokesperson also noted that Phone 7 handsets are available online Relevant Products/Services and by phone orders.
Phone 7 devices will be available in the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 through AT&T and T-Mobile, which is a sister company to Orange.
The 10 Phone 7 devices unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Oct. 10 are from Dell, Samsung, HTC and LG, and are to be sold by 60 carriers in 30 countries.
A Microsoft spokesperson didn't respond to our request for comment in time for publication.
Touch and Go?
The San Francisco Chronicle reported the shortage is "most likely" the result of a lack of AMOLED touchscreens that affected both HTC and Samsung when they launched Nexus One and Droid Incredible phones earlier this year. J.D. Power and Associates analyst Kirk Parsons speculated that the problem "could be a general shortage of parts for the entire industry, particularly the display film that used on the newer high-resolution screens."
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Relevant Products/Services, said it's tough to predict how the shortage overseas might affect the U.S. launch.
"Generally speaking, I consider it a bigger issue for consumer-focused products, especially in the run-up to the prime holiday shopping season," said King. "For business-centric devices like Phone 7 phones, a delay of a week or three seems a minor blip -- most organizations are used to fulfillment delays of one sort or another, and it's unlikely that many executives go weeping to bed if they don't get their new smartphones in a timely manner."
Any delay, King noted, could even work to Microsoft's advantage. "Remember that many reviews of Windows 7 mobile, while generally good, also carried caveats that the company was too late to market to act as anything but a speed bump to Android and Apple phones," he said. "Demand for Phone 7 phones outstripping supply Relevant Products/Services may suggest that the market is cozying up to these products far more readily than reviewers or analysts assumed."

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