AT&T HD7S Reviews, Phones on Sale, Music & Videos Hub in WP 7.1

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Reviews of the AT&T HD7S are appearing, and PocketNow reports that there are some differences between it and the similar model from T-Mobile. This week we'll note new information about the Music & Video hub in the forthcoming Windows Phone 7.1, as well as some special offers from Amazon on Windows Phones.

Comparing the T-Mobile HD7 and AT&T HD7S

The HD7 offers a popular form factor for Windows Phone, with its large 4.3-inch screen. Both T-Mobile and AT&T are offering this phone from HTC, but with some differences.

PocketNow has posted an unboxing video and a hardware-tour video of the model from AT&T that compares the two phones.

The main difference is that the AT&T model has a Super LCD screen compared to the older LCD screen of T-Mobile's phone. PocketNow says that the Super LCD screen offers better color reproduction, with blacker blacks, while the older LCD model has a greater range of contrast. There's also a problem with gradient colors in the Super LCD because of limitations of the current version of Windows Phone 7.

PocketNow says that the hardware buttons on the HD7S from AT&T are improved, with a big improvement in the camera button.

Amazon Windows Phone Deals Include $25 Gift Card

Amazon is now selling several Windows Phone models for a penny (with contract), including the Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, and LG Quantum from AT&T, as well as Sprint's HTC Arrive. T-Mobile's HTC HD7 is $29, and Verizon's HTC Trophy runs $49.

If you purchase one of these phones by June 30, you'll also receive a $25 Amazon.com Gift Card code.

Music & Video sHub in Windows Phone 7.1

Last week Microsoft posted information about the new features you can expect in the Music & Videos hub in the forthcoming Windows Phone 7.1 update (Mango).

You'll be able to manage podcasts directly from your phone without going through Zune on your desktop computer. In addition, the SmartDJ feature is similar to Pandora in that it uses the songs on your phone as a seed to create playlists from the Zune Pass music subscription service, which has millions of songs available.

The post on Windows Phone Blog also details a number of changes to the onscreen controls, including making the shuffle button more obvious.

Users Give High Ratings to Windows Phone

Even though sales have been slow, with an estimated 1.6 million sold (compared to 300,000 Adroid activations per day), PC Magazine's Readers' Choice Awards gave Windows Phones high marks, with the Samsung Focus scoring ahead of the iPhone. Overall, the Windows Phone platform came in second place.

Marketplace Now Offers Over 20,000 Apps

The Windows Phone Marketplace has now passed the 20,000-app milestone, which is a good sign that developers are coming on board and see potential in the platform.

Some of those apps, though, result from "bulk publishing": developers churning out batches of low-quality apps. A post on the Windows Team Blog explains that Microsoft has taken steps to curtail bulk publishing. You can read a summary on PocketNow.

And speaking of apps, check out the recent app roundup from PocketNow, which demos 5 apps for 30 seconds each: Birdsong, Flick+Share, Thumba Photo Editor, Pool Plus Friends, and Hydro Thunder Go.

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