Monday a spokesperson for AT&T said that the company will be the premier carrier for Windows Phone 7. Both Microsoft and AT&T haven't actually announced the supposed joint relationship. In fact, the spokesperson didn't even elaborate on timing, promotional plans, or "premier" features the phones would provide.
But there may be something to the statement. Last week, well-known Altimeter Group analyst Michael Gartenberg said that AT&T signed up to purchase 8 million Windows Phone 7 devices, quoting an unconfirmed "trusted source." AT&T has also remained rather vocal about the upcoming smartphone, praising Microsoft for raising the bar substantially with the new OS, making it "very, very comparable to any smartphone on the market."
But we already know a few US partners ready to receive Windows Phone 7 this fall. According to an announcement made during Mobile World Congress back in February, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon were already signed on as partners. Still, that doesn't mean support is officially set in stone--carriers can declare themselves as "partners" and then back out without any financial hassle. At this point, North American carriers have not made concrete plans public.
As of Monday, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile would not comment about their plans for Windows Phone 7. After the epic fail of Kin and the lackluster reaction to Windows Mobile 6.5, mobile carriers may be waiting on developer feedback stemming from the batch of reference hardware phones recently distributed by Microsoft. Some developers are already complaining about missing features--multi-tasking, cut and paste, and more--however others have pointed out that those features may be implemented in future generations.
Still, if AT&T is deeming itself as a premier carrier, does that mean Windows Phone 7 could possibly take iPhone 4's place as the spotlight platform? The new twinkle in its eye? Guess we'll find out soon.