Windows Phone 7: Is Verizon getting in on the act?

Windows Phone 7 software will soon power a Verizon Wireless handset, several outlets are reporting.

Windows Phone advertisements are shown in New York City. This week, several blogs reported that Verizon could soon begin selling a Windows Phone 7-powered handset.

Windows Phone 7 handsets are spreading fast – AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all selling phones equipped with the new Microsoft OS. And now it looks as if Verizon is going to get in on the Windows Phone 7 act. Earlier today, Engadget posted a hi-res photograph of what appears to be an HTC 7 Trophy, kitted out with the Windows OS, and apparently running on the Verizon network.

Could it be a fake? Maybe. But several similar stories have cropped up around the Web this week, all of which point to an early March launch for a Verizon-powered HTC 7 Trophy. (Up until now, Verizon was the only major carrier not to sell a Windows phone.) Over at WinRumors, Tom Warren says Verizon would sell the HTC 7 Trophy for $200 with a two-year contract – standard subsidized cost for a smartphone these days.

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So how does the Trophy stack up? Well, back in October, an Engadget reviewer called the Trophy "not the best smartphone on the market. It's not even the best Windows Phone 7 phone." Still, Ricker wasn't exactly ready to dismiss the Trophy. "Try as we might, we can't put it down," he wrote, "even though we have an iPhone 4 and Galaxy S at our immediate disposal. The HTC Trophy may not be our smartphone champ but it's definitely a winner."

Part of that attraction may be Windows Phone 7 itself. It may be short on apps, but the new OS is really well build. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 7 software will soon power most of if not all Nokia phones, which is expected to give the Windows Phone launch a major boost. (Nokia phones used to run on an OS called Symbian.) The partnership also renders the global cell phone market a three-way race between the Apple iPhone OS, Google's Android, and the Microsoft-Nokia powerhouse.

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