Microsoft will soon begin to offer Windows Phone 7 handsets directly to consumers and developers through B2B etailer Zones, Inc without a contract, although the phones will still be carrier-locked and, of course, unsubsidized. The three models up for grabs are just what you’d expect them to be: HTC Surround and Samsung Focus on AT&T, and HTC HD7 on T-Mobile. The two HTC devices will sell for $500, while the Sammy will cost $525, when sales begin on the 14th of this month; WinRumors reports that European devices will be offered that same day, although it’s not clear which models nor the method of distribution.
This program begins at somewhat of a busy time of year in the mobile industry, with numerous phones expected to launch at Mobile World Congress that same week. There are only a handful of WP7 models that may debut at that event, likely making MWC the second major event after CES to see a mostly quiet showing from Redmond.