London: Microsoft has unveiled a new range of smartphones to rival the phenomenal success of Apple`s iPhone.
The company wants its new operating system, Windows Phone 7 (WP7), to put its mobile business back in the running against not just Apple, but also Google, which makes the Android phone software, among others.
Speaking at a launch event in New York Monday, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer said: "Everybody should be able to take a look at a Windows Phone and say it can represent me."
The world`s largest software company is hoping that the new phones, from handset makers Samsung, LG, HTC and Dell, will propel it back into the mobile market, which many see as the key to the future of computing, reports the Daily Mail.
The new phones, initially available on the T-Mobile network in Britain and on AT&T in the US, are much closer in look and feel to Apple`s iPhone, with colourful touch-screens and `tiles` for easy access to email, the Web, music and other applications.
Ballmer, who has admitted that his company `missed a generation` with its recent unpopular phone offerings, said the new phones would eventually be available from 60 mobile operators in 30 countries.
Meanwhile, at a simultaneous launch event at London`s Institute Of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Microsoft announced that WP7 will be coming on the Dell Venue Pro by Christmas.
Dell`s Venue Pro will join five other WP7 handsets - three from HTC and one each from LG and Samsung - in the British market in the coming months.
In the US, the first phone from AT&T, priced at $200, will be available Nov 8.
Six Windows Phone 7 handsets will be released in Britain in the coming months, including three from HTC and the Dell Venue Pro, which is the only model to come with a slide-out keyboard
Microsoft has a market share of only five percent in the global smartphone market, according to research firm Gartner, compared with nine percent a year ago.
Gartner expects almost 270 million smartphones to be sold around the world this year, up 56 percent from last year.