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Windows Phone 7 devices could be in shops by 21 October

In less than a month we could be seeing Windows Phone 7 devices in the shops, if a news report over the weekend is to be believed.

We've seen plenty of leaked Windows Phone 7 handsets, but a much meatier tidbit appeared this weekend -- the news that Microsoft could have its revamped mobile marvels in UK shops as soon as 21 October.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans told Neowin that Redmond intends to hold events across the globe to launch its new mobile OS, and get devices into shops in Europe as soon as 21 October. Before that, an open event in New York on 11 October will show off some of the phones.

Microsoft is going to go large advertising the new devices. The report said it intends to partner with a major London-based radio station, with Orange already set to be one of its close launch partners. Windows Phone 7 is already confirmed on all UK networks. Of course this is all rumour, but it would all make sense based of what we already know about Windows Phone 7, with mobiles reaching manufacturing stage a few weeks ago.

Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's one shot at getting back in the smart phone game. It's undergone a complete redevelopment since Window Mobile 6.5 to compete with tough rivals, with iOS, BlackBerry and Android all jostling more effectively for your affections and hard-earned moolah. It has support from giants such as HTC, Samsung and LG, with handsets already leaking out all over the place.

Microsoft is sexing up Windows Phone 7 with top-notch gaming support and Xbox Live connectivity. Zune is also finally going to mean something in the UK, with it confirmed as the smart phone OS' media player of choice, with unlimited music streaming for a monthly fee.

There have also been rumours around the Web that Nokia is considering using Windows Phone 7. With the appointment of a new CEO, Stephen Elop, who used to work for Microsoft and the Finnish company's struggles with Symbian, it wouldn't be an incredible surprise, but nevertheless a move that would cause major ripples around the industry.

We're all set for the Windows Phone 7 launch now, and we're desperate to get our hands on the handsets. Excited?