The slow, steady trickle of new smart phones based on Microsoft's innovative new Windows Phone 7 platform began this week in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The US launch begins November 8, when the first two Windows Phones, the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround, ship via AT&T.

"The very first Windows Phone 7 handsets went on sale in New Zealand with more countries in Europe and Asia Pacific like Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain and the UK joining the mix \\[Thursday\\]," Microsoft Group Marketing Manager Brian Seitz wrote in a blog post. "

While Windows Phone 7 includes unique, integrated user experiences that often obviate the need for individual, single-purpose applications, or apps, Microsoft recognizes the need for a healthy app ecosystem. The company says it will have over 1000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace by the time of the US launch--there are several hundred there already, including many Xbox LIVE games--and will add hundreds more each week through 2010.

And these aren't homebrew apps like the ones common in Android's undesirable marketplace. Microsoft cites some tier-one apps arriving in the days ahead, including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Adobe Reader, ESPN, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, YouTube, and many others. (Some are already in the Marketplace.) Over 10,000 developers have paid Microsoft's $99 annual fee and joined the Windows Phone Developer Program, the software giant reports, and the free developer tools have been downloaded over 500,000 times.

My review of Windows Phone 7 is now available on the SuperSite for Windows. And it's an epic, clocking in at 17,000 words, or almost 30 pages in Microsoft Word. If you don't have a weekend to read it, I'll cut to the chase: "Windows Phone 7 is a game changer, for both Microsoft and the broader smart phone industry … Windows Phone isn’t perfect. It hits the high notes wonderfully but suffers in the details. \\[But\\] Microsoft made the right tradeoffs, for the most part, by opting to get a solid foundation so that it could be in market this quickly … I love Windows Phone. And I think you’re going to love it too."