A Kiwi became the first in the world to buy a Windows Phone 7 handset this morning, as Microsoft and Vodafone launched the new HTC 7 Trophy phone.

Windows Phone 7 is a ground-up rebuild of Microsoft's less-than-stellar mobile operating system, offering a smoother, simpler and ultimately more usable smartphone experience.

Waikato man Jourdan Templeman snapped up the first phone at a launch event in Auckland's Aotea Square.

"It's not often that New Zealand gets this sort of technology before the rest of the world, " said Microsoft's Ben Green, adding that there was a good chance the Trophy would sell out today.

This is impressive, considering the track record of Windows Mobile, which lost significant ground to Apple's iPhone, Google's Android OS and business-friendly BlackBerry.

The new operating system uses a similar applications store to Android and Apple's iPhone/iPad AppStore, called Zune Marketplace.

At launch there is already a solid selection of locally developed software content available in the marketplace, including an official All Blacks app, Subway, Welly Walks, the Scrabble-esque AlphaJax and a simple-yet-addictive music-making game BluesBox.

Microsoft says at least another 30 Kiwi applications will hit Zune Marketplace by the end of the year - including Air New Zealand mPass, TradeMe, Yellow and Flybuys.

One big plus for developers with Windows Phone 7 is that Microsoft is making a concerted push for local content - and the geeks have responded, with more than 1700 downloads of the developer toolkit.

Telecom is also set to launch a Windows Phone 7 device for the XT Network - the LG Optimus 7Q will be released in November through Gen-i.