The Orange SPV, which was manufactured by HTC, was the first commercially available Microsoft Windows-powered smartphone. It used the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 operating system (OS), which was known by the codename Stinger. The OS was developed on the prototype Avenger device
The Smartphone 2002 platform was a hugely important milestone for Microsoft as it was specifically designed to deliver a phone-centric experience. Up to that point, Microsoft -powered mobile devices were PDA products trying to be a phone.
SPV stood for Sound, Picture and Video and this name was selected to highlight the multimedia capabilities of the device.
In the press release announced the SPV it was described as “a new class of mobile phone that combines high-resolution colour, speed and exciting applications such as full web access, easy-to-use wirefree email and instant messaging – all on a small, stylish mobile handset.” Microsoft commented that the SPV would “set the bar even higher for what defines a smart device.”
As part of the announcement, Orange indicated that the SPV was “the first in a range of phones that will act as a vehicle through which Orange will deliver it's vision of the wirefree future.” The company continued using the SPV name until 2007. The last SPV device to be released was the SPV E650
The SPV featured a range of Orange and Microsoft applications. Microsoft applications included Pocket Internet Explorer, Pocket Outlook and Windows Media Player. Orange offered photo messaging, the “Orange Today” personal information service and a back-up service for contacts and calendar entries.
The SPV also supported two accessories, an attachable camera and a fabric keyboard which was ideally suited to creat emails on the move.
The SPV was launched at a lavish event hosted at the Old Billingsgate Market in London next to the River Thames. A giant SPV device was showcased on a barge which was moored outside the venue as part of the launch event.
The phone initially went on sale for £179 (equivelant to £261 in 2021) together with a 12-month Orange airtime contract. The sale package included a camera, cradle, charger and SD memory card.
It was reported in Forbes magazine in April 2003 that the phone had benefited from a joint US$20 million marketing campaign funded by Microsoft and Orange which resulted in approximately 50,000 units being sold in the UK.
Although the SPV is recorded as the first commercially available Windows-powered smartphone this was surrounded by controversy. The Sendo Z100
had been showcased in February 2001 at the 3GSM World Congress and was arguably on track to be the first commercially available product. It became the subject of litigation between Sendo and Microsoft and the phone was cancelled in November 2002.