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Microsoft To Announce Three New Windows Phone 7 Makers Today?

Later this afternoon, Microsoft will invite journalists to a VIP preview of its new Windows Phone Mango (aka 7.5) mobile platform as well as a keynote event from Steve Ballmer, the company's CEO.

One rumour points to the inclusion of three new hardware partners for Microsoft. Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung have already signed on the dotted line with Microsoft, and Nokia and Acer are believed to be the next ones.

But our money is on Asus which has released Windows Mobile handsets in the past, or ZTE or Huawei. ZTE did confirm earlier this year that they were looking at Windows Phone 7 but did not confirm anything back then.

The new phones could be presented today and demoed (or previewed) at next week's Computex in Taipei, where Asus, incidentally, will have a press conference and a booth.

Amongst the new features that the second generation of Windows Phone 7 is expected to have are: a front facing camera, faster dual core processors and perhaps even, Skype integration.

Another rumour that is likely to be announced this afternoon is the merger between Xbox Live Gold and Zine, which will add more third party content like ESPN to the subscription scheme. will be at the event and will be reporting from there from 1430 (UK time).