Now we know the dates for shipping Windows Phone 8 (was that so hard?)

700-nokia-lumia-920-color-rangeA post on The Verge today appears to clear up what has been the last hurdle in learning the shipping schedule for Windows Phone 8 devices. After Microsoft finally officially announced its Windows Phone launch event for October 29th, it looks like we’ll finally be able to pre-order Windows Phones from AT&T beginning on October 21st, at least according to The Verge:

Microsoft’s first Windows Phone 8 devices will be available for pre-order in the US on October 21st. Sources familiar with AT&T and Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge that the carrier will start taking pre-orders for its range of Windows Phone 8 handsets on October 21st — including the HTC 8X and Nokia’s Lumia 920.

Previously, the Boy Genius Report had the October 21st date pegged, but confirmed with its trusted source the “launch” of the Nokia 920, but not that it was a pre-order date.

Now that the October 29th Windows Phone event in San Francisco is official (and yes we’ll be there, checking out all the new phones!), a pre-order date before then, with availability in early November (numerous sources are reporting Sunday, November 4th, with Sunday being a traditional launch day for AT&T) makes sense.

Also today, Nokia and T-Mobile announced that a newly announced phone, the Nokia 810, is coming to T-Mobile (no dates or pricing as of yet, go figure).  The new phone, a variation on the Nokia 820, has given at least a bit of hope that there may be a non-AT&T version of the Nokia 920, which is coming exclusively to AT&T, at least at first.

Still, we’re confused by all the secrecy surrounding even the announcement of launch dates.  Certainly it might have been better to have a pre-order date known around the time of the iPhone 5 launch?  And even now, the only official date we know is the October 29th Windows Phone event.  Microsoft and/or its partners haven’t announced pre-order dates, availability, and haven’t even released an SDK for the new phones.  Seems like a strange way to launch a critical new product, if you ask us.