Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Microsoft loves more than just Nokia: HTC Windows Phone 8X introduced

The Wednesday announcement of the HTC Windows Phone 8X showed off a phone that might make Microsoft's BFF, Nokia, go green with envy. The name of the phone shows that not just Nokia, but HTC, are getting cozy with Microsoft.

In comparison to the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia's new flagship Windows Phone device, the HTC Windows Phone 8X wins and loses. Some comparative specs:
  • Display Size: HTC Windows Phone 8X: 4.3-inches, 1280 x 720, 342 ppi; Nokia Lumia 920: 4.5-inches, 1280 x 768, 332 ppi.
  • Processor: identical Qualcomm dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 processors
  • Carriers: HTC: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon; Nokia: unannounced
  • Camera: HTC: 8MP rear-facing, 2.1MP front-facing; Nokia: 8.7MP rear-facing, 1MP front-facing
  • Both support LTE and NFC
  • Storage: HTC: 16GB internal, 1GB RAM; Nokia: 32GB internal, 1GB RAM
  • Weight: HTC 4.7 ounces; Nokia 6.5 ounces
  • Bluetooth: HTC 2.1; Nokia 3.1
  • Extras: HTC: Beats Audio; Nokia: wireless charging built-in, Dolby Audio
  • Colors: HTC: red, yellow, black, blue; Nokia: red, yellow, black, white grey
  • Price: HTC: $199; Nokia: unannounced
Verizon showing up on the list of U.S. carriers for the HTC Windows Phone 8X is a pleasant surprise. In terms of Windows Phone devices, the nation's largest wireless carrier is only selling the rather old HTC Trophy, and that is the only one they have ever sold.

Meanwhile, AT&T, the nation's No. 2 wireless carrier, has offered seven smartphones sporting Windows Phone since it debuted in 2010. T-Mobile has sold four phones over the last two years, although Sprint, like Verizon, has offered only a single Windows Phone.

It's nice to see the carrier list at all.  Nokia has been rather slow with revealing details about the devices that people really care about, such as dates, carriers and prices.  The company was criticized over its 820 and 920 announcements due to those omissions.

In addition to the Windows Phone 8X the company also launched the 8S.  Similar to the way the One S was the little brother to the One X ... well, you get the picture.

However, the 8S seems to be underpowered for a mid-range phone.  It is powered by a 1GHz, dual-core Qualcomm S4 and has a smaller 4-inch, 800 x 480 Super LCD, along with a 5MP rear camera and no front-facing camera, which seems an odd omission in this day and age.

The 8S only comes with 4GB of internal storage, but has a microSD slot, unlike the 8X or 920, wi-fi, Bluetooth, Beats audio (but not the 2.55v amplifier).   The phone also comes with only 512MB of RAM.  Pricing for the 8S was not announced, and it doesn't seem like the type of phone that's got enough oomph to attract much customer interest.

In terms of availability, Windows Phone 8 will be launched by Microsoft fully in late October. HTC said that it plans to have devices on shelves "within days of that announcement" in early November.

In addition to the U.S. carriers, HTC said the Windows Phone 8X will be available in Europe on Orange, O2 Telefonica, MTS, Three UK, T-Mobile, and Vodafone.

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