HTC’s (2498) Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S are the company’s first real Windows Phone handsets. Sure, the Taiwan-based company has introduced some devices that run Windows Phone before, but it appears that HTC is finally taking Windows Phone seriously. And why shouldn’t it? HTC is getting pushed out of the Android game quite quickly, so it makes sense to diversify its handset portfolio with a different operating system, ecosystem and partner.
The design of these new Windows Phone devices, the 8X specifically, is striking. It perfectly fits Microsoft’s (MSFT) two-dimensional tile-based user interface. It’s bold, colorful and flat — a match made in Taiwan.
The Windows Phone 8X features a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, one of the most beautiful 4.3-inch displays I have seen on a smartphone, 4G LTE, Beats Audio, NFC and more. The 8X seems lighter, thinner, and less bulky than the Nokia (NOK) Lumia 920, so it’s going to be an interesting dual between them.
The HTC Windows Phone 8S mirrors the company’s One-series strategy with a high-end and mid-range smartphone, and it seems to be a decent phone on its own. The 8S features a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, 5-megapixel camera, Beats Audio and an expandable memory slot.
HTC told us that the new devices will go on sale starting in November, and one or both models will be offered by AT&T (T), T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless (VZ) in the United States. Make sure to check out our hands-on gallery of the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S, as well as the full press release below.
HTC AND MICROSOFT UNVEIL FIRST SIGNATURE WINDOWS PHONES
New Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC to be available through more than 150 mobile operators globally
NEW YORK, 19th September, 2012 — HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, and Microsoft today unveiled the first signature Windows Phones, the stunning Windows® Phone 8X and 8S by HTC®. The smartphones feature the new Windows Phone 8 operating system and boast iconic design, studio-quality sound with Beats Audio™ and incredible camera capabilities.
“Pairing HTC’s beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Together we are offering customers a clear choice and a truly unique experience. I’m thrilled to take our longstanding partnership to the next level.”
“We’ve been inspired by Windows Phone 8 to create new smartphones that give the platform the iconic design and personality it deserves,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “Windows Phone has clearly emerged as one of the top mobile ecosystems and is competitive against any other smartphone platform in the world.”
The only phone with Live Tiles, Windows Phone has a clear, differentiated vision and the consumer experience has been widely recognized as being groundbreaking, innovative and fresh. HTC created the Windows Phone 8X and 8S to blend the virtual and the physical utilizing a three dimensional, pure uni-body design based on the Windows Phone Live Tiles. The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are perfectly sculpted with a dramatic taper making them feel magically thin in your hand.
Because color is such an integral part of the Windows Phone experience, HTC is bringing bold, sophisticated and adventurous colors in a premium matte finish to these devices. The Windows Phone 8X will come in a variety of colors including California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow. The Windows Phone 8S by HTC will be available in Domino, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Gray.
Capture and share your world
For the first time, HTC is introducing a 2.1mp, f/2.0 aperture, 88° ultra-wide angle front-facing camera that allows up to four people and more to be captured at once. It also supports 1080p video capture. The rear camera sports an 8mp CMOS sensor with backside-illumination (BSI) for improved low-light performance, along with an f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens and a dedicated imaging chip. A physical shutter button makes it quick and easy to capture spontaneous action, even if the phone is locked.
Spectacular Sound with Beats Audio
Exclusively available on HTC smartphones, Beats Audio provides authentic, studio-quality sound that delivers the spirit of the original recording. The Windows Phone 8X by HTC featuring Beats Audio also offers a unique audio amplifier powering the 3.5mm audio jack and the speaker, boosting the audio signal for even better sound no matter if you’re listening to music, playing a game or watching a video.
The Windows Phone 8X by HTC features a beautiful, 4.3” HD-resolution super LCD 2 screen protected from everyday bumps and scrapes by lightweight Gorilla® Glass 2, while optical lamination reduces reflections and glare, ensuring you see every detail. The Windows Phone 8S by HTC boasts a bright super LCD 4” screen with Gorilla® Glass, allowing users to see the Windows Phone Live Tiles, and every message and photo, with crystal clarity and sparkling color.
With the Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC people can carry their favorite music, movies and photos with them wherever they go. With the Windows Phone Store and Xbox Live, it is easier than ever to enjoy the latest video, music and games on the move.
The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC will be available beginning in November. Available through more than 150 carriers in 50+ countries, the Windows Phone 8X or 8S by HTC will be available from the world’s top carriers including: United States: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Europe: Orange, O2 Telefonica, MTS, Three UK, T-Mobile, and Vodafone Asia-Pacific: Chunghwa Telecom, Optus, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel), Smartone, Telstra and Vodafone Australia.