Following Nokia's lead, HTC announced two new Windows Phone 8 handsets in New York today. Intriguingly, it chose to call the phones the Windows Phone 8X and the Windows Phone 8S, perhaps in a bid to show how close it is to Microsoft, or simply to play the SEO game.
The suffixes mean that the 8X will be HTC’s flagship Windows Phone smartphone, with the 8S representing the more mainstream option. Previous generation Windows Phone 7 handsets from HTC included the HTC 7 Mozart, the HTC 7 Pro, the Titan, the Radar and the HTC HD7.
The Windows Phone 8X sports a unibody polycarbonate chassis not unlike the high end Nokia Lumia smartphones. Powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon system-on-a-chip clocked at 1.5GHz, it offers 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, 4G LTE connectivity, NFC, Wi-Fi, an 8-megapixel primary camera, and a 4.3in 1,280 x 720 pixel Super LCD 2 display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 overlay.
The Windows Phone 8X also comes with a 2.1-megapixel front facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture allowing the sensor to capture at an ultra-wide angle of nearly 90 degrees with full HD video capture. There’s also a physical shutter button, a dedicated imaging chip, Beats Audio technology (with built-in amplifier), and a wide choice of colours.
The phone will be available in a variety of flavours, including California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow, while the Windows Phone 8S by HTC will be available in the elusively-named Domino, as well as Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Gray.
T Windows Phone 8S appears to come without 4G LTE but with a microSD card slot. Other features includes a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage onboard, and a 1700mAh battery. Display-wise, HTC's WP8S sports a 4in WVGA display with Gorilla Glass, and also features a 5-megapixel primary camera with HD video capture.
Both phones will be available more than 50 countries through over 150 carriers, including Three, T-Mobile and Vodafone in the UK. Interestingly, it's the same network provider line-up as the Motorola Razr i.
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer is quoted in the press release accompanying the dual product launch, saying that "pairing HTC's beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies, 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."
It will be of the utmost interest to see if Ballmer pops up - in person or in text - at future Windows Phone 8 announcements, specifically the raft of launches expected to come this October in conjunction with the wider roll out of Windows 8.