Hands-on with the elusive Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV S

Hands-on with the elusive Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV S

Summary: Microsoft has been pretty coy about letting its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices off the leash, so we haven't seen much about them. Here's a glimpse of the ATIV S - essentially the Galaxy S III, with a different OS.


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  • Microsoft has been very secretive about some of the features of Windows Phone 8, ahead of the curtain officially being lifted on Monday 29 October. But I did manage to get a quick look at the new 'Wallet' feature native to the upcoming mobile OS.

    Sadly it had not been pre-populated for the demo (pictured).

    Wallet, which in part can use NFC technology for things like payments, is the new home of anything payment-related in Windows Phone 8. So any locally available deals, loyalty cards, in-app purchases, credit and debit cards and contactless payment details are all stored here.

    Windows Phone 8 will also be able to use NFC for features like 'Tap + Send', for sharing content with another phone - much like the Android Beam feature introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich. 


  • The app store on the ATIV S and Windows Phone 8 looks much like the store found in the current version of the mobile OS. However, the handset maker has added a 'Samsung Zone' section, which includes many of the apps that come pre-installed, such as ChatOn, Music Hub and Photo Editor.

    However, it's not exactly the same as the Windows Phone 7.0 and 7.5 versions; it introduces an app overview screen which provides visual shortcuts to sections of the store, such as 'best rated', 'top free', 'top paid', and 'collections' (pictured).

  • In addition to the Windows Phone 8 store, I also managed to get a glimpse of a feature called Children's Corner.

    Children's Corner is another of the features we've only really heard about a few times before this point. In essence, it's a way for parents to feel secure in handing their phone to their child without having to worry about what might happen, as they can be in control of what functions, apps, or even videos and music on the phone they have access to.

    Naturally, concerns about hardware damage inflicted by young children will most likely persist, unless you really feel like putting that Gorilla Glass screen to the test.

    Samsung hasn't said exactly when the device will be released, but I'd expect it to be very soon after the official release of Windows Phone 8 on 29 October. Likewise, the company isn't saying much about what it will cost, but some online retailers have it listed for around £430 SIM-free.

Topics: Smartphones, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Samsung

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Ben....Have you had a chance to??

    Try Lumia 920???...I want to get a Windows Phone (have had the Lumia 800 before, currently using an iPhone and an Xperia T), not interested in HTC, so so fan of Samsung (since Galaxy S2), which one do you recommend?
    • Why

      Why not HTC? I have HTC Desire Z (Android) and love it but I never had something else to compare with. I also read that HTC is faster with updates than others and update for longest time period. Thanks
      • Second that

        Agree. I've gotten all the windows phone updates on my HD7
  • galaxy note1 is not even good.

    i crave for that quad core windows phone, as i might search my system fast and open and close pictures fast. not like my 11GB half full built in memory gnote (beaten by my 1.8GHz year 2004 amilo pro lap top).
  • I could go with ATIV S, but I am used to

    Nokia EcoSystem, erm, apps for Windows Phone like Drive, Maps, etc. and 920 sounds right. Other than that ATIV S is a good phone.
    Ram U
    • Drive and Maps

      are available on all WP8 devices. I would go for the Nokia 920 without a doubt if it were on Verizon, but since I don't plan on going to ATT I'll likely go with the ATIV S or HTC 8X. Can't decide which.
  • I would go for the Nokia 920 without a doubt if...

    Sme here LiquidLearner; if Verizon would offer the Lumnia 920 I'd get that as soon as my currrent contract expires.
  • Dimdows Phone Always Gets The Mediocre Hardware

    Note the GSIII is quad-core, while this Ativ thing is only dual-core.

    We saw this with the HTC 8X as well, which was a bit lacking compared to the One X Android equivalent.

    And even Nokia' Lumia 900 was a cut-down N9.
    • Cont'd Due To ZDNet's New "Profanity" Filter

      It's like Windows Phones can never have the best hardware, there must always be something missing compared to the competi-tion. Since Microsoft dictates all the hardware specs, it must something Microsoft itself is insisting on!
      • Look at it the otherway, ldo17

        How poor is the coding in Android that OEM's sre forced to create more expensive high spec phones in order to get it to run as fast and smooth as Windows does on less expensive hardware, even though there's nothing extra on the Android phone in comparison to a Windows 8 phone?
        William Farrel
        • Re: OEM's sre forced to create more expensive high spec phones

          The beauty of Android is, it offers a choice. The latest version runs perfectly fine on a single core, and single-core Android phones still outsell multi-core ones.

          Look back at those HTC phones, for example; the Android-based One series comes in one-, two- and four-core variants, while the WP8 models offer only two or four cores. So funnily enough it is Windows Phone, not Android, that "forces OEMs to create more expensive phones".
    • Not a fair comparison

      Windows Phone does not require as much processing or memory power as Android phones. You can't compare specs when comparing both. Windows Phone performs faster than Android phones with similar specs.
      Andrew La Russa
      • Re: Windows Phone does not require as much processing or memory power as An

        Really? Then why is it that the latest version of Android will still run on a single core, while Windows Phone will not?
    • not all GS3's are quad-core

      the international version of the GS3 is dual core, so they've probably adopted that to keep costs low.
  • Re: the international version of the GS3 is dual core

    Here in NZ the version of the GSIII we get is presumably the "international" version, and that is most assuredly quad-core.
    • Dual Core / Quad Core variance

      If memory serves, originally the dual core variant had a different radio (cell, not WiFi) embedded in the chipset to allow it to work with a broader range of 4G networks. This isn't a technical restriction anymore as there are chipsets in existence that allow 4G and quad-core processors, so presumably it is a cost limiting exercise. Besides, the recent spate of iPhone 5 comparisons with the quad core S3 suggests that in real world use, the quad core processors just aren't showing any real benefit at the moment. Until parallel processing is fully utilised in programming techniques (and that's still an issue on desktops, never mind mobile), the true benefits just won't be seen.
  • The Lumia 920 is 185g remember. It's heavy!

    My money is on the Samsung ATIV S with it's removable battery, more powerful battery and MicroSD slot. Second up would be the HTC Windows 8X.

    p.s - The SG3 in Europe has a Quad Core chip, so not exactly the same.