HTC outs first Windows Phone 8 devices: Photos
HTC has unveiled two new Windows Phone 8 handsets ahead of the launch of the Microsoft platform in October.
The devices, called Windows Phone 8 S by HTC and Windows Phone 8 X by HTC, will hit the shelves at the start of November.
"The designers took a lot of inspiration from the [Windows Phone] tile interface, they used that as the inspiration of the handset," Graham Wheeler, director of product commercialisation at HTC, told ZDNet.
The better-specced device of the two is the Windows Phone 8 X (WP8 X) flagship, which comes with a 4.3-inch display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
Wheeler told ZDNet the device is likely to be available in the UK in blue (pictured), black and yellow. There is also a red version of the handset that Wheeler said is "unlikely" to launch here.
The phone's onboard storage limited to 16GB and the device is sadly lacking in microSD expansion — the expansion slot was left out due to design considerations, Wheeler said.
The device does, however, have SkyDrive integration for additional cloud-based storage. It also has NFC.
The handset measures 132.35 x 66.2 x 10.12mm and weighs in at 130 grams, with battery.
While the device will be available in an LTE variant for some markets, the UK is not included in that list, meaning it will be incompatible with the frequencies used here for 4G services.
HTC has also brought some of the features from its flagship Android devices, such as the One X, to the WP8 X, including Beats Audio integration for better sound quality.
Wheeler said the device had enhanced DSPs (digital signal processors) and an extra amplifier added to the audio-out in order to give a better volume range and make the sound crisper.
Like Nokia, HTC is also giving a lot of attention to the cameras found in its high-end device. The WP8 X has a dedicated camera shutter button, and uses the same f2.0 lens and 8-megapixel sensor as the One series.
Unusually for a smartphone, the front-facing camera also has a f2.0, 2.1-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens for video calling. Naturally, it also comes with Skype pre-installed.
"Skype is an important part of the OS," Wheeler said. "We believe video calling is going to be quite an important use within Windows Phone 8."
Unfortunately few other OS details can be shared, as Microsoft is yet to reveal aspects of Windows Phone 8 — and hands-on time with the device at a recent briefing was limited to exploring the home screen.
The second device, called the Windows Phone 8 S by HTC, comes with a slightly more modest spec list than the WP8 X — a difference that will presumably be reflected in the price tag.
Under the bonnet it runs the same Windows Phone 8 operating system and comes with a 1GHz dual-core S4 processor. The display is 4-inches large and RAM is just half that found in the WP8 X, but the handset does offer microSD expansion unlike its bigger sibling.
Also like the WP8 X, the WP8 S will come in a range of colours, including black/white, grey/yellow, red/orange and blue/purple.
Somewhat perplexingly, HTC has decided to omit a forward-facing camera from the WP8 S, despite Wheeler's assertions that "Skype is an important part of Windows Phone 8".
"It's about price points, [the WP8 X] is the flagship," Wheeler said. "[The WP8 S] is actually in an affordable price bracket, Beats and the music experience is something we believe is key."
Without access to the underlying OS it's difficult to say how well the device worked or what lies in wait, feature wise. What we do know is that it comes with Beats Audio software tweaks onboard but it does not have the dual amplifiers found in the WP8 X.
The rear of the phone is home to a 5-megapixel f2.0 aperture camera. The bottom of the phone is also removable, meaning that you can change the accented colour of your device at whim.
Removing the bottom also provides access to the microSD slot and SIM slot too.
The WP8 S, like the 8 X, will not come with Beats Audio headphones as part of the retail package, Wheeler said, though retailers are free to create their own promotional bundles.
There will also be an LTE version of the WP8 S, but not headed for the UK market.
Pricing for either device was not available at the time of writing.