NEW YORK CITY – Sept. 19, 2012 – HTC unveiled two new Windows Phones, the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, at a press event today.
“Pairing HTC’s beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “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.”
Both HTC phones are available in a variety of colors, and both feature Beats Audio, a “studio-quality” sound system with deeper bass and crisp vocals as well as a number of cutting-edge camera capabilities, including an 88-degree ultra-wide angle front-facing lens that allows up to four people and more to be captured at once.
“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 Corp. “Windows Phone has clearly emerged as one of the top mobile ecosystems and is competitive against any other smartphone platform in the world.”
Terry Myerson, vice president of the Windows Phone Division, said these HTC phones are an important first for Microsoft. “As you might have noticed, these are the first devices with ‘Windows Phone’ right in the name,” he said. “HTC CEO Peter Chou said on stage this morning that, after seeing our plans for Windows Phone 8, he asked his designers to ‘go big’ and create something to match the software’s design and personality. I think they achieved that and more.”
Ben Rudolph, director of Windows Phone experiential marketing, said in his blog that he’s been working with both phones since the early prototype days.
“They’re flat-out awesome,” Rudolph said. “HTC did an incredible job of building devices that are beautiful, packed with killer specs, and feel great to use.”
Rudolph’s findings: Both phones are thin (around 10mm), and look even thinner due to a tapered edge and caseback. Both phones go big on color; the 8X is monochrome, unibody polycarbonate and the 8S is two-tone polycarbonate. The 8S display is 4-inch SuperLCD Gorilla Glass, and the 8X is a 4.3-inch SuperLCD 2 720p display made from Gorilla Glass 2.
The 8S has a dual-core 1 GHz processor, a 5MP rear camera, and 4 GB of internal storage (plus a microSD slot to add storage space). The 8X has a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, 16 GB of storage, and two “amazing” cameras. On the back, the 8X has a backside-illuminated 8MP camera that shoots full 1080p video, and on the front it has a 2.1MP, 1080p capable camera with an 88-degree viewing angle.
“Why is that important? Because it’s tremendously wide compared to the competition,” Rudolph said. “You can comfortably fit about four people into the shot on one Skype call, which is a huge improvement over most other front-facing cameras.”
The phones’ Beats Audio capabilities make for crisp and clear music, and the 8X also has two dedicated amplifiers – one for the headphone jack, and one for the speakers.
“Audio is kind of hard to explain in words, so here’s what I’d recommend – when the Windows Phone 8X hits the shelves, try listening to the same track on your current phone and headphones, then listen to the same track on the 8X + Beats headphones. The difference is staggering,” Rudolph said.
Both phones will be available in 50 countries from 150 mobile operators in early November. The HTC Windows Phones are part of a wide lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices set to hit the market later this year.
Rudolph said the months of collaboration between Microsoft and HTC have resulted in two really impressive phones.
“The design instantly stands out from the glass-and-aluminum crowd and the ergonomics are unparalleled,” he said. “They’re the perfect devices to bear the Windows Phone name.”