Samsung has launched the ATIV S, the first Windows Phone 8 handset

Beating Microsoft partner Nokia to the punch, Korean handset giant Samsung has unveiled the first Windows Phone 8 (WP8) handset. The ATIV S handset was showcased at the IFA 2012 consumer electronics trade show in Berlin. It has a 4.8in display and runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor.

Nokia and Microsoft announced a “broad strategic partnership” to build the Windows Phone ecosystem in February last year. At the time, Elop triumphantly declared: “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

Under the terms of the partnership, Nokia committed to adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone platform to help drive the future of the platform. The two pledged to closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap for the future evolution of handsets.

While the deal suggests that Nokia would take the lead with WP8, Samsung instead appears to have muscled in on its territory, while also signalling its intent to ease its reliance on Google’s Android platform.

“By far the majority of Samsung’s smartphone sales have been Android devices, and there has been some scepticism to the extent they have committed to WP platform in the past,” said Tony Cripps, principal analyst in Ovum Telecoms’ devices and platforms group.

“Samsung has tended to take a multiplatform approach in the past and if they’re really behind the Windows OS, I’d expect to see more models from them in due course.”

Microsoft brushed off the idea that Nokia may have any concerns and told Telecoms.com that the Samsung handset is one of many WP8 handsets due to be launched in the near future.

This is just the first in a big line-up of new hardware that’s coming with Windows Phone 8. Look for more news from our other partners in weeks and months to come,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Nokia had not responded to our request for comment at the time of publishing.

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