HTC's Windows Phone 8x

As it continues its aggressive push in the smartphone space,  Microsoft has announced two Windows Phone 8 handsets designed by Taiwanese vendor HTC. The HTC Windows Phone 8X is the premium handset of the two, with a 4.3in HD screen and a Qualcomm S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor. It has 1GB RAM, 16GB storage space and comes with an 8-megapixel camera.

The HTC Windows Phone 8S meanwhile has a smaller 4in display, a Qualcomm S4 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM and 16GB storage space.

According to Digantam Gurung, analyst at CCS insight, the appearance of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the launch event, alongside Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, provides assurance of the strength of the HTC-Microsoft relationship.

“However, this is likely to frustrate Nokia who feel they are the “lead” Windows 8 licensee. It appears Microsoft is very keen to maintain a level playing field amongst Windows Phone makers at this stage,” he said.

He added that the release of the 8X at the high end of the smartphone market now presents an opportunity for HTC to reassert itself following disappointing sales of previous Android handsets that were eclipsed by Samsung’s.

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“HTC will try and capitalise on growing momentum behind Windows Phone 8 aligned to the impending launch of Windows 8 which will be supported by an eye-watering Microsoft marketing budget,” Gurung added. “These new devices are not an attempt to de-emphasise HTC’s focus on Android, but rather add more diversity to the HTC portfolio, particularly given the growing competitive pressure with Android.”

Earlier this month, Nokia announced its Flagship WP8 products, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, while Samsung also launched its ATIV S device. The Windows 8 operating system for desktops is slated for launch in October this year.

The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC will be available beginning in November, through more than 150 carriers in over 50 countries.

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