Windows phones have always had a pretty bad rap for being slow and clunky. Although the outer shell may be nice to look at and hold, the Windows phone based operating systems just never seem to cut through the clutter to make it into mainstream markets like Apple’s iOS and Android did.
Windows is back to try things again with their new line of Windows 8 phones, specifically the HTC 8X and HTC 8S. Windows partnered with HTC to brand their phones as “HTC Windows Phone 8” so that the “Windows” name was right in the name of the product this time around to hopefully reposition themselves as a powerhouse in the phone market. If in the past Nokia had the real Windows Phone touch, now it’s te time for HTC to get that unique feeling.
Let’s take a look at what Windows is offering this time around and how the market looks for them.
HTC Windows Phone 8X
Firstly, the HTC Windows Phone 8X is made from a uni-body design out of polycarbonate (also known as fancy plastic) and seems to be a response to Apple’s newest phone offering that uses a single piece of aluminum as the shell. HTC said they worked very hard to make a phone that fits easily into a user’s hand without feeling clumsy or too big. It weighs about 130 grams and is just 10mm thick. It is by no means the thinnest or “slickest” phone out at the moment, but it’s a great step in the right direction for Windows and HTC.
Here’s a huge plus in the Windows playbook. The 342dpi display on the HTC Windows Phone 8X is 4.3 inches wide (diagonally) and has a 720P resolution. With the dpi as high as it is, it beats out the newest iPhone 5 offering by a bit as well as the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III.
The HTC phones have 2 cameras, one front facing and one rear facing. The rear facing camera is a standard 8 megapixel design that doesn’t really do much in terms of “forward-thinkingness” for the company, but the camera on the front is an entirely different story. The front facing camera shoots full 1080P HD footage and is capable of capturing an 88 degree radius from the focal point. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, it means that it captures a much wider “range” when looking at your face and when compared to the iPhone 5 and most other smartphones, it has about 3 times the viewing area. The front facing camera is only 2.1megapixels, but the 88 degree radius is a very nice addition.
They were doing so well up to this point! The HTC Windows Phone 8X only has 16 gigabytes of onboard memory with no room for expansion. There’s no SD card slot and no MicroSD card slot to write data to or read data from. Why they left this little feature out is beyond me, considering storing HD media on the device to watch on the beautiful screen is now a bit more difficult.
In addition to all of the standard networks you’d expect a smartphone to have coverage in, The 8X will also be capable of 1800MHZ networks that are found in Australia.
The HTC phones have added a bit more to the mix with NFC connectivity by default. NFC connectivity allows you to touch phones together with someone and transfer files, playlists, or data to them remotely.
The HTC Windows 8X phone has a 1.5GHZ processor inside of it and 1 gigabyte of RAM. Not a whopping statistic, but enough to prevent any serious wait times on the phone.
There aren’t currently any pricing points set for the phones, nor is there an official release date yet. It’s rumored to be available sometime in November and more details will be available closer to the time.
HTC Windows Phone 8S
In short, the 8S is the little sibling to the 8X. Obviously, the 8X is HTC’s new flagship phone that is designed to wow customers who may have otherwise considered a slick new Android phone or the iPhone 5. The 10.3mm phone weighs about 113 grams and feels a little chunkier than the 8X version.
Things aren’t as fantastic here in terms of the display. The 8S comes with a WVGA screen that is 800 x 400 pixels and doesn’t support HD playback (obviously). Although the 4 inch screen doesn’t have the best resolution on the market, it’s still going to be able to stand up to competitors in the same price range.
The processing power of the 8S is a little weak, if I’m honest. Although it has a dual-core Snapdragon processor made by Qualcomm, the 512MB of RAM inside the phone just don’t seem like they’re going to be enough to run the beautiful display capabilities that Windows 8 is aiming for. That’s obviously just speculation and time will tell.
It may be unnecessary to say, but both the 8X and the 8S will be sporting the new Windows 8 operating system. There haven’t been any public demos of what the OS will look like on the phones just yet, so it’s completely up in the air as to whether or not it’ll be intuitive or a complete flop.
Just like the 8X, the 8S is supposed to hit stores sometime in November. Both Microsoft and HTC have been very quiet about the pricing point of both of these products, but considering they have let slip that the 8S is going to be a “mid-range” phone, it’s rumored that it will have a similar pricing structure to the HTC One V.
Alright, so Windows is releasing a new operating system and has partnered with HTC to brand their new phones as the “way of the future” (my words, not theirs). After you get done rolling your eyes at the idea of Windows trying to crack into the phone market once again, consider this. We’re starting to have a little Windows Phone 8 war between Nokia’s newest Lumia phones and now HTC Windows 8 phones.
Although the Apple iPhone 5 event enticed a lot of people to wait out in the cold to pick up their newest smartphone, there are still plenty of people waiting for something “more” from their phones. With the big screen, the wide angle front facing camera, and a brand new operating system that’s based around the successful Windows 8 desktop betas, it’s very possible that Microsoft has a chance at breaking serious ground with the new HTC Windows Phone 8X/8S phones. Only time will tell.