HTC became the third manufacturer to launch their Windows Phone 8 range today with the announcement of the HTC 8X and the HTC 8S. Just as Samsung and Nokia were limited in what parts of Microsoft's Operating System they could show off, HTC focused on the hardware, the design, and the custom software that would differentiate their handsets on the market. Their chosen battleground? Music.
HTC has been the strongest Windows Phone supporter over the last two years. Nokia may have joined the party a year ago, but with today's announcements it is clear that HTC is going to be making a major push with its Windows Phone 8 handsets. In this preview we take a look at the flagship device - the Windows Phone 8X by HTC - looking at the overall design and key user experiences.
Looking back on Apple's announcement of the iPhone 5 last night, a few things caught my eye. But the one I want to talk about just now was the reliance on numbers and specifications not seen previously at an Apple event. That approach by Tim Cook and his team gives Microsoft and its partners an opportunity to promote Windows Phone in the last quarter of 2012.
Almost two years after the launch of Windows Phone as a mobile OS, I've been looking back at the hardware available in that time. For a number of reasons, most of it has been very uninspiring, unexciting. Partly this is down to limitations in Windows Phone 7.5 itself, but also due to either lack of effort or external constraints on the various manufacturers. In this feature, I pick my favourites of the previous (current) generation of Windows Phones and attempt to pick a favourite out of the next (WP8) generation too.
One of the unique selling points of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 was the adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard. Wireless charging is not a new technology, but whenever it has been employed in any product, whether it be the Palm Pre or your electric toothbrush, it seems to have struggled to catch mainstream attention. With these Lumia devices being perhaps the most mainstream application of wireless charging, and because Nokia adopted a standard rather than a proprietary method, wireless charging may just have come of age. How does it work though? I explain.
As part of its New York press event, Nokia and Microsoft detailed features of Windows Phone 8 alongside the launch of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Nokia's Kevin Shields talked through features, some of which had been announced previously, and some that were news to us all. There was a heavy emphasis on imaging, as one would expect from Nokia, but also a sense of an iterative building of a unique and recognisable user experience.
Seeing the PureView label on the new Nokia 920 will instantly draw comparisons with Nokia's 808 PureView running Symbian, which used a massive 1/1.2" sensor and 41 megapixel array to do stunning 'software photography', with noise-reducing pixel oversampling and lossless zoom options. However, in truth there is no comparison, since 'PureView' in the Lumia 920 is totally and utterly different. The camera in this device does bring potentially big improvements for the typical/traditional 1/3" sensor phone camera, but it works in a totally different way. Read on for more...
With the announcement of the first Windows Phone 8 device, Samsung would have been looking for some good coverage out of the IFA event in Berlin. Having a look around, there's not a huge amount. The specs are reported, the PR shots are there, but people's thoughts and opinions? Still forming, by the looks of things. Shall we look around and see what people are writing about the newest Windows Phone?
Samsung were the first out of the block with an announcement of a Windows Phone 8 device thanks to yesterday's reveal of the ATIV S, and one thing is for sure... this is not the only Windows Phone 8 we're going to see around the launch of the updated operating system. As the first handset, Samsung's ATIV S puts down an impressive marker in terms of specification and construction, while leaving a lot of space for competitors (and Samsung themselves) to ensure a Windows Phone 8 device at every price point.
Since Friday, the tech media has been flooded with news and commentary about the jury's verdict on the Apple versus Samsung case in the USA. Many of the headlines would have you believe this is the turning point for Windows Phone (e.g. this one on Forbes by our own Ewan Spence), because Android has been mortally wounded by a thermonuclear bomb sent from beyond the grave by Steve Jobs himself. Then again, Gizmodo have said "Who cares if Samsung copied Apple?". As is always the case though, reality is much more complicated and far less clear cut.