HTC announces Windows Phone 8X and 8S, coming in November

HTC has announced the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S, two new smartphones coming in November

With Microsoft's blessing, HTC has announced the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S, two new smartphones coming in November.

Of the pair, HTC's Windows Phone 8X is the flagship. It has a 4.3-inch, 720p display, a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, but no MicroSD slot. The phone also supports NFC for the wallet features Microsoft is cooking up in Windows Phone 8.

For the phone's 8-megapixel, f/2.0 aperture rear-facing camera, HTC is bringing along the ImageSense sensor found in the company's high-end Android handsets. The 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera is no slouch either, with support for 1080p video chat and an 88-degree wide-angle lens that can get four people in the frame at once.

The Windows Phone 8X takes some design cues from Nokia, with a polycarbonate shell in a variety of colors to match the software's Live Tiles, surrounding a black bezel covered in Gorilla Glass. The phones look slim, but there's no word on exact measurements just yet.

The HTC Windows Phone 8S is a mid-range device with a 4-inch, 800-by-480 resolution display. Other specs include a 1 GHz dual-core processor Snapdragon S4 processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, a MicroSD card slot and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera. It does not support NFC. The 8S phones have a two-tone polycarbonate body, with darker colors around most of the shell, and a bit of pop around the bottom where the Windows Phone buttons reside.

Both devices support Beats Audio software, but only the 8X has additional amplifiers inside, The Verge reports.

Though HTC isn't a stranger to Windows Phone, the company appears to have put some extra effort behind these phones, and has earned some special attention from Microsoft. In a blog post, Microsoft's Terry Myerson noted that these are the first devices with "Windows Phone" in the name. He said HTC CEO Peter Chou saw Microsoft's plans for Windows Phone 8 and asked his designers to create a device that matched the software's design and personality. "I think they achieved that and more," Myerson said.

That type of love from Microsoft has previously been reserved for Nokia, but HTC already has one important element that Nokia's new Lumia phones don't: commitments from wireless carriers. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will all sell the Windows Phone 8X and 8S. In total, the phones will be available on over 150 carriers across 50 countries starting in November.

We'll have to wait a bit longer for an exact release date and pricing, but broad carrier support is exactly what Windows Phone needs to get some traction in the market.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

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