Windows Phone 8 Gains Additional Support


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Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) upcoming mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, is getting two additional handsets from a key manufacturer. HTC has unveiled two new Windows Phone 8 devices -- the 8X and 8S. The former will be a high-end smartphone with a 4.3-inch screen. HTC plans to release the 8X in 50 countries starting in early November, which will reach 126 different mobile operators.

HTC's other Windows Phone 8 device, the 8S, comes with a four-inch screen and will be sold in 52 countries. More than 146 operators are expected to offer the 8S to customers.

Wednesday's announcement comes only weeks after Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) and Samsung unveiled initial batches of Windows Phone 8 devices. While Samsung's device, the ATIV S, is being viewed as a weaker alternative to its flagship Android-based phones (including the Galaxy S III), Nokia's products are making significant advancements in mobile computing. This is especially true of the Lumia 920, which offers a number of exclusive features that cannot be found in any other smartphone, including Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone 5.

The Lumia 920 features wireless charging, wireless docking, PureView camera technology , and a touch screen that is sensitive enough to be used while wearing gloves. These are just some of the improvements that Nokia made in building its chief Windows Phone 8 device.

HTC on the other hand, seems to be playing a game of catch-up. The company has announced that both of its smartphones will feature "studio-quality" sound with Beats Audio, as well as an eight-megapixel rear camera. The 8S also features a unique front-facing camera, which boasts a wide-angle lens that is designed to capture a large group of people in one shot, which may prove useful to Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) users that like to post directly to the site.

Both the 8X and 8S will "blend the virtual and the physical utilizing a three dimensional, pure uni-body design based on the Windows Phone Live Tiles," the company announced this morning. "The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC are perfectly sculpted with a dramatic taper making them feel magically thin in your hand."

"Pairing HTC's beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies," Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said in a company release . "Together we are offering customers a clear choice and a truly unique experience. I'm thrilled to take our longstanding partnership to the next level."

"We've been inspired by Windows Phone 8 to create new smartphones that give the platform the iconic design and personality it deserves," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation, who was also quoted in a company release. "Windows Phone has clearly emerged as one of the top mobile ecosystems and is competitive against any other smartphone platform in the world."

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2012 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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