Earlier today HTC unveiled its own line of Windows Phone 8 devices (I didn’t even know there was an event happening); announcing two new phones the HTC Windows Phone 8 X & S. Apparently Microsoft dictated that the words “Windows Phone” should be in the name of the devices, leading HTC to claim that they are now the new “ signature device” of Windows Phone 8:
“It will be a joint marketing campaign where our devices will be the signature devices, almost the face of Windows Phone 8 in the marketing collateral with Microsoft.
I find the use of the word almost in the sentence quite peculiar, how can they claim to be the new signature device, but only “almost” the new face? aren’t those two basically the same meaning? The Verge asked Nokia about this supposed “new face”, they replied that they were happy for the Windows Phone Ecosystem, but also took a minute to remind us why the Lumias are amazing:
“Today is more good news for the Windows Phone ecosystem. While others may choose to tactically re-brand their products, Nokia is driving an industry-leading smartphone franchise – that we call Lumia — exclusively around Windows Phone. With Lumia, we are creating truly differentiated experiences like PureView imaging, location and navigation, wireless charging and Nokia Music. And we’re just getting started!”
HTC claim that the design of the devices was “inspired by the live tiles themselves” I like to think they meant “Inspired by the Lumia phones displaying the Live tiles”, since the above devices (8 X more so) are almost a dead ringer for the Lumia 820. And it seems that we weren’t the only people to notice this, Chris Weber (head of Nokia USA) slyly pointed it out on his twitter account:
And once you take a look at the new HTC devices it becomes pretty obvious that they’re “inspired” by the Lumias colors (at the very least), it’s also worth pointing out that both devices use the same Unibody Poly-carbonate slab that has become strongly associated with the lumias (after launching on the N9).
If you’re interested in the specs of the competition, the larger of the two devices, the 8X carries a 4.3″ screen (same size as the Lumia 900, but smaller than the 4.5″ of the Lumia 920) with a 1280*720 display, which although has a lesser resolution than that of the 920 it does have a higher PPI (341 vs. 332) due to the smaller screen size, but keep in mind that the 920 still has the upper hand in the screen due to the PureMotion HD+ which offers a faster refresh rate than any other screen out there, and can be used with any in-animate object. The 8X has a 8Mp camera in the back which like the 8.7Mp shooter of the 920 can capture 1080p videos, the FFC is also (impressively) capable of 1080p video capture.
Below is a useful table the guys from pocket-now put together: (Updated: the 8X DOES NOT have expandable memory)
It would seem that the only true advantages the 8X has over the 920 is better Front facing camera, and the lighter weight; besides that they’re pretty much matched up with the occasional advantage to the 920. This is truly the first time that the competition in WP8 heats up, it seems that other OEMs will no longer recycle their old android designs for WP (even if it means stealing the Lumias design).
Personally I think this is were Nokia’s heavy investment in WP7 will pay-out; the Lumia name and Nokia are VERY heavily associated with WP, and no amount of “tactical re-branding” changes the fact that Nokia were pushing out beautiful devices last year while HTC, Samsung and all the others were sitting back and throwing table scraps to the WP ecosystem. Unfortunately HTC one-upped Nokia when it came to availability by announcing the carriers that will carry their new devices (Verizon I believe?)