Sprint’s latest devices are sure to please Windows Phone fans: The carrier announced today that it will offer the HTC 8XT and Samsung Ativ S Neo later this summer.
The smartphones will be the first Windows Phone 8 devices to work on Sprint’s unlimited 4G LTE network, which the carrier is slowly rolling out across the country.
Unfortunately, the 8XT ($100 with a two-year contract, after a $50 rebate) isn’t the HTC One variant that some have been hoping for. The 8XT features HTC’s BoomSound stereo speakers from the One, but otherwise it looks like a fairly standard upgrade over the HTC Windows Phone 8X. That’s a shame, because I still consider the HTC One to be the best smartphone on the market.
The 8XT sports a 1.4 gigahertz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, a 4.3-inch display, and 1 gigabyte of RAM. It also packs in an 8-megapixel camera (I guess the company hasn’t had a chance to bring its Ultrapixel camera tech over to Windows Phone yet). Judging from the pictures, it looks like HTC has carried over the design from its previous Windows Phone devices.
We’ll be exploring the volatile mobile platform landscape, as well as the importance of mobile experience, at our MobileBeat conference next month.
Overall, the 8XT looks like a decent mid-range phone, but I’m still waiting for HTC to deliver a flagship device for Microsoft’s mobile platform. Given the company’s manufacturing issues with the current One smartphone, though, it’ll likely be a while.
Samsung’s Ativ S Neo ($149 with a two-year contract, after a $50 rebate) offers a larger 4.8-inch screen, but otherwise it also seems slightly stripped down from Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4. It’s powered by a 1.4 gigahertz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, and it also includes a removable battery.
Microsoft’s biggest problem right now is that every phone maker, aside from Nokia, is giving it second-rate products. Improvements in Windows Phone 8 could help to change that, but so far we haven’t seen many significant improvements. I’m all for incremental refinement, but almost three years since Windows Phone’s launch, Microsoft is still searching for a breakthrough device.
At this point, Windows Phone’s only hope may be the rumored Microsoft-made Surface phone.