Microsoft made quite a splash in its Windows Phone 8 event today, unveiling a whole lot of new features for its phones. But none of that matters without the actual phones themselves. If any lesson will be taken from the release of the Windows 8-powered tablets, it will be that functionality and cost are a fine balance. Will the Windows Phone 8 offerings do a better job of weighting that scale? Here’s what we learned about the Windows Phone 8 line up.
The Nokia Lumia 920 was the first phone to be shown off during the hardware portion of the event, appearing on stage in the hands of Steve Ballmer. During his demo with the phone, Ballmer said, “Nokia’s new Lumia 920 is fantastic. Seeing is really believing with this phone.” The proof may be anecdotal for the time being, but when users get their hands on it and get to try out the “Only smartphone in the world that includes optical image stabilization,” then we’ll know whether he was blowing hot air. The handset is a AT&T exclusive, and AT&T seemed to be the only company that wasn’t ready with dates or prices to announce at this event. All we know is that the Lumia 920 will be available in November and prices and definite dates will be available soon. The same information can be said for the Lumia 820, another AT&T exclusive. No price or release date announced, but it is also expected to hit store shelves sometime in November.
The Nokia Lumia 822 belongs solely to Verizon. The device will be the entry point for potential consumers. Available by Thanksgiving for Verizon subscribers, the handset will carry a price tag of $50.
Continuing down the totem pole of Nokia phones, the Lumia 810 belongs to T-Mobile. Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile seemed to take full advantage of the Windows Phone 8 event and made sure to include a price tag and hard street date for availability. The Lumia 810 appears as though it will play the role of entry-level phone for T-Mobile’s Windows Phone 8 line up as it will be available for $100. Consumers can pick theirs up through T-Mobile on November 14.
The phone that Ballmer seemed most excited about, the HTC Windows Phone 8X, will be available across the board of mobile carriers. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T will all have the handset on shelves come November, though dates and prices vary. T-Mobile positioned itself as the value play, setting the earliest release date and the most affordable price point. T-Mobile will have the HTC handset available on November 14, starting at $150 for 16GB. Verizon will make the phone available by Thanksgiving, though it’s pricing the 16GB model at $200. AT&T will come up with this information later.
Although the phone was passed over rather quickly by Ballmer, the Samsung ATIV S (Odyssey) will also be available come November. The phone, described quickly by Ballmer as “unbelievably thin, incredibly light,” will be a Verizon exclusive, but carries no price yet. It is expected to be available in December. We’ll see if Verizon makes it a pre-holiday release or plays it closer to the New Year’s ball drop.
To make things a little more simple for potential Windows Phone 8 buyers, head to your local Microsoft Store. The 65 physical retail locations will carry every make and model of the upcoming line up. If you’re picky about the color of your device, go online and do some color customization.