HTC (IW 1000/405) unveiled its first smartphones powered by Microsoft's Windows on Wednesday, in a boost for the U.S. software giant's efforts to break into a market dominated by Apple (IW 500/9) and Google.
HTC and Microsoft (IW 500/15) previewed the 8X and 8S handsets in New York, boasting that they feature "iconic design," studio-quality sound and "incredible camera capabilities."
The companies said the HTC devices would be available from November through more than 150 carriers in at least 50 countries.
"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, HTC's chief executive.
"Windows Phone has clearly emerged as one of the top mobile ecosystems and is competitive against any other smartphone platform in the world."
Among the carriers participating are U.S.-based AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, Europe's Orange, O2 Telefonica, MTS, Three UK, T-Mobile and Vodafone and Asia-Pacific carriers Chunghwa Telecom, Optus, Singapore Telecommunications, Smartone, Telstra and Vodafone Australia.
The news comes two weeks after Finland-based Nokia (IW 1000/86) unveiled its smartphones powered by Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's upgraded mobile operating system that aims to compete with Apple's iOS used on the iPhone and a multitude of Google Android handsets.
A Milestone for HTC & Microsoft
"Pairing HTC's beautiful new Windows Phone 8X and 8S with our brand is a big milestone for both companies," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive.
"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."
The HTC devices have a design based on the Windows Phone Live Tiles and will come in colors including "California blue," graphite black, flame red, and "limelight yellow."
HTC will use and ultra-wide angle front-facing camera that allows up to four people and more to be captured at once, which also allows for high-definition video capture.
It said its Beats Audio "provides authentic, studio-quality sound that delivers the spirit of the original recording."
The phones will have displays of at least four inches, matching or exceeding that of the new iPhone 5, and will use the newest version of Corning's lightweight Gorilla Glass.