NEWS ANALYSIS: Samsung gave a sneak peek to reporters in Berlin, Nokia had a huge launch in September, and HTC will launch their Windows 8 phone shortly after the iPhone 5 debuts on Sept. 12. And there's more to come.
Nokia's introduction of the Microsoft Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920 and 820 was what has become a typical product launch in the wireless business-with lots of hype, speeches from CEOs, tantalizing details about new features and breathless commentary from company executives. None of this is surprising. But unlike Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 introduction, it's not the only such launch.
Samsung quietly showed a few reporters their new Ativ phone running Windows Phone 8 during the IFA show in Berlin at the end of August. This super-thin device with its 4.8-inch display and 2,300mAh battery will feature near-field communication (NFC) and Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+), but unlike the Nokia Lumia, it does not support Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) or Long-Term Evolution (LTE).
HTC, meanwhile will be launching its 8 series of phones, which will run Windows Phone 8 probably on Sept. 19. The company is planning at least three Windows 8 phones, 8X, 8S and 8V, using the same numbering concept as it uses for its One series of Android phones. The HTC 8X will be the Windows Phone flagship.
Huawei plans to be next in the line of Windows 8 phone announcements with a line of prepaid Windows Phone 8 devices. Chinese manufacturer ZTE has also said it will be releasing a series of Windows Phone 8 devices in 2013, but the details of the device and the date of introduction are still unclear.
Missing from this list is current Windows Phone 7 maker LG. There are rumors that LG will eventually launch a Windows 8 phone, but right now those are just rumors.
The list of U.S. carriers planning to sell Windows Phone 8 devices isn't surprising. AT&T and Verizon Wireless have already confirmed that they will be selling the Nokia 920 and probably the 820. It wouldn't be surprising to see T-Mobile, which already sells Nokia Windows Phones, get one or both these devices. Sprint, which only sold one Windows Phone 7 device, which has been discontinued, remains a question mark.
Meanwhile, TMONews is saying that T-Mobile will get the Samsung Odyssey running Windows Phone 8. T-Mobile has been selling Windows 7 phones from Nokia and HTC for some time. In addition, T-Mobile has had a very strong relationship with Samsung for years, so finding that the fourth-largest carrier in the United States, the one that doesn't sell the iPhone, is making a strong push for Windows Phone 8 should be no surprise. What is interesting is the indication that the new T-Mobile Samsung Odyssey will support LTE, but then T-Mobile has been saying for some time that it will launch LTE nationwide in 2013.
Of course, all of this Windows Phone 8 activity is taking place under a shadow from the looming introduction of Apple's iPhone 5. That device will be announced by Apple Sept. 12, and will begin selling on or about Sept. 21. For the Apple faithful, this is an event of critical importance.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.