AT&T has finally shared availability and pricing information for the new Nokia Lumia phones it has been promising, as well as HTC's new Windows Phone 8X.
Starting Nov. 9, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 will be available for preorder on the AT&T Website.
Also on Nov. 9, AT&T will begin selling the Lumia 920 for $99.99 and the Lumia 820 for $49.99.
The HTC Windows Phone 8X with 16GB of memory will be priced at $199.99 and available "before Thanksgiving," AT&T said in a Nov. 6 statement. The carrier—making clear that it has sold more Windows Phones than any of its competitors—will exclusively offer an 8GB version of the HTC phone in California Blue and a shade of yellow called Limelight for $99.99.
Jeff Bradley, AT&T senior vice president of devices and developer services, called AT&T's lineup of Microsoft-running smartphones "the best designs for the fantastic experience of Windows Phone 8."
Nokia introduced its newest Lumias at a Manhattan event Sept. 5.
The Lumia 920 features a 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack display with Gorilla Glass and a touch-screen that's so sensitive it can be used while wearing gloves and responds to the touch of fingernails. Its 8.7-megapixel (MP) camera features floating lens technology said to enable great shots even in low light, when the shutter remains open longer, by eliminating the blur from subtle hand movements.
According to Nokia, the camera can take in five times the light of a typical smartphone. (The camera, you may remember, garnered Nokia some additional attention after an ill-conceived advertisement was found to misrepresent the camera's capabilities—though accidentally, said Nokia.)
The Lumia 920 is also notable for its wireless charging capabilities—Nokia has struck up partnerships and introduced a line of accessories, including a FatBoy recharging pillow—and its suite of mapping apps. Introducing the 920, ahead of Apple's iOS 6 mapping snafu, Nokia said that it offered the "most comprehensive, integrated mapping experience on any smartphone."
The midrange Lumia 820 also has wireless-charging capabilities, but these come sold separately, via an exchangeable back shell. Shells in various colors can also help users keep their phones feeling fresh.
Another difference is the display, which is 4.3 inches on the 820. Both phones, however, run 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processors that are said to be more efficient than quad-core alternatives, and both include the same exclusive Nokia content, such as city Lens and Nokia Drive in the mapping suite.
The HTC 8X, introduced in New York two weeks after the Lumias, features a 4.3-inch 720p high-definition display, a front-facing 2.1MP camera said to be "more than an afterthought," as most front-facing cameras are, and a rear-facing 8MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture and an ultra-wide lens, capable of capturing the faces of four people at once when held in self-portrait mode.
What consumers are more likely to notice first is how lightweight and thin the phone is. Microsoft is just as smitten with the Windows Phone 8 operating system it runs.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, introducing the 8X alongside HTC CEO Peter Chou, said it was a "magically thin" handset with a "beautiful design at the heart of both the hardware and the software." He added, "This is the first phone to, from the inside out, put people first."
Starting Nov. 9, AT&T will also begin selling the Samsung ATIV smart PC. The carrier said in its statement: "For the 2012 holiday shopping season, AT&T will be the only U.S. carrier to offer new Windows 8 tablets to their customers."
The ATIV is a tablet with an 11.6-inch display that clicks into a keyboard for a laptop-like user experience. It runs Windows 8 but is upgradeable to Windows 8 Pro, has a 1.5GHz Intel Atom processor, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities, 64GB of storage and will sell for $799.99.