Today Sprint and Microsoft outlined plans to launch two Windows Phone 8 handsets on the US network. The HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo will be packaged with Truly UnlimitedSM Sprint 4G LTE this coming summer. Both phones will be able to take full advantage of LTE speeds, offering consumers a rich experience when using the device while out and about.
The mobile operator is highlighting the main benefit, which is that data, text and calling to any mobile have no metering, there's no throttling on data usage and overages. Here's what Fared Adib, senior vice president-Product Development, Sprint had to say about the announcement:
We've covered in the past how Sprint has been on the fence when it comes to Windows Phone but has been quielty looking at supporting the platform. Customers currently subscribed to the network have proved to be among the most loyal base for Microsoft and we're pleased Redmond is looking to introduce new hardware for consumers. So, what's the hardware going to be like?
The HTC 8XT
The new HTC 8XT
HTC will be unleashing a new version of its popular 8X Windows Phone on the Sprint network, the HTC 8XT (or 'Tiara'). It's a notable upgrade with HTC BoomSound, which will introduce dual front-facing speakers with dedicated amplifier to help bring video, music and games to life. Beats Audio is also said to be bundled to further enhance the audio output from the device. As well as that, HTC is also packing advanced dual microphones and better audio processing to capture those loud moments. Doesn't this ring a bell?
Specifications will include a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory (with MicroSD support), 4.3-inch display and a 1,800mAh battery. An 8MP camera is also bundled with a 1.6MP FFC.The 8XT will be available for $99.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.
The Samsung ATIV S Neo
The exquisite Samsung ATIV S
As for Samsung, we're rather surprised (pleasantly, might I add) the company is continuing to throw out hardware running Windows Phone. The ATIV S Neo will sport a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (with microSD support), 4.8-inch display (probably utilising Super AMOLED), 8MP shooter (with 1.9MP FFC) and a 2,000mAh removable battery. It's quite the work horse.
While no images have been supplied, we imagine it'll not stray far from the ATIV S we've come to know and love today. The ATIV S Neo will be priced at $149.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.
More information on both Windows phones will be available at a later date, including expected availability so stay tuned. Full press release is below.
Sprint HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo
SAN FRANCISCO (BUSINESS WIRE), June 26, 2013 - Sprint (NYSE: S) and Microsoft Corp. today outlined plans to launch the first two Windows Phone 8 smartphones to offer Truly UnlimitedSM Sprint 4G LTE this summer – HTC® 8XT and Samsung ATIV S™ Neo. Customers will appreciate access to the advanced features and capabilities of these devices with the benefit of unlimited 4G LTE (available in select markets) data, text and calling to any mobile with no metering, no throttling, and no overages, all while on the Sprint network.
HTC 8XT will be available for $99.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate via reward card1. ATIV S Neo will be priced at $149.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate via reward card1. Exact availability dates and full feature lists for both smartphones will be shared at a later date. Customers can preregister for more information and email updates about Windows Phone 8 from Sprint and HTC 8XT and ATIV S Neo at www.sprint.com/windows8.
“We know our customers are anxious to get their hands on these Windows Phone 8 smartphones, HTC 8XT and ATIV S Neo,” said Fared Adib, senior vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “Without a doubt, they will rival any smartphone on the market today. Our customers will appreciate being able to use them all day, every day without worrying about overages or data caps.”
Windows Phone 8 won the PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for best mobile operating system in March 2013. The only phone with Live Tiles, Windows Phone 8 offers a truly personal smartphone experience designed to keep customers connected to the people and things that matter most. Windows Phone brings together the best of Microsoft with the same modern look and feel, including Bing, Office, Xbox and Skype, for a rich customer experience. In addition, the Windows Phone Store includes more than 160,000 apps to choose from, with hundreds added daily.
”We are excited to be bringing the most personal smartphone experience to Sprint customers this summer,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Microsoft Windows Phone Division. “With compelling hardware from HTC and Samsung, coupled with unlimited 4G LTE from Sprint, these Windows Phones will offer the complete package.”
Must-Have Features from HTC
Music-lovers will appreciate the amazing sound capability of HTC 8XT with HTC BoomSound™, introducing for the first time on Windows Phone 8 dual front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier that brings people closer to their music, videos and games they love. In addition, Beats Audio™ enables studio-quality sound, so listeners hear music the way the artist intended with unique audio tuning that delivers thundering bass, soaring midrange and crisp highs. And HDR recording uses advanced dual microphones and audio processing to capture clean, rich sound that is worthy of high-definition video.
“Inspired by the design that won the prestigious ‘red dot award: product design 2013,’ the new HTC 8XT brings a truly crafted smartphone with brilliant color, soft-to-the-touch texture and tapered design to be comfortable in the hand,” said Mike Woodward, president North America, HTC Corporation. “A pleasure to hold and a pleasure to hear, the front-facing stereo speakers are a first for a Windows Phone and deliver sounds that demand to be heard.”
HTC 8XT is also ideal for photo buffs with an 8-megapixel main camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a front-facing 1.6-megapixel camera. The main camera takes great photos in bright-light and low-light situations, and the ability to shoot video and take still pictures simultaneously. It also offers multishot burst mode to help capture the best picture of a moving photo subject, and a dedicated Windows Phone camera button to open the camera quickly, even when the phone is locked or sleeping, so users never miss an opportunity to capture life’s most important moments.
Inside the beautiful HTC 8XT is a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400 processor with 1.4GHz dual-core CPUs supporting 4G LTE and 1080p video capture, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM memory, microSD™ memory card slot with support for up to 64GB memory cards, a crisp 4.3-inch display, Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, GPS support and 1,800mAh lithium-ion battery.
Advanced Features from Samsung
ATIV S Neo will offer a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, microSD memory card slot, international roaming, 4.8-inch high-definition display, Wi-Fi and 2,000mAh lithium-ion removable battery. Sharing is easier than ever with ATIV S Neo featuring ATIV Beam using near field communication (NFC) to share photos, music and video with other Windows Phone 8 and select Android™ devices. ATIV S Neo includes the Samsung exclusive Now feature, which highlights top news, weather and relevant information at a single glance.
“Samsung is committed to offering smartphones across a variety of platforms and the rich Windows Phone 8 experience on the ATIV S Neo is a testament to this effort,” said Kevin Packingham, Samsung Mobile chief product officer. “The ATIV S Neo makes it easy to stay in-the-know while connecting with friends, family and colleagues, through new sharing features and powerful productivity applications.”
Having ATIV S Neo in your pocket means users can do more with their smartphone camera. It will offer an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash and a front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera for video chat. It will include a variety of camera apps preloaded, including the Beauty Shot mode for smoother looking skin in headshots, Manga Camera to give pictures a fun twist by turning friends and family into cartoons, and built-in Photo Editor that allows the user to edit, color, effect, decorate or share their pictures quickly and easily.
These smartphones also make it easy for customers to stay productive with Office Mobile for Windows Phone. With Office Mobile, people can access, view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from anywhere. Plus, customers can count on Office Mobile to keep content and formatting intact so documents still looks great when back on a PC, Windows tablet or Mac.
Microsoft Office 365 offered by Sprint is available for small and mid-sized businesses. It includes Sprint’s unique Carefree Cloud migration and onboarding assistance, end-user level support, predictable monthly costs with no up-front infrastructure expenses, pay-as-you-go plans, savings by bundling all of the necessary tools and advanced options to simplify management further, all with a single bill and single point of contact. Sprint recently announced expanded plans available with Office 365, including enhanced audio conferencing and availability at select Sprint retail stores.
Sprint offers 4G LTE in top summer destinations like Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sprint offers 4G LTE service in 110 markets nationwide and expects to provide 200 million people with LTE by the end of 2013.
For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, visit www.sprint.com/network.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.