When old becomes new. Samsung and HTC’s Windows Phone 8 rumoured launch hardware.

The last few weeks have been exciting for Windows Phone with all the leaks concerning Windows Phone 8 hardware. The launch is almost upon us and of course, we’re all excited about the phones we’re likely to see. The next gen specs, even on the rumoured low end devices, are a big jump for Windows Phone. But will high-end devices from Samsung and HTC excite? Let’s look at the situation.

As we only have rumours so far, you’ll have to take the following with pinches of salt as we speculate somewhat. To start with, let’s cast our eye over the proposed Samsung devices. No doubt on paper these devices look the part but delving deeper we can clearly see that their high-end device is likely along the lines of a Galaxy S3. Will a recent flagship Android device serve as the high-end launch device for Windows Phone 8?

 

Samsung’s Marco & Odyssey

The specifications for the Galaxy S3 look perfect for a Windows Phone 8 device, no doubt about it.

  • 4.8", 1280x720 Super AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz dual core CPU
  • Weight: 4.73 ounces
  • 16GB and 32GB  (Internal storage) versions
  • Expandable memory with MicroSD
  • 2100mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroUSB
  • NFC enabled
  • 42Mbps HSPA +
  • 8MP Camera w/ LED Flash (4x zoom)
  • 1.9MP Front-facing camera

The screen will simply pop with those new live tiles. The bigger question is, will Samsung be content to only use "hand me" down devices for Windows Phone. They are clearly doing very well with Android and it forms the spearhead of their mobile push. Watching the Olympics coverage, we saw Samsung pushing their Android wares heavily with no sign of Windows Phone.

For Samsung, Windows Phone could be just another tick box, allowing them to claim diversification in their product line. As we noted yesterday, with Bada out of the picture and Tizen not coming until 2013, Android and Windows Phone is all Samsung has to offer.

Reading the comments on our post about possible Windows Phone 8 devices based on the S3 gear, it’s clear most are underwhelmed both by its looks and specs. Should Samsung launch this device as Windows Phone 8, it simply may not be cutting edge enough.

 

HTC Rio, Accord and Zenith

HTC are also expected to announce new devices within the coming weeks, just in time for the expected fall release. Their  high-end Windows Phone 8 devices seem likely to be a re-hash of their critically acclaimed One X devices

These devices, whilst loved by critics appear to have bombed with consumers, so much so that HTC is now in serious trouble. Again, we can ask the question, will HTC be content to just simply use their previously launched Android devices for Windows Phone 8?

Unfortunately, HTC looks to be going this route as well. No ifs, ands or buts, the One X-variant will be a fine Windows Phone 8 device, but the fact remains, its not new and it might not excite. Considering how the One X has done in retail, is it even wise to think of re-launching anything based on this hardware again? 

The HTC Zenith, the rumored flagship of the lot, looks a lot like the One X in terms of reported specifications:

"The Zenith will be the upper end model featuring a 4.7" 720p Super LCD 2 screen, 8mp camera with 1080p video capture, 42Mbps HSPA+, and a quad-core Qualcomm processor."

With HTC there is a chance that their experience with Microsoft could see them pull out all the stops for a Windows Phone 8 launch device.  The Zenith for instance could be a true premium phone, even a device that is uniquely high end compared to their Android offerings. That is what people will be looking for. At the very least we would expect that Samsung and HTC step up the specs and designs of their previous devices on Android to launch WP8. If they don’t then that speaks volumes to how they view Windows Phone.

Special relationships

It’s good to have close partnerships when you’re working toward a common goal. HTC in the past had a good thing going with Google and their Nexus line, these days Samsung fills that niche (tomorrow, Motorola?)

If we look at the Windows Phone world, there is a strong bond between Nokia and Microsoft. Without Nokia influencing Windows Phone, who knows where the ecosystem would be now. Samsung didn’t manage to fully launch Mango era devices globally and HTC didn’t seem to have the reach into retail. Nokia and Microsoft collaborated to change that, as well as some cross-pollination of technologies and a huge marketing push. We can now see the results of that effort with Nokia holding strong at 59% of all WP7 devices sold. They are likely going to erode the others market share in short order in the coming months.

We’re certainly glad that Samsung and HTC are still behind Windows Phone. If the specs and rumours are to be believed and both these companies are re-using Android devices for Windows Phone, I will be disappointed. Whilst I like the paper specs of these devices, there is no getting away from the fact that they are yesterday’s news. When Samsung and HTC launch their next gen Android flagships, those WP8 specs will look dreadfully dated, a step behind, the uncomfortable mid-range.

Do Samsung and HTC think that Android's “old news” is Windows Phone's “new news” with WP8? How will either of these companies expect to garner any interest from the existing user base at launch time with these units? Nokia devices and services will be the benchmark against which all others are judged. If either Samsung or HTC are serious about competing with Windows Phone 8, then this is not the way to send that message.

When we finally get to see the new hardware for Windows Phone 8, we want to see the "cutting edge", not yesterday’s news. Bring us Pureview, bring us more than 8MP cameras, make these devices higher end than anything from Google and Apple. We don’t want hand-me-down hardware from months ago when we sign two year mobile agreements.  Windows Phone 8 deserves next gen hardware to ensure it goes head to head with the competition.

We’d love to know what you think, please use the comments bellow to tell us all..

137 Comments
  • I guess we should be happy with the recycled android phones.
  • yeah...if you're not a fan of Nokia. I'm holding out for a Nokia either way.
  • It does bother me that we only seem to get recycled Android phones.  But what bothers me the most is the current availability issue (at least in the US).  Unless you are on AT&T, your choices are severly limited.  And I'm not just refering to Sprint and Verizon here.  My contract is coming to an end and I am looking toward moving to one of the vastly cheaper MVNO's.  Right now, Straight Talk is my only real option since they can take any phone that works with the AT&T spectrum.  But who I really want to move to is Ting or Republic Wireless, but like a lot of MVNO's, they can only offer Android handsets.  So even if its recycled Android stuff, my biggest wish for WP right now is that it become as available as Android handsets across these different networks.
  • Actually, Ting just announced BYOD support is coming soon (Sprint devices only, no Boost Mobile, VM, iPhone or BB) so the HTC Arrive would work. However, Sprint doesn't seem interested in WP8. Ting did mention in an older blog post that they are working on getting a WP device but it wouldn't be until 2013.
  • No mate...we should not be happy with recycled phones...i want some new hardware...something different...but that said...i love the proposed specifications for the odyssey...that will most likely be my new wp8
  • NO WE SHOULD NOT...OKAY! I'm not participating in HTC elevate to beg for spoils... Man up Sammy and HTC!
  • I think the One X would be the better WP8. I've used my Pop's white one and it is really nice. Curved glass and it's nice and black. Great contrast to the white seamless body. Probably the slickest plastic phone out there. Would look good with Apollo!
  • I hate android but I agree with you on this +1
  • I have the HTC Arrive. HTC did not make me loyal to their product line for a 2 year contract. I need the commitment of the OEM for the product life cycle. Nokia is answering that call loudly.
  • Agreed
  • +1
  • Just goes to show how much Samsung and HTC care about Windows Phone.
  • What's funny is that it will point out how badly Android runs compared to Windows Phone when you've got the same hardware with different hardware.
  • You mean same hardware, different software, right?
  • +1
  • +1 & Like & Retweet
  • At this point, you can't really fault them for recycling. For one, WP isn't a proven money maker, so spending money on extra resources to innovate for a platform that is barely there doesn't make much business sense. And two, as pointed out, HTC is in trouble, I doubt they want to take any further chances. And far as Samsung is concerned, how different could their hardware be? All of the galaxies have a similar design, which is what is giving them trouble with apple. They're more likely to innovate next go round with Android before they try it with WP. While I'm pretty sure my next WP will be Nokia, i wouldn't be opposed to getting a recycled Samsung or HTC phone cause it's all about the OS for me first. And secondly (which is where Samsung and HTC lose me) is support. Nokia has had more app support for WP in a year than Samsung and HTC has combined in two years. That's where I think those two companies are really losing the battle at.
  • Yeah, I disagree with Robert on this one and think he's being too harsh. HTC is already losing money. They can save costs by duplicating production and pass that on to consumers. Same with Samsung. WP8 doesn't drive enough revenue to warrant full scale R&D redesigns. "Show me the money" is what both companies would say to this article. Nokia? They really have no choice but even there, they took the N9 and re-made it for WP.  One X with WP8? Okay, I'm in. What about a S3? Sure, why not. They're good phones. I'm not even sure what "cutting edge" means anymore if those phones don't meet that criteria. What is suppose to be cutting edge in October that I'm missing?
  • +1, I can't be disappointed at a quad core phone.
  • HTC screwed up their android... If they want to make they will need to invest in r & d for WP... They're where Nokia was a year ago.
    So... HTC should rekindle their affair with windows:)
  • Ur argument makes sense but they should also develop more exclusive apps! That's probably the no. 1 reason my next phone will be a Nokia.
  • I am glad you said it Mr. Rubino.  I was reading this article thinking the same two arguments myself.
    Next Gen specs?  The GS3 and ONE X are going to be outdated in two months?  REALLY? 
    HTC, which is bleeding it's marketshare, and Samsung need to redesign devices for WP when it has less than 5% worldwide market share?
    Yes, I am cheering for both of these companies to do something original for my favorite OS.  Samsung especially has my loyalty.  My Focus S is a joy to use and I cannot say enough good things about it.  But it makes perfect business sense at this stage of the game to use existing top end Android templetes to come out with WP devices.  Those specs will sing with WP8 onboard.   We know that Nokia is going to lead the way and I hope they will sell 50 million handsets next year.  But until WP sells something close to 10-12 million devices for HTC and Sammy we are not going to see them put that much R&D into it. 
  • Guess Android isn't much of a proven money maker for HTC.
  • Well, it was. Problem is multifaceted for HTC: Android is not free, they end up paying MS for the license They're being hounded by Apple in court Beats Audio was a bad investment Samsung came out swinging hard
  • and Nokia will be swinging harder on the WP camp. We don't need the same old HTC Sensation/Desire look and designs from 2010.
  • Dude cut Samsung and HTC some slack! They introduced their newest flagships few months ago, and WP8 is a new deal and in reality Microsoft's serious start. They are now using their newset flagship hardware with WP and no one really has any clear idea how the market is going to react to it. So to me it is a logical approach to push WP with the best hardware these companies currently have;
    Besides that point, what do you expect from them? HTC is coming out with that behemoth quad-core, with one of the biggest screens on a phone (the biggest perhaps?) Are you looking for an 8 core really? However you look at it, with WP8 being brand new and these companies being careful *enough* - but coming out with the most decent hardware, they are making a wise choice, and if they see the potential they will push WP further to the point of releasing WP and Android phones with the same hardware at (almost) the same time. I would do the same if I were the CEO of these companies.
    P.S. Galaxy S II and S III are 1 year 3 months apart. If the equivalent of the S III is released for WP in a month or so, you can expect to have a truely cutting edge WP8 device for almost a year, so WP won't be left behind. And if Samsung can sell the WP device well, I suspect they will have 2 equal flagships next year.
  • I really don't want Nokia to be the only game in town when it comes to Windows Phone. I love Nokia and don't buy any other handsets but theirs, but for the good of Windows Phone I really want them(HTC and Sammy) to push out new hardware and services. But I would also love to see Nokia and Microsoft have an ecosystem like apple does but better. Nokia could deliver awesome phones at different price points but with the same basic look and feel, just lower specs, and Microsoft could handle the OS and app side, that sounds good to me also.
  • I second that. If MS gets the 3 screens right across the Desktop,Tablet and WP then I think maybe they could really run with just MS and Nokia if the others dont start showing more innovation. They have to get started in the enterprises and quit losing their bread and butter to iOs and Android for the corporate users. They have to get the marketing right and start hitting it fast.Just catching up to the competition isnt going to do any good they have to surpass them and do it fast.
  • 3rd that. U hit it on Nail micfur.
  • +1
  • +4
  • I don't think it's a bad thing. Can you imagine a WP8 version of the Galaxy S3? That would easily be one of the higher end phones at launch, and could also give Nokia a run for their money.
  • I have an Omnia7 (personal) and a Galaxy S3 (work) I've thought so many times what the child of them both would be like......well hopefully I won't have to wait for very long
  • "Windows Phone 8 deserves next gen hardware to ensure it goes head to head with the competition." You're only going to get that with Nokia WP handsets.
  • Disagree
  • Reasoning for disagreeing?
  • Tired of the its not Nokia it sucks comments.
  • When WP7 originally launched, wasn't the HD7--a high-end phone at the time--just a recycled HD2?
    I don't really care if a Windows Phone model is a recycled version of an Android model. But I do want reasonably high-end options on T-Mobile. So far, it sounds like we won't be getting that from Nokia, much as I like knowing they are providing, by far, the best WP support of any manufacturer.
  • I totally agree..
  • I wonder how Microsoft feels for HTC opting out of using the Windows icon for the Start screen button.  Isn't that the Android home button?
  • Que???
  • All the phones that will come out this fall are making me wish I had ditched webOS sooner, getting a windows phone sooner, making me upgrade eligible for an upgrade sooner. I won't be able to upgrade until fall 2013. By then, maybe Sprint will have a Nokia device.  
  • Look at it this way, by then there'll be even better phones out for you to choose from, and the early WP8 adopters will be jealous of you because we'll have one more year left before our upgrades!! ;)
  • I'm in same boat. Mebbe a quad core Pureview?? Lol so I'm happy to wait. Lumia 900 is a good phone
  • Yesssss... Pureview and 8 cores:) nuclear-powered!
  • Just please! Give all WP8 phones that grey accent option! :-)
  • Exactly, If we dont get loads of more themes im gonna cry. Im so tired of the blue,purple and orange, thats about the only ones usable.
  • Wow this is amazing not only does it let Nokia better there look but it gives the android fans a hard argument with specs LMAO :P
  • Its just weird that the One X dont sell, we have a few at work and I they are really awesome but maybe its too big for most people?
  • So you guys cry over reused designs, but your ok with the Lumia 800 an Lumia 900? You people are strange. 
  • Nothing wrong with Lumia 900
  • Didn't say anything was wrong with it. I have a white one. I'm letting you know it's a reused design. 
  • Thats because the Lumia design has a better association to Windows Phone than the Samsung and HTC phones have. Its not like the N9 is as big as the Android-phones.
  • The fact remains the same. 
  • Fact remains the same, but the point is, is that the Lumia 800/900 is an aesthetically attractive phone, associated only with Windows Phone.  Not to mention that the drool worthiness of the Lumia design has been duly noted by fans of blogs, publications, and fans/users of other OSes as well.
     
    Take a HTC/Samsung phone, place it on a table face down...is it a WP or Android?  Can't tell cause the WP HTC/Samsung devices, aesthetically, look almost exacly like an Android.  Some don't care about this, but there are some of us in which a unique and attractively designed deviced, associated with only WP, matters.  
     
    And given that the N9 was not widely available, people will still mistake a N9 for a Lumia 800; and you can visit enough Nokia sites to hear stories of people asking N9 owners 'Is that a Lumia 800?".
     
     
     
     
  • All windows phones have"Windows Phone " on the back of them.
  • Sorry,but you're wrong again. Its also know very well from its initial release, the N9. The last megoo phone Nokia produced.
  • Yeah.... And they sold 3 or 4 of them... So it's like a new design and it differs from N9. Basically I just disagree with u
  • I believe the question is why Android-based phone designs are being used for Windows Phone, instead of it being the other way around. I think reusing designs is a beneficial idea, and the reason for Android being first is because it currently makes money.
    I think when WP gets big enough, there will be harware designed with both OSs in mind, or unique hardware for both platforms.
  • Its beneficial to OEM due to manufacturing reasons. I completely