Windows Phone 8 Near As Best Buy Reveals Price And Pre-Order Info

  @LisaEadicicco on October 22 2012 10:59 AM
Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8

As the end of October approaches, upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices are beginning to make an appearance in the market. Best Buy posted pre-order pages on Sunday for HTC’s Windows Phone 8X and Nokia’s Lumia 920.

The pricing is also available for these two handsets—with Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 sporting a price tag of $149.99 and HTC’s phone selling for $99.99. Without a two-year contract, HTC and Nokia both sell their devices at $599.99. Both phones were advertised as available for immediate pre-order for AT&T subscribers, but the retailer removed the Lumia 920 from its website late Sunday night.

The product listing for HTC’s variant does not specify a release date, but simply says: “Will ship when available.” There has been no word on pre-orders for other carriers, although HTC has previously said that its flagship Windows Phone 8 handset will launch on Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. The Lumia 920, however, is expected to remain exclusive to AT&T for at least six months.

Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 handsets have been rumored for an early November release date, but no official announcements have been made at this time. Last month, sources familiar with Nokia’s plans told The Verge that the company is working with Microsoft and AT&T to undergo tests for a Nov. 2 launch.  At that time, Reuters also reported that the Lumia 920 will make its debut in Europe early next month.

Just ahead of Best Buy’s pre-orders, training videos for AT&T representatives in preparation for the Lumia 920’s release had surfaced online. When referring to these videos, a writer for Windows Phone news blog WPCentral predicted that an announcement would come during the weekend.

“AT&T is gearing up to launch the Nokia Lumia 920 very soon—in fact we expect an announcement on pricing and availability sometime on Sunday,” wrote Daniel Rubino of WPCentral.

These rumors and speculations will be put to rest soon enough, as Microsoft plans to hold a press event on Oct. 29 to herald its Windows Phone 8 into the mobile market.

“Meet Windows Phone 8,” reads the invitation.

The longtime PC software manufacturer will also be holding separate events for the launch of its Windows 8 operating system and its Surface tablet days earlier.

Specs and Features: What to Expect from Windows Phone 8

Microsoft and Nokia held a joint press conference on Sept. 5 to officially unveil the flagship handset, promoting and boasting about its features to a New York City audience.

“We are super proud of the display on the Lumia 920,” said Nokia’s Kevin Shields at the press event. “In our opinion, this is the fastest LCD display ever shipped on a smartphone.

Nokia’s forthcoming smartphone will come equipped with a 1.5GHz dual core processor, a 4.5-inch display and can store up to 32GB of data. The Lumia 920 will feature a one-piece polycarbonate body and will come in “vibrant colors.” It is also expected to come with the brightest HD display ever, and includes super sensitive touch that will respond even when a user is wearing gloves.

Other highly cited features include Near Field Communication, wireless charging and PureView technology integrated into its 8.7-megapixel camera.

As for HTC’s variant, the Windows Phone 8X comes with a 4.3-inch display made with Gorilla Glass 2, 720p HD resolution, and a dual-core Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz processor. Its 8-megapixel camera features auto focus, LED flash and 1080p video recording capability. The 2.1-megapixel front facing camera comes with an ultra-wide angle lens and can also record video in 1080p. The Windows Phone 8X offers up to 16GB of memory storage, but HTC says that “available capacity varies.”

One of HTC’s main selling points with its Windows Phone 8 handset is its dedicated Beats Audio amp built into its hardware. Beats Audio, a sound company spearheaded by rap industry heavyweight Dr. Dre., has partnered with HTC and Chrysler in addition to manufacturing their own headphones. This marks the first time that Beats Audio is coming to Windows-branded phones.

The launch of Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and the Surface signifies an important shift for Microsoft; the company is preparing to shift its focus to mobile-centric products rather than a traditional PC-based market. But CEO Steve Ballmer has exuded confidence over the past months, telling The Seattle Times, "I'm not paid to have doubts," when referring to the upcoming operating system.

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