HTC unveils two Windows phones, multiple customers

Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:45pm EDT
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By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) - HTC Corp on Wednesday unveiled two smartphone models running Microsoft Corp's Windows Phone 8 software and said the devices would be available in November through multiple wireless service providers around the world.

The two brightly colored phones -- the Windows Phone 8X and the Windows Phone 8S -- will pit HTC directly against key Microsoft partner Nokia, which earlier this month also launched two colorful Windows phone models.

Like Nokia, HTC is under a lot of pressure to generate strong sales from its next round of smartphones as it has lost significant ground to Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc.

With Apple boasting 2 million pre-orders of its latest iPhone before it hits store shelves on September 21, Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin said, it's going to be challenging for HTC to catch up.

However, HTC, which has generated most of its sales from phones based on Google Inc's Android software in recent years, will be able to count on marketing help from Microsoft.

The new devices will be marketed as the "signature" Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Jason Mackenzie, HTC's global head of sales, told attendees on Wednesday at the company's New York launch event, where Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer also came on stage.

"Consumers are going to love these phones, and we're committed to reaching them in a manner that's clear and direct," Ballmer said.

The success of HTC and Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices this holiday shopping season will be crucial to Microsoft, which has been left far behind by Apple and Google in the smartphone software market in the last several years.   Continued...

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds up an HTC Windows Phone 8X during its launch event in New York September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid