Aug 31, 2012 12:36 PM EDT
Samsung Electronics took the wraps off its ATIV S handset on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the Mobile Unpacked event at IFA 2012, becoming the first handset maker to announce a smartphone using Microsoft's latest mobile software. Samsung's surprise announcement comes just days before the highly anticipated unveiling of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 lineup.
Finnish mobile maker Nokia was supposed to be the first Windows Phone partner to roll out a Windows Phone 8 device, which is why Samsung's hurried announcement was all the more surprising. Nokia is expected to launch its own Windows Phone 8 devices soon, with the Phi and Arrow as the first smartphones in the lineup.
The unveiling on Wednesday, however, also marks Windows Phone's long-awaited compatibility with HD displays and dual-core processors.
Samsung's ATIV S, the world's first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, is a sleek, stylish device sporting a metallic body and a thin chassis that measures only 8.7mm. It features a large 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD display with a pixel density of 306 pixels per inch (ppi), and is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset clocked at 1.5GHz, the same as that on the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The Windows Phone 8 smartphone also has an 8-megapixel rear camera capable of 1080p video capture, a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, and a 2,300mAh battery. The ATIV S packs 1GB of RAM and will come in 16GB and 32GB configurations. Storage is expandable via microSD cards.
On the developer part, the new kernel used in the OS allows for porting Windows 8 PC apps to Windows Phone 8. For consumers, this means more apps in the Windows Phone bubble.
The most striking thing about the ATIV S smartphone, however, is its body construction. Samsung has been long criticized for the plastic construction of its smartphones, but nobody expected such a sudden change. The Ativ S features similar specifications tocthe U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S3, but the key difference lies in the materials used in its making. While the Galaxy S3 features a polycarbonate finish, the new Windows Phone 8 smartphone sports an all-metallic brushed aluminum finish, a big change from Samsung's standard plastic body.
Windows Phone currently holds only a very small chunk of market share, but with devices like Samsung's ATIVS and Nokia's upcoming smartphones, things may soon change. Getting involved with a platform other than Android may also help Samsung recoup faster from its recent defeat in the closely-watched patent trial with Apple. No word is yet available on pricing and availability for the ATIV S.
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