HTC Windows Phone 8X hands on

The relatively good surprise of last night’s Windows Phone 8 launch event was my hands on experience with HTC’s new flagship handset the Windows Phone 8X. Contrary to what most people assumed the devices’ build quality is nearly perfect and on par with Nokia’s Lumias. But the most striking feature is in my opinion the handset’s weight (130g) and overall in hand feeling. Like I said earlier the Nokia Lumia 920 is heavy, especially when you compare it to the 8X and ATIV S.

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Samsung ATIV S Hands On

I finally had the chance to handle the first ever Windows Phone 8 handset announced which is also the one that nobody ever saw in the flesh since its first unveiling back in the summer: the Samsung ATIV S. As you probably all already know the ATIV S for the most part the Windows Phone 8 variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3 with a fresh new design and what looks like a slightly better screen. I admit that I’m definitely not sure of this but the 4.8″ 720P Supper AMOLED panel doesn’t seem to have the same PenTile sub-pixel array as the S3 and is closer to the one found on the new Galaxy Note 2. The screen really has the best viewing angles of any phone I have ever handled but as its usual the case with Samsung the color calibration seems to be totally off.

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Samsung ATIV S hands on video

GSMArena has accidentally posted a short hands on video of the first Windows Phone 8 handset announced; the Samsung ATIV S. The video is now private but a lower-resolution copy of it it already up on YouTube which you can watch after the break. There isn’t much news in it besides a short demo of Windows Phone 8‘s Kid’s Corner feature which will allow users to setup up specific features, content (games, videos, music, pictures) to be accessible by children. Once the whole thing is activated the phone will have to lock-screens: the regular one which should be password protected and a second one accessible by a finger swipe to the left.

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HTC Windows Phone 8X and Window Phone 8S announced: Full Specifications

HTC has finally unveiled its first Windows Phone 8 handsets today the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S. Check out the full PR below as I will update this post with the hardware specifications of theses devices as soon as possible:

UPDATE: Full specs and video after the break!

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Don’t miss the HTC Windows Phone 8 event today

In case you missed the memo, HTC is going to publicly unveil its Windows Phone 8 devices today or tomorrow (depending on your timezone) in NYC around 11AM ET ( that’s 4PM GMT). There’s unfortunately no live stream that I’m aware off unlike Nokia’s September 5th event so the best way to follow the news will most probably the live-blogs of those who are going to be present there or simple refreshing HTC’s website which will be updated with all the specifications as soon as the handsets are announced.

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Samsung ATIV S Specifications

In case you are wondering what are the exact hardware specs of the Samsung ATIV S just head over to the break to check out what’s inside the first Windows Phone 8 handset to be announced. Remember that this is probably the European version because of the HSPAS+ only support so you can expect an US LTE model to be announced relatively shortly. Also note the the supported codecs list which is interesting if true..

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Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8 announced

Samsung is officially the first out of the gate with it’s Windows Phone 8 handset announcement today at IFA in Berlin.  The Samsung ATIV S (also known as the SGH-T899) is the first Windows Phone 8 phone to be publicly unveiled and sure enough it doesn’t disappointed as this is essentially the WP8 version of the current best Android handsets, the Galaxy SII. The hardware is for the most part identical to the US LTE variant of the SII so you will find a gigantic 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED (720P) display powered by a Qualcomm S4 Plus SOC clocked at 1.5Ghz (with the Adreno 225 GPU), 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, Micro-SD expansion Slot, NFC, an 8Mpix rear facing camera and a 1.9 FF cam. All in a 8.7mm thick package. Last but not least, the Samsung ATIV S will pack a relatively generous 2300Mha battery. Check out more pictures after the break:

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Samsung SGH-T899 Windows Phone 8 user agent spotted headed to T-Mobile

Not a whole lot of exciting things happening in the Windows Phone world lately given the imminent release of the Windows Phone 8 SDK which should take long (it has leaked just in case you missed it..) and the falls launch of the WP8 phones. The “officially” revealed Samsung Odyssey handset is apparently also named the Samsung SGH-T899 and headed to T-Mobile if the device’s user-agent is to be believed.

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Samsung Odyssey and Marco Windows Phone 8 handsets specifications leak

Samsung “officially” revealed the the Codename and Hardware specifications of its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices in one of the court documents submitted in the the ongoing Apple courts cases last week given us a first glimpse at what we can expect to see later this year. The first device is codenamed the Samsung Odyssey and is apparently the company’s high-end model featuring a 4.65 HD Super AMOLED screen, NFC chip, 8M and 2M cameras powered by a Qualcomm SnapDragon S4 Plus MSM8960 SoC (with LTE, HSPA+ 21). The second handset is the lowered end Samsung Marco featuring a 43 WVGA Super AMOLED Super AMOLED screen, 4M + 2M camerasall powered by the same MSM8960 SoC. Both devices are expected to launch in Q4 2012.

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HTC Windows Phone 8 devices specifications leaked

It didn’t take long for HTC’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 roadmap to leak just one day after the official unveiling of the new platform. According to the Verge’s sources the Taiwanese manufacturer is planning to launch 3 handsets before the end of the year: HTC Rio, HTC Accord and HTC Zenith. Each model will target a specific price point thanks to the new HW chassis flexibility provided to OEMs with WP8. Check out the specification after the break.

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First Adreno 320 Benchmark results

Here’s a little something that should brighten up your day and hopefully give some credence to the rumored Nokia Lumia PureView rumor that poped-up a little while ago. The unicorn device in question supposedly packs an Adreno 320 GPU which should only be available in two Sanpdragon S4 SoCs later this year: the Quad-Core APQ8064 (w/out the modem) and later the Dual-Core MSM8960 Pro. It now turns out that Qualcomm is right on track with its roadmap and is already sampling the APQ8064 for its OEMs which means that there’s a chances that we will see Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices powered by these SoCs in the coming months.

The LG-E970 Android 4.0 handset (known as the LG-LS970 on Sprint) is already in wild and has been cough running the GLBenchmark suite lately to test out it’s beastly Adreno 320 GPU. Unfortunately for us the results aren’t really that interesting given that they were ran with Vsync on (@ 1280×768). Check out the result in the screen shot after the break:

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Nokia design chief confirms Windows 8 tablet and next UX breakthrough in Phones

Nokia’s design chief Marko Ahtisaari today confirmed to the Finnish Magazine Kauppalehti Optiossa that a third of his time was spend working on the company’s upcoming tablet which is rumored to be a Snapdragon S4 powered 10inch Windows 8 ARM Slate and that work is also done on an mysterious UX breakthrough for their upcoming Windows Phones. I unfortunately don’t have access to the print version of the paper but if anyone can send me a scan of it or maybe highlights o the whole interview it would really be appreciated.

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Nokia Windows 8 tablet rumored to ship later this year powered by Qualcomm

If you have been paying close attention to Stephen Elop recent interviews there’s no doubt that Nokia will introduced a windows 8 tablet at some point in the future. This may very well at the end of the year to align with the OS launch (and probably also Windows Phone 8). According to the latest rumors the 10inch screen device will be powered by a Dual-Core Qualcomm SoC Which will probably be the Snapdragon S4 Pro (with the Adreno 320 GPU) and will ship in Q4 2012. Nokia is also said to have commissioned Compal again to built 200 000 of those devices (similar to how Compal help manufacture the Lumia 800).

Small question to all my readers: Are you ready to sacrifice backwards compatibility and choose a Windows On ARM Tablet or will you prefer a X86 Windows 8 powered Slate?

Update: Forgot to say that I curentlyown a SAmung Slate 7 with the W8 CP running on it. Best of both words (CoreI5, Wacom Pen digitizer etc..) but battery life is deffinitly far from iPad standards. On the plus side: it totaly destroys any competing IOS or Android tablet on the market (or even the Tegra3/SanpdragonS4 powered ones in terms of performance.

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Microsoft certifying Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC for Windows Phone 8

Let’s not act surprised here folks. It was no secret that Qualcomm would still be the preferred SoC provider for Windows Phone 8 so the latest rumors that Microsoft is currently testing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 aka the MSM8960 SoC for a future Windows Phone 8 Apollo handset isn’t the least surprising. The MSM8960 is the Dual-Core Krait beast featuring the Adreno 225 GPU which will be shipping in the LTE version of the HTC One X Android handset and from the looks of it Microsoft my have rightfully decided to skip the S3 generation in favor of the S4 for WP8 in part because the later has built-in LTE radios and because this particular SoC will also be Qualcomm’s first Windows 8 certified platform (even though the Windows 8 version may be the Snapdragon S4 Pro with the Adreno 320 GPU).

Now this may sound worrying to current Windows Phone owners who have only Snapdragon S1 ans S2 powered devices but as far as we know those handset shouldn’t have any problem running Windows Phone 8 later this year.

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AT&T to showcase Qualcomm powered Windows 8 4G LTE tablet next week

AT&T’s 2012 developer summit which is taking place in Las Vegas right before CES is full of interesting session this year. One in particular session caught my attention because it is related to Windows 8 and Qualcomm’s SoCs.

A Metro Style Hemi™ – Windows 8 tablets super charged with 4G LTE – 3:30 – 4:15

Attend this session and see how to transform the higher speed and lower latency of LTE into an amazing user experience. First, learn from Qualcomm about the power of their Snapdragon chip, and how developers can tap into the Snapdragon Developer Program to create rich Windows 8 apps that help deliver differentiated consumer experiences that capitalize on LTE’s potential. Then see how the intuitive elegance of Windows 8′s Metro-style application design has been layered over this horsepower. Finally, hear how standalone applications can be transformed on this powerful platform, converting independent programs into streamlined, integrated live tiles. Opportunities abound in this session for developers of connected apps; discover how AT&T and Microsoft are working to make developing connected applications easier.

Based on this description it’s safe to assume that AT&T and Qualcomm are going to showcase a working Windows 8 tablet powered by a Snapdragon S4 Krait SoC next week and I would assume that we are also going to hear some things related to Win8 tablets out of CES in the following days. The wording of this description also confirms that AT&T is going to be a windows 8 launch partner in the US same as for Windows Phone (there’s also a Nokia dev session on the same day..but we already knew that the AT&T version of the Lumia 800 is a go).

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Microsoft confirms Dual-Core and LTE Windows Phones coming in the future

I think that we all knew that this would be the case but just in case you doubted it Microsoft’s Andy Lees has recently confirmed that future Windows Phones’ probably running Apollo Windows Phone 8) will support Dual-Core SoCs and LTE networks. As of right now Windows Phone 7 only supports single core SoC and frankly isn’t in need of anything more powerful given that the current crop of devices (the new MSM8255 based one and older QSD8250 phones) are smoother and more responsive than any Dual-core Android handset currently on the market.

“They’re all single core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point,” But, he insisted, Microsoft isn’t opposed to dual-core chips, but wanted to wait until the software was more ready to take advantage of multiple cores.

As far I know, and I could be wrong here, the current CE Kernel used in Windows Phone doesn’t support Dual CPU configurations so we aren’t missing much anyway. That’s why I’m thinking that we may have to wait until Windows Phone 8. Lees also added that LTE handsets are also planned:

“The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing,”

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Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait based SoC details unveiled

Those of you following closely the SoC market will be happy to learn that Qualcomm has finally unveiled technical details of its much anticipated SnapDragon S4 Krait based SoC yesterday in a relatively in-depth white paper that everyone can download. Krait based SoC are in track to hit the market in the first half of 2012 with the first MSM8960 dual 1.5Ghz core SoC later followed by the MSM8930, MSM8228 and MSM8974. I posted the full specifications back in July here but Qualcomm’s legal department laid the ban hammer on me and asked me to take down the full pdf. Anyway, here’s what you can expect from the first  28nm mobile SoC (using TSMC’s 28nm LP process) to hit the market which will also so be Windows 8 compliant thanks to it’s DirectX 9.3 support:

• Dual 1.5-1.7 GHz Krait/ L2 1MB
• 2x500MHz LPDDR2
• LTE FDD/TDD cat3(8960); DC-HSPA(8270) 21HSPA+(8260A) TD-SCDMA (8960, 8260A)
• 1080p HD Video@30fps; 3D 20Mpix
• Adreno 225 3D/2D 125M tri./sec (DX9.3)

The Krait CPU architecture is Qualcomm’s own variant of the AMR Cortex A8 but so heavily tweaked and changed that it can’t really be comparable to other competing Cortex A9 or future A15 CPUs. In terms of raw performances it’s will most probably be competitive with the A9 chipsets (if not better) but may lag a bit behind the upcoming higher clocked Cortex A15 SoCs which will come out in late 2012. Krait’s powers efficiency will probably help it in this case but this has yet to be seen. The big advantage that Qualcomm has is its time to market compared to all the new generation chipsets for its competitors which for the most part will all be using bigger processes (40nm or 35nm, only the the TI OMAP will be on 28nm). Because of this, we may have another QSD8250 situation next year where most of the Android handsets will be based on this chipset simply because it will be out at the right time (more than 6 months ahead of its most direct competition).

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Qualcomm simplifies Snapdragon branding

Qualcomm decided to simply it’s Snapdragon SoC naming convention today and make it easier for the average Joe to distinguish one SoC from another. Here’s how it will now look like:

- Snapdragon System 1 aka S1 Class: QSD8250 (65nm 1Ghz Scorpion CPU + Adreno 200 GPU) and the new MSM7227, MSM7627,MSM7225, MSM7625
- Snapdragon System 2 aka S2 Class: MSM7X30, MSM8X55, APQ8055 (45nm 800Mhz-1.4Ghz Scorpion CPU Adreno 205 GPU)
- Snapdragon System 3 aka S3 Class: APQ8060, MSM8260, MSM8660, QSD8672 (45nm up to 1.5GHE Dual-Core Scorpion CPU Adreno 220 GPU)
- Snapdragon System 4 aka S3 Class: All the upcoming Krait based SoC configurations MSM8228, MSM8930, MSM8960, MSM8974, APQ8064 ( 28nm up to 2.5Ghz Dual and Quad Scorpion CPU + Adreno 305, Adreno 320 GPU)

So nothing really ground breaking here and I personally prefer to refer to an Soc by its really name rather that something relatively vague like S3 Class.

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New Qualcomm 2011 / 2012 roadmap and SoC specifications: MSM8960, MSM8930, MSM8974 and Adreno 320

Remember the old Qualcomm 2011/2012 roadmap I posted about a couple of weeks ago? Well, here’s a new more up-to-date one that just appeared on the net. The internal PDF document is principally about the company’s LTE chipsets and technology but there’s also so new info about the upcoming Krait based 28nm dual-core SoCs that will start shipping in less that 6 months.

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