By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, Sept 19 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
With Apple boasting 2 million pre-orders of its latest
iPhone before it hits store shelves on Sept. 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,"
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.
Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said HTC and Nokia were
smart to distinguish the appearance of their devices from iPhone
with bright colors as it could make them stand out to customers
who want an iPhone alternative.
"The best thing about these device ranges is that neither
looks like an iPhone," said Gartenberg, who added that
competition between Nokia and HTC will also help to generate
some publicity around Windows Phone 8 software.
Taiwan's HTC was able to share more signs of success at its
device launch event in New York than did Nokia at its phone
launch here earlier this month.
While Nokia did not name any customers for its latest Lumia
phones, HTC said that together its two new phones would go on
sale at 150 operators in 50 countries around the world.
For example it said that either the X8 or the XS will go on
sale at three of the top four U.S. mobile operators - Verizon
Wireless , AT&T Inc and T-Mobile USA
Until now, HTC has been betting on its One series of phones,
but so far this year sales of those phones have failed to keep
pace with the Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy range.
Up to the second half of 2011, when it suffered a sharp
decline in its fortunes, HTC, a former contract smartphone
maker, had build a strong brand around the world with phones
based on Android software.
HTC saw its profit more than halve in the second quarter
from a year ago. It also warned of a revenue decline of as much
as 23 percent in the third quarter from the previous three
months due to macro softness and competition.
The smartphone maker is set to announce third-quarter
results on Oct 5.