Windows 8 Device Onslaught: Top Smartphones and Tablets Set To Take On Apple's iPhone 5 and iPad

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News Posted: Thu, Oct 11 2012 5:21 PM
Microsoft has high hopes for Windows 8, its next generation operating system that represents perhaps the biggest change to the Windows ecosystem since Windows 95. Intel would call this release a "tock"; Microsoft calls it the future of computing, one in which mobile and stationary products are unified with a touch-friendly front-end that's supposed to be easy to navigate and easy on the eyes with a modernized look and feel.

Alas, software is only half of the equation. It takes hardware to push a platform to its full potential, and there will be no shortage of Windows 8 devices when the OS drops in two weeks on October 26, 2012. Like a dam about to burst, the market is about to be flooded with phones and tablets sporting Microsoft's latest and purportedly greatest OS to date, all of them vying to take a chunk out of the mobile pie that's currently being hoarded by Apple and Android products. Some of them will inevitably flop, but we're more interested in the ones that will rise to the top. With that in mind, we rounded up a collection of the most promising devices that we think pose the biggest threat to Apple and Android. Let's have a look.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

HTC Windows Phone 8X
  • 4.3-inch Super LCD display with Gorilla Glass
  • 1280x720 resolution; 341ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus, LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • 2.1MP front-facing camera with 1080p video recording
  • Beats Audio
  • 4G LTE; 3G HSPA+
  • $200 with 2-year service contract

Nokia's is head over heels in love with Microsoft's Windows Phone platform these days, but it's HTC that had the business savvy to actually name its next generation smartphones after the Windows 8 platform. To the less knowledgeable shopper, this might seem to indicate that HTC's Windows Phone 8X and 8S devices are the only official Windows 8 phones, even though that's not the case. However, the 8X is certainly a well-rounded phone, and for those who plan on doing a lot of video chatting, it has the highest quality front-facing camera (2.1MP) of the bunch. It's also the only one touting Beats Audio, if you're into that.

Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

  • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display
  • 1280x768 resolution; 332ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 8.7MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus, dual-LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera with 720p video recording
  • 4G LTE; 3G HSPA+
  • Price yet to be determined

For whatever reason, Nokia can't seem to help shooting itself in the foot, and the Lumia 920 is yet another example of this. How so? For all the hype, Nokia decided to sign an exclusive agreement with AT&T to carry its flagship device. Bad move, Nokia. We're still including it here because this isn't AT&T's first rodeo with an exclusive, and also because it's packing an impressive feature list that might allow it to be a success despite Nokia's self-sabotaging business acumen. After all, the Carl Zeiss lens on the Lumia 920 is the real deal, and it has twice the amount of internal storage compared to HTC's flagship model. That could be a deciding factor, since neither device is equipped with a microSD card slot.

Samsung ATIV S

Samsung ATIV S

  • 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1280x720 resolution; 306ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus, LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • 1.9MP front-facing camera with 720p video recording
  • 4G LTE; 3G HSPA+
  • Price yet to be determined
The most intriguing entry in our opinion, and the one that probably poses the biggest threat to the iPhone 5 (Apple/iOS) and Galaxy S III (Samsung/Android) is Samsung's ATIV S. In what turned out to be a surprise, Samsung beat all other Windows Phone 8 contenders to the punch by announcing its WP8 device before anyone else, and there's a lot to like. The display on the ATIV S is slightly larger than the other two devices profiled above, it has a beautiful brushed aluminum finish on the back casing, and it has expandable storage via a microSD card slot. Having already risen to the top of the Android pile, Samsung doesn't have as much riding on WP8 as either Nokia or HTC, but that didn't stop Samsung from coming out swinging.


Asus Vivo Tab

Asus Vivo Tab

  • 11.6-inch Super IPS+ display
  • 1366x768; 10-point multi-touch
  • Intel Atom processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1024-level Wacom digitizer stylus
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • NFC support
  • $799 for Vivo Tab; $599 for Vivo Tab RT
Forget Microsoft Surface and think 'Surface clone,' of which there will be a bazillion once Windows 8 ships. But if there's one company that can leverage what Surface is all about, it's Asus. Let's not forget that Google contracted Asus to build its Nexus 7 tablet, which is widely considered the best 7-inch Android tablet on the market, and Asus has also hit homeruns with its Transformer tablet and Zenbook Ultrabook lines. We're expecting the same sort of success from its Windows 8 focus, which starts with the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

  • 13.3-inch IPS
  • 1600x900 resolution; 10-point multi-touch
  • Intel Core i5 and i7 processor options
  • Up to 8GB RAM
  • Up to 256GB SSD
  • 720p front-facing camera
  • USB 2.0; USB 3.0; HDMI
  • $1,099 for Yoga 13; $799 for Yoga 11
We love clever gadgets, and that's exactly what Lenovo delivers with its IdeaPad Yoga 13, the world's first multi-mode Ultrabook with a 360-degree flip design. There's really nothing else like it on the market, not quite like this anyway, and behind Lenovo's flexible design rests a powerful assortment of hardware. It's such a novel idea, we're curious to see how long it takes Apple to implement something similar in its MacBook Air line to call its own.

Acer Iconia W510


Acer Iconia W510
  • 10.1-inch display with Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1366x768 resolution; 10-point multi-touch
  • Intel Atom Z2760 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB SSD
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus, LED flash, and 1080p video recording
  • 2MP front-facing camera with 1080p video recording
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • $499
Acer's billing its Iconia W510 tablet PC as a "triple threat convertible," as it can be used as a full-fledged notebook, a conventional tablet, or as a presentation device when rotating the dock to function as a stand. Speaking of which, the stand holds a second battery, effectively doubling the device's battery life up to 18 hours. It probably won't kill the iPad, but for someone looking for a do-everything device, the Iconia W510 could end up an intriguing option.

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface

  • 10.6-inch display; 10-point multi-touch
  • 1920x1080; 208ppi
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 64GB or 128GB SSD
  • Price yet to be determined
Last but certainly not least is Microsoft's Surface tablet. Microsoft still hasn't announced a full list of specs or pricing information, and realistically, we don't think one of the Surface clones is more likely to give the iPad a run for its money (Surface could ultimately end up being a one-and-done run for Microsoft, intended to kickstart its hardware partners). But we can't deny its impact. If Surface is even semi-successful, you can bet Microsoft's partners will pursue the form factor even more aggressively than they already are.

Are there any Windows 8 devices you're excited about? If so, be sure to tell us in the comments section below!
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RiCoFrost replied on Sun, Oct 14 2012 7:19 PM

I really cant wait for them :)

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