Windows Phone 8 is just on the horizon and manufacturers are starting to give us hints of what plans they have in store for the new Microsoft mobile operating system.
We already have a fairly meaty breakdown of the Windows Phone 8 software itself but what about the handsets in which it will come? Given that upgrades from current Windows Phone devices aren't going to be possible, just what sort of hardware do we have to look forward to?
Nokia has kept its WP8 plans fairly close to its chest. It came as something of a surprise to find out that the Lumia 900 would carry only Windows Phone 7.8, but invites have gone out for an event on the 5 September, which in all likelihood will be the first time we hear about anything from the big Finns.
We're expecting three handsets at Nokia World. A leaked T-Mobile code is pointing to something LTE based, so we might even see a 4G WP8 phone on Everything Everywhere's soon to be launch 4G network.
The second of the three is rumoured to be a device touting a 4.3-inch display. This was leaked alongside pictures of another two new Nokia handsets, all of which seem to be following the brightly coloured designs of previous phones.The hero phone, though, looks to be something known as the Nokia Phi. It's set to come with a qHD display, LTE, a dual-core processor and NFC. Soft keys and front-facing cameras all round.
ZTE looks like it's going to be a long way off unfortunately. So, those after a budget Windows Phone 8 handset might have to wait. ZTE is apparently not planning anything until 2013.
Samsung's support of Windows phone looks to have been waning but the Korean giant is back with plans to do something with Windows Phone 8.
Known as the Samsung Odyssey and Samsung Marco, there are at least two phones set to be running the latest version of Microsoft's mobile OS. The Odyssey in particular seems to be the phone to go for, with a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen and 8-megapixel rear camera. There will also be a 1.9-megapixel front-facer and choices of 16 or 32GB of storage. Inside will be a 1.5 GHz dual-core Krait processor.
The Marco takes a bit of a step down, losing the huge screen and with Samsung plumping for a 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA display. There is still the dual-core processor and choices of internal storage. It also loses the high-res camera, dropping to a 5-megapixel unit on the rear and 1.9 on the front.
It's still very possible that these aren't the exact names and specs that we'll see, but information dropped inadvertently during a court case between Samsung and Apple, which isn't the worst source we've ever come across.
Like Samsung, HTC has supported Windows Phone from the start and will continue to do so with Windows Phone 8. The Titan is one of our favourite WP7 devices, so fingers crossed for hardware of that standard in the future. Known as the HTC Zenith, HTC Accord and HTC Rio, there are three phones set to arrive before the end of the year, with the Zenith and Rio scheduled for October, as goes the talk.
The Zenith, which is going to be the flagship piece of kit, is set to feature a 4.7-inch, 720p, Super LCD 2 screen. Eight megapixels seems to be flavour of the month when it comes to Windows Phone cameras and the Zenith is no exception. There's also HSPA+ connectivity and the possibility of a quad-core Snapdragon CPU.
The HTC Accord is in the middle, with a 720p, 4.3-inch screen, dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM along with NFC support. The Rio is down the budget end of things, with a 4-inch WVGA display, HSPA and a 5-megapixel camera. No multi-core processor here though.
Details of Huawei's plans for Windows Phone 8 are very thin on the ground at present. We know that the Ascend model line is going to be pursued on the Microsoft mobile platform but that's about it.
The key to Huawei really, given its partnership with Microsoft over this, is that it can help make a big impact on Android's rulership of the budget phone market. That said, it might be the Ascend Windows Phone 8 phone that is the much more high-end device.
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