Sprint to launch HTC 8XT and Samsung Ativ S Neo Windows Phones this summer

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said it will launch LTE smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 this summer, the HTC 8XT and Samsung Electronics' Ativ S Neo, but Sprint did not say when exactly it will do so.

HTC 8XT, Samsung Ativ S Neo, sprint

Sprint plans to launch the HTC 8XT, left, and the Samsung Ativ S Neo.

Sprint has been a laggard in supporting Windows Phone compared to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), and the announcement of specific devices has been a long time in coming. Sprint first announced in January it would launch HTC and Samsung Windows Phone devices this summer.

HTC 8XT will be available for $99.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate, and the Ativ S Neo will sell for $149.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate. Left off the list for now is Windows Phone's biggest supporter, Nokia (NYSE:NOK). Sprint has said it selected partners that have strong CDMA and Sprint roots for its first Windows Phone devices.

The 8XT sports a 4.3-inch display, 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 8 GB  memory, microSD memory card slot with support for up to 64GB memory cards, and 1,800 mAh battery. The gadget also will use HTC's "BoomSound" audio technology and will have dual front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier as well as support for Beats Audi. Further, the HTC device will have a 8-megapixel main camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a front-facing 1.6-megapixel camera, and the main camera will support multishot burst mode to help capture the best picture of a moving photo subject.

The Ativ S Neo will offer a 4.8-inch high-definition display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, microSD memory card slot, international roaming and 2,000mAh removable battery. The device will also have an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash and a front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera, and will be able to share photos, music and video via NFC.

For Microsoft, getting stronger support from the nation's No. 3 carrier will potentially boost Windows Phone's U.S. market share, which is still weak compared to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Microsoft and Nokia have been pushing for stronger marketing coordination with Verizon and T-Mobile.

For more:
- see this release
- see this The Verge article

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Sprint, Nokia ignoring each other on Windows Phone - for now
Sprint to launch HTC, Samsung Windows Phones by the summer

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