New phones come with the added perk of being safe from lawsuits

In the midst of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) efforts to kill its biggest rival -- Android phonemaker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) -- the plight of second-place Android phonemaker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) has increasingly been overlooked.  HTC recently missed earnings targets due to an inexplicable ban on imports, which lasted a month despite HTC removing the infringing feature (the "rubber-band" animation, which mimics a naturally occurring phenomena Apple has patented animation rights to).

The experience likely made HTC a bit wary of the good times that once rolled with partner Google Inc. (GOOG).  Hence, much like Samsung, this time around it appears much more serious when it comes to putting product on "the other" smartphone platform -- Windows Phone -- which is protected under Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) cross-licensing pact with Apple.

As anticipated, HTC unveiled two new Windows Phone 8 handsets today -- the Windows Phone 8X and 8S.  The phones serve as more colorful cousins to the HTC One X and One S, the company's flagship Android smartphones.

The 8X features a fully colored polycarbonate case.  It can be had in California Blue (pictured), Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow (don't ask us what those colors mean, precisely):
HTC Windows Phone 8X
The HTC Windows Phone 8X

The 8S has a more subtle colored accent that wraps the bottom edge of the phone and appears in the button area.  That phone is available with "Domino, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Gray" colors.  The Atlantic Blue is seen below:

HTC Windows Phone 8S
The HTC Windows Phone 8S

The coloring flourishes bear a not-so-subtle similarity to Nokia Oyj.'s (HEX:NOK1V) distinctive Lumia 900 colored body design.  Still, the shape of the body is classic HTC design and is similar to the Android analogues.

Likewise there are many similarities to be found on the hardware front.

The 8X features a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 Super LCD 2 display, Gorilla Glass 2 protective coating, a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB DRAM, 16GB internal NAND Flash, and a 1,800 mAh Li-ion battery.  On the connectivity side the phone has NFC, WiFi a/b/g/n, NFC, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, HSPA/WCDMA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz) (HPSA+), and LTE.  An 8 megapixel camera is onboard in the back, with flash, while the front packs a 2.1 megapixel camera for chatting.

The 8S features a smaller 4-inch screen with first generation Gorilla Glass.  It features a slower dual-core Snapdragon S4 (1 GHz), less DRAM (512 MB), and less internal storage (4 GB).  NFC and LTE are also not mentioned, so it's probably those features are dropped.  The camera is dropped to 5 megapixels, while the front camera is eliminated altogether.  Clearly the 8S is the "budget" model.

Both phones do add a couple nice differentiators, though -- a Beats Audio built-in amplifier to produce better sound quality out the headphones port, and an ImageChip processor, which features the same unique continuous-shooting that's depicted in the company's humorous "mountain goat" commercial:

The phones are expected to ship in the early November, but the pricing and precise carrier availability has not been revealed.  HTC would only say that the phones are expected to be available on 150 carriers worldwide (while declining to discuss specific U.S. carriers, for now).

Sources: HTC [Yahoo Press Release], Engadget [Pictures: 1], [2]

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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