As Microsoft gears up to officially launch its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms in late October, smartphone makers have been scheduling launch events to show off their new handsets running the latest incarnation of the smartphone OS.

We’ve already seen Samsung introduce its new Ativ S, and Nokia has followed up with the launch of its flagship Lumia 920 (complete with wireless charging and PureView optics) and Lumia 820 smartphones. Today, we welcome to new handsets to the Windows Phone 8 family: The HTC 8X and 8S.

It’s been over five months since HTC last launched a Windows Phone handset (the Titan II) but with Microsoft’s launch event inching ever closer, HTC has decided to share the 8X and 8S with the world.

Both devices utilise the same naming mechanism as the HTC One series of Android phones, with the X and the S denoting the class of the device. Similar to the One X, the 8X is HTC’s flagship Windows Phone 8 handset and like the One S the 8S is aimed at the mid-range level, bringing impressive specifications in a smaller package and at a lower price.

HTC 8X

WP 8X by HTC Graphite Black 3viewswtmk 520x346 HTC launches new 8X and 8S Windows Phone 8 handsets to take on Nokias updated Lumia range

The 8X features a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 LCD 2 display, offering a Retina display busting 341 pixels per inch (PPI) and added protection from the now industry standard Gorilla Glass.

Internally, you’re going to find a dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor, 1GB of RAM and 16 GB of in-built storage, a 1800 mAh battery and NFC support. There’s no MicroSD support, but with Microsoft pushing Skydrive pretty heavily you might be tempted to store more of your files in the cloud.

HTC continues to deliver impressive optics, embedding an 8-megapixel camera with its BSI sensor for better quality shots in low light. HTC includes the same ImageChip technology found in many of its Android smartphones, allowing for faster focus and sharper photos.

The camera supports 1080p video captures and also sports a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera for clearer shots and better quality video calling.

HTC has taken the rounded corners from its older product line-up and made them more polished, resulting in a very sleek and sexy handset design. It’s big enough to provide a nice media playback experience but you won’t be over-extending that thumb to reach all the parts of the screen.

The 8X is available in Graphite Black, California Blue and Limelight Yellow. It seems that if you are releasing a Windows Phone 8 handset this year, you need to have a yellow variant (see Nokia’s Lumia 920).

HTC 8S

WP 8S by HTC Atlantic Blue 3viewswtmk1 520x346 HTC launches new 8X and 8S Windows Phone 8 handsets to take on Nokias updated Lumia range

The 8S is smaller in comparison the the 8X but still packs a 4-inch 800 x 400 Super LCD display, it’s similar to its bigger and more powerful cousin, including a 1GHz dual-core S4 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory. Behind all of that is a 1700 mAh battery.

HTC’s 8S has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, supporting 720p HD video recording and a dedicated camera button for those that like something tangible to use when snapping photos of their friends and family.

The 8S is distinctive in the fact it has a small colored band at the bottom of the device which is matched on the earpiece and around the rear-facing camera. The device will be available in Atlantic Blue, Domino and High-rise Grey color variations.

Take a look at the video below to see how much work went into selecting the color variations and shape of both the 8S and 8X:

Competition

HTC’s 8 Series smartphones certainly have the features capable of competing with Nokia and Samsung’s Windows Phone devices. With Microsoft incorporating hundreds of new features in its new mobile OS, including a digital wallet, screenshot taking abilities (finally), lots of cloud integrate, configurable app tiles and a redesigned camera app — to name a few.

HTC says that the 8X and 8S will be available in early November, shortly after when we believe Microsoft will officially launch Windows Phone 8.

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