Windows Phones hit the market; can Microsoft become a major smartphone player?

November 9, 2012

Phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 make their retail debuts Friday, with AT&T and Verizon offering models running the new system to their users.

On Verizon, the phones of the day are the Windows Phone 8X by HTC and the Nokia Lumia 822, which are both up for pre-order on the company’s site. Both will be available “by Thanksgiving.” The HTC model, which is a higher-end device, will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract.

The mid-market Nokia 822 will be $99.99 on contract after a $50 mail-in rebate and is a carrier exclusive. Both phones are LTE-enabled.

Meanwhile, AT&T began selling its devices Friday, putting the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820 and a model of the Windows Phone 8X in blue and an exclusive yellow color. The 920 will be available for $99.99 on contract, while the 820 will cost $49.99 on contract. For $199.99, AT&T customers can pick up either a blue, 16 GB or a yellow, 8 GB version of the 8X.

T-Mobile is also offering Windows Phone 8 smartphones for the first time Friday, with the launch of another Nokia phone, the Lumia 810 as well as the 8X. Those phones will be available on Nov. 14, starting at $99.99 and $149.99, respectively.

Microsoft is making a big push with Windows Phone 8, as it tries to take on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms, which dominate the smartphone market. The company saw limited success with its last mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, but is hoping that a more flexible redesign and promotion campaign will boost its numbers.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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