Like the look of Samsung’s Galaxy phones but would rather not use Android? The Samsung Ativ SE might be your best bet. The handset strongly resembles the Galaxy S4 and runs Microsoft Windows Phone 8. It ships on April 12 and now be pre-ordered directly on Verizon’s site. The carrier is also running a special: Buy one Ativ SE and get another one, or a different phone, for free.
Samsung’s Ativ SE has a 5-inch, 1080p display, 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB of memory, so it should fare well compared to other flagship Windows Phones. There’s only 16 GB of internal storage, although a microSD expansion slot allows for up to 64 GB of additional capacity. Samsung used a 13 megapixel autofocus rear camera and 2 megapixel front sensor for imaging.
Although Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 this week, the software won’t arrive as a software update for currently available phones for a few months yet; that’s why the phone is shipping with Windows Phone 8. It will be up to Samsung and Verizon to release Windows Phone 8.1 for the Ativ SE.
Samsung may not have the best history of providing software updates quickly, but I think this time will be different. The company is investing time and effort in Windows Phone with this handset, even when its Android business is the primary growth engine. Why bother creating a Windows Phone for the biggest U.S. network if you’re not going to actively support it?
Samsung’s Windows Phone efforts for the past few years have been meager at best, but Microsoft’s platform is showing improvements and signs of growth; it’s a smart move for Samsung to hedge its Android bet.