Fresh off a legal setback to its Android (s goog) devices, Samsung is now turning its attention to Windows Phone, debuting the world’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the Ativ S. The South Korean conglomerate showed off the new device at the IFA show in Berlin, stealing some thunder from Nokia (s nok), which was expected to unveil a Windows Phone 8 (s msft) phone next week in New York.
The Ativ S is similar to Samsung’s flagship Android device — the Galaxy S III — and shows that the phone maker is taking Windows Phone seriously. It sports a 4.8-inch, 1280×720 Super AMOLED display, a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera with auto-focus and an LED flash and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. Users will also get HSPA?42 connectivity, a MicroSD-card slot, NFC, 1 GB of RAM and storage options of 16 and 32 GB and a 2,300mAh battery.
Windows Phone 8 will be big moment for Microsoft as it tries to get back into the smartphone race. Its Windows Phone operating system has been on the market for almost two years and has gotten a boost from Nokia, with its Lumia devices. But sales have still been lackluster. Now, with a jump up to Windows Phone 8, the smartphone platform will share a common core of code with Windows 8 on desktops and laptops. That will make it easier for developers to create one app for both platforms.
The first version of the Ativ S appears to be a European model. It’s unclear when the device will be ready for U.S. carriers.
With Samsung still smarting from its $1 billion patent loss to Apple, pushing ahead on Windows Phone 8 is not a bad idea. Microsoft will still need to bring its A-game selling Windows Phone 8 to the masses who generally consider iOS (s aapl) and Android their only choices. But if Samsung can get behind Windows Phone 8 along with continued support from Nokia and more backing from Verizon, the platform may finally get some needed attention from consumers.
Samsung’s Yoon Lee, VP of Global Product Innovation Team with Samsung Electronics America will be speaking at GigaOM’s Mobilize Conference on Sept. 20-21.