Updated. AT&T will begin selling three different LTE-capable Windows Phone 8 handsets on Nov. 9 in a price range for most every budget. A pair of Nokia smartphones and one from HTC make up the initial batch of new phones running on Microsoft’s latest mobile software. Customers can pre-order either the Lumia 920 with 32 GB of storage for $99.99 with contract or the 8 GB Lumia 820 for $49.99 with contract starting tomorrow; the HTC Windows Phone 8X will cost $99.99 (8 GB) or $199.99 (16 GB) with contract and be available prior to Thanksgiving.
The Lumia prices are particularly notable as the phones were expected by many to be priced at least $50 higher. Nokia’s Lumia 920 is an AT&T exclusive and what I’d consider to be the flagship phone in the Microsoft – Nokia partnership. Based solely on the specifications, software additions and device capabilities, the handset is a good deal at this price; provided you’re looking for a Microsoft Windows Phone.
Making the deal even better is a limited time offer from AT&T. The carrier will include a wireless charging plate for the 920. For $50 less, some may opt for the lower-end but still capable Nokia Lumia 820, but I expect many more 920 sales over the less expensive model.
Two versions of the HTC Windows Phone 8X also hit AT&T retail stores soon; customers can opt for either an 8 or 16 GB model. The one with less internal storage arrives in California Blue or Limelight (yellow), while the more expensive version comes in blue only. HTC’s 8X provides a 4.3-inch 720p display; wide f/2.0 aperture rear lens with 8 megapixel sensor; 2.1 megapixel wide-angle front camera and integrated Beats Audio.
The strong lineup of phones is worth watching to see how a few things shake out. How well will the Lumias sell — particularly the 920 — is a key question toward understanding Windows Phone 8 adoption in the U.S. I’m also interested in the HTC phones as the company has been struggling of late due to competition from both Samsung and Apple.
Update: Since I often get requests for no contract prices on handsets, I reached out to AT&T and have the following information. Full, no-commitment prices on these phones are: Lumia 920 = $499.99; Lumia 820 =$399.99; HTC Windows Phone 8X (8 GB) = $449.99; HTC Windows Phone 8X (16 GB) = $549.99.