htc

Believe it or not the Windows Phone Update 3 (also known as GDR3) is being pushed out to the Sprint HTC 8XT.

We were skeptical at first but in checking Sprint's Support Site for the 8XT, the update is listed as clear as day. Update version 2.12.651.02 is described as containing streaming audio improvements, accessibility improvements and Microsoft's GDR3 release.

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Back in September, Evleaks revealed on Twitter that Nokia was working on a dual-SIM version of Lumia 720. So far, the device hasn't materialized in front of us yet. But according to latest rumors, it's still on the way: Nokia's dual-SIM isn't dead yet.

Citing an unnamed insider source, Chinese tech site WPDang reported that both Nokia and HTC are currently preparing several dual-SIM Windows Phones. Unlike on some Nokia feature phones where you are allowed to shove in two SIM cards, but only one will work at a time, SIM cards in these devices will work simultaneously.

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When it comes to Windows Phone, Nokia controls nearly 90% of the OEM marketshare. Samsung, HTC, and Huawei make up the remaining manufacturers producing Windows Phone devices. Microsoft just agreed to purchase Nokia for 7.2 billion dollars, so what incentive do other OEMs have to continue producing devices? It looks like HTC might get a pretty sweet one to continue producing high-quality handsets. Some might even run both Android and Windows Phone. Details below.

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One of the many legal battles involving smartphone manufacturers is Nokia suing HTC over several patent infringements. Nokia filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming HTC encroached on several patents with their Android based devices. 

Through the course of the litigation several of the claims were dropped leaving three patent claims to be ruled on. An Administrative Law Judge with the ITC has issued a preliminary ruling against HTC on two of the three remaining patent claims which very well could lead to a U.S. import ban against HTC.

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Just over two weeks ago, Microsoft announced plans to buy the hardware and services division of Nokia. It’s the part of the company that actually makes all the hardware you’ve come to appreciate over the years. The remainder of Nokia will focus on three core businesses: location services (Here platform), Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), and its advanced technologies division.

Nokia also keeps its patents portfolio, which Microsoft has licensed for 10 years. For others, they'll continue to need to pay royalties to use patents that Nokia owns and Nokia will continue to protect those patents. It’s happening right now in Germany. And according to one patent analyst, Nokia is closing in on one victory over a USB configuration patent against HTC.

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While it’s not uncommon to see new phones get price drops, especially through third party retailers like Amazon.com whose business is to undercut the carriers, it is a bit unusual to see a carrier lower the price too quickly. Such is the case with the HTC 8XT (review) and the Samsung ATIV S Neo.

The HTC 8XT, which was released on July 19th, initially sold for $99 on a two-year contract. Starting this past weekend, the price has dropped to free, though you still need to send in the $50 mail-in rebate. Likewise, the Samsung ATIV S Neo, which has only been available for 10 days (with a limited rollout), has also had a $100 haircut going from $149.99 to a more reasonable $49.99 (also after a mail-in rebate).

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HTC was working with US mobile operator Sprint to introduce a colour customisation tool for the HTC 8XT, according to The Verge's sources. The online personalisation service would enable consumers to add and change colours on the HTC Windows Phone, offering more options that help make the purchase that much more unique. HTC Design Studio, as it was known, was dropped due to cost and complexity.

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So far the Nokia Lumia 520 has been a sleeper hit. It’s the cheapest Windows Phone to date and it is constantly topping charts for in emerging markets. It seems we hear stories weekly on how the device is selling well in market after market. Here in the United States it’s available for AT&T as a GoPhone and T-Mobile sells a variant called the Lumia 521.

So how’s it going to fare against further attacks in the low-end smartphone market against competitors like Samsung and Apple?

Over at Forbes, Tero Kuittinen outlines a brinkmanship scenario where Nokia comes out on top. Don’t worry, I wasn’t familiar with the term either. Brinkmanship is the situation where you push dangerous events to the verge of disaster in the hopes that your opponents will have to make concessions and/or back down. In this case, Nokia is in a position to own the low-end smartphone market because companies like HTC, Blackberry, and Apple won’t be able to make appealing devices at low prices.

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HTC is in trouble. There’s little disagreement from industry experts on this as the firm is under fire from Samsung (with Android) and Nokia (with Windows Phone), squeezing the manufacturer from both sides.

In fact, a recent IDC report exposed how far HTC has fallen dropping from 8.2% of the Windows Phone market in 2012 to just 4.6% in 2013. That’s after the critically acclaimed HTC 8X and 8S were made available. Today, Samsung is now the number two vendor on Windows Phone with nearly 12% and one million shipments. You read that right.

In a vaguely worded article from DigiTimes this morning, it cites “industry sources” as noting that HTC is “drifting away” from Windows Phone, instead focusing on Android where they recently dropped out of the top five vendor ranking.

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What do we love here at Windows Phone Central? A handful of things like reviewing new apps, learning secrets about the future of Windows Phone, and saving you money. Earlier today we showed you guys the deal over at AT&T to snag you some wireless charging plates. Now you can grab two free phones from Verizon that take advantage of those plates.

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Sprint HTC 8XT Windows Phone review

Windows Phone Central's full review of the Sprint HTC 8XT, the first new Windows Phone 8 device exclusive to the US carrier

How does it go? "A long time ago, in a galaxy far away...."

Granted Sprint isn't a galaxy far away but it's been some time since we've seen a Windows Phone sitting in the wireless company's line-up.  When Sprint dropped the HTC Arrive, there were always rumors circulating on what would be the Sprint's next move.  Rumored dates kept on passing by and finally the HTC 8XT landed at Sprint as their first Windows Phone 8 device for 2013 (the Samsung ATIV S Neo is due to arrive in the coming weeks to keep it company).

There was joy in Mudville again with the release of the 8XT but would it satisfy the Sprint customers yearning for a new Windows Phone 8 experience?

The 8XT makes a solid first impression and it is very similar (like a long lost twin brother) to HTC's 8X. The HTC 8X is a quality Windows Phone as is, but HTC added a few more bells and whistles to the 8XT to give it a little more gusto (Data Sense, HTC's Camera App, Micro-SD slot, BoomSound, etc.). Is it enough to revive the Windows Phone market over at Sprint? You'll have to hit the break to see what we think...

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It didn't take long for the Sprint HTC 8XT to be on the market before we started seeing penny sales. Amazon.com may be the first and is offering the 8XT for only a penny for new Sprint accounts.  You've got the obligatory contract requirements but a penny isn't a bad deal at all.

Looking to upgrade? Then the 8XT will cost you $79.99 and to buy the HTC 8XT outright (without contractual strings) it'll cost you $429.99. There are separate pricing for those on Sprint's Family plan ($29.99-$79.99) and shipping is noted as "usually ships within 2-5 weeks".

Still... not a bad deal if you're in the market for a Sprint Windows Phone.

Source: Amazon.com; Thanks, Tyrone, for the tip!

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There's something very familiar about Sprint's new HTC 8XT Windows Phone. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The 8XT has the fit and feel of the HTC 8X and an appearance influenced by the HTC 8S. The colored front panel gives the Windows Phone a little pop to it's appearance and If you liked the HTC 8X, you'll like the 8XT just fine.

Sprint's re-entry into the Windows Phone market measures 5.2 x 2.6 x .39 inches and weighs in at 4.9 ounces. It shares the curved backing and soft, rubbery finish the 8X has and feels rather comfortable in the hand.

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One issue that has been bugging some users for a while now is the inability to delete temporary files on their Windows Phone 8 devices.  Nokia got around this by building in their Storage Check app and even Huawei is reportedly making an app to do the same.

Now, after reports of the GDR2 (and firmware) update rolling out for unbranded HTC 8X owners today, the ability to delete temporary files is evidently built right into the OS.

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