NEW YORK – The Christmas selling season will be a season of firsts in the smartphone market, pointing to what analysts expect to be record smartphone sellthrough.
Unlike last year’s selling season, retailers will for the first time offer Windows Phone 8 smartphones that compete with Android phones and Apple’s iPhone, tablet/smartphone hybrids, fast quad-core phones, the first quad-core LTE phones, a more aggressive selection of LG smartphones and the first digital camera with embedded cellular.
Android 4.1-based smartphones will also put in their first appearance during the quarter.
The fourth-quarter lineup includes AT&T’s HTC OneX+, an LTE model whose quad-core 1.7GHz CPU is the fastest announced to date for a smartphone in the U.S.
The products will go head-to-head with Apple’s first LTE-equipped iPhone, which became available Sept. 21.
New smartphones include quad-core LTE phones from HTC and LG for the AT&T network; Windows Phone 8 smartphones from HTC and Nokia for AT&T and T-Mobile, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II tablet/ smartphone for T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint.
The Android 4.1 devices are the HTC OneX+, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which features embedded 4G HSPA+ technology for the AT&T network.
Some models will be exclusive to a carrier, such as the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows 8 phone for AT&T, the Nokia Lumia 810 Windows 8 phone for T-Mobile and Sony’s Experia TL Android 4.0 phone for AT&T.
Models that multiple carriers will carry include the Galaxy Note II, which will be available from T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. The LG Optimus G will be available for the Sprint and AT&T networks. And the HTC Windows Phone 8X will be available for the T-Mobile and AT&T networks.
Pricing and specific availability dates hadn’t been announced at press time.
Here’s what AT&T announced by press time. (See story on p. 40 for Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon plans.)
AT&T will have about 10 new smartphones, all with 4G LTE, and the HSPA+ Galaxy Camera will hit store shelves in coming weeks. The products include two Windows Phone 8 smartphones from Nokia, one Windows Phone 8 smartphone from HTC, two HTC Android phones, an LG Android phone, a Sony Android phone and three Samsung Android phones, one of which is the Note II Tablet/smartphone hybrid.
Two of the phones — the Android 4.1 OneX+ from HTC and the Android 4.0 LG Optimus G — are among the first LTE smartphones with quadcore CPUs. The HTC model features 1.7GHz CPU, and the LG phone features 1.5GHz CPU.
AT&T’s new Nokia models, the Lumia 920 and 820, are Windows Phone 8 devices available in November, with the step-up 920 available exclusively through AT&T.
The step-up Lumia 920 features a 4.5-inch 5-inch Nokia PureMotion HD+ WXGA IPS LCD screen. The 920 runs Window Phone 8 on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and features a 2,000 mAh battery with integrated inductive wireless charging capability using the Qi wireless charging standard. It ships with 1GB RAM and 32GB of storage memory and adds 7GB of free Cloud storage to Nokia’s Sky- Drive Cloud service.
The 920’s main rear-facing 8.7-megapixel camera uses the latest Nokia PureView imaging technology.
The Lumia 820 features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack WVGA 800 by 480 OLED screen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. Storage memory is 8GB with the included MicroSD card and 7GB of free SkyDrive storage.
The 820 has the same unibody look and feel as the Lumia 920, but it adds an optional exchangeable shell design in seven color options. The 1,650 mAh battery does not incorporate integrated Qi wireless charging, but the exchangeable shells add that capability.
To its LG portfolio, AT&T will add the LG Optimus G Android 4.0 phone with quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 4.7-inch 15:9 WXGA True HD IPSPlus display with 1,280 by 768 pixels, 32GB of memory, 2GB RAM, nearfield communications (NFC), Mobile High-definition Link (MHL) output, Wi-Fi and DLNA certification.
The Optimus G also features cross-tasking, also called Q Slide, to display two applications simultaneously.
From HTC, AT&T will add the HTC One X+ and HTC One VX. The HTC One X+ will be one of the first AT&T smartphones to combine Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and a quad-core processor.