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OS Watch: Samsung Beats Nokia to Windows 8

Sarah Thomas

Samsung Corp. beat Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) BFF Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) to the punch by announcing the first Windows 8 smartphone, the Ativ S, this week. (See Microsoft Sets a Windows 8 Timeline.)

The South Korean handset maker, fresh off its courtroom loss to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), unveiled the Ativ (vita, which means life in Latin, backwards) at IFA in Berlin. The HSPA+ handset features a dual-core processor, 4.8-inch HD super-AMOLED display, support for Near-Field Communications (NFC) and, of course, is based on the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Samsung hasn't revealed when the phone will launch, on what carriers or how much it will cost. (See Jury: Apple Guilty, But Samsung Much Guiltier.)

Nokia is planning its big Windows 8 device unveiling at an event on Sept. 5. (See Euronews: Nokia Won't Waver on Windows.)

In other mobile OS news:

  • Huawei makes over Android: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has big plans for Android, including six new devices and a new user interface. The company talked up its Android transformation at IFA, noting that its Android skin, the Emotion UI, will be easier for consumers to use and features only one home page for icons. As for the six devices, Huawei plans to launch four smartphones and two tablets in October, all of which will feature Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. (See Huawei, ZTE Look to Handsets for Growth.)

  • Sony gets Android happy: Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is getting in on the Android action too, announcing three new Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphones and one tablet in Berlin this week. Sony says Jelly Bean updates are to come for all four. Sony has struggled to keep up in the mobile device market and has promised deeper convergence of its hardware, content and network services businesses after its spinoff from Sony Ericsson. The company tells Reuters that it has not seen much impact from Android-related patent problems like Samsung has, so at least it has that going for it. (See Sony Mobile Lays Off 15 Percent of Workforce and Sony Builds Up Its 'Sonyness'.)

  • Samsung threatens LTE retaliation: For most, however, the fallout from the Apple and Samsung trial is far from over. Samsung has fired the latest shot, promising The Korea Times that it would immediately sue if Apple releases any products using Long Term Evolution (LTE), which the next iPhone is largely expected to include. Samsung also said it plans to work more closely with the U.S. wireless operators to design devices that stay far away from the Apple look and feel. (See Will the iPhone 5 Be a North American Roamer?)

  • No more Fire at Amazon: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) says it's entirely sold out of its Kindle Fire tablets as the company is expected to launch the next generation of its Android tablet early next month. All of the top 10 best-selling items on its online storefront since the Kindle Fire launched last year are Kindle devices and content, the company said, adding that the Fire has captured 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. (See Rumor: Amazon Firing Up 7-Inch Tablet Market? )

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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