Samsung unveils Ativ S, world’s first Windows Phone 8 device

If you’ve been wondering what the first dual-core Windows Phone would look like, this is it. Today, the Korean electronics giant took the wraps off the Samsung Ativ S, the world’s first smartphone running Windows Phone 8.

The Ativ S (Ativ is “Vita” spelled backward) features a slim design, a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. There’s also compatibility for HSPA+42.

In addition, the Ativ S packs in a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash, and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.

Taking full advantage of new software capabilities announced for Windows Phone 8 in June, there’s a microSD card and support for NFC (think file-sharing and, soon, payment).

Samsung has also added a very large 2,300mAh battery that should promise longer life, and 1GB of RAM. It’ll come in 16GB and 32GB storage versions, and will feature a host of Samsung apps, like the Music Hub and the Media Hub for the U.S. market.

Taking Nokia head-on
The Ativ S will go head-to-head with Nokia’s first Windows 8 phone, which the phonemaker is slated to announce at an event next week.

Nokia lately upped its rivalry with Samsung over consumers’ Windows Phone affections, with Nokia warning Samsung to “take note” of the next Lumia release.

Nokia’s kept mum on what the next Lumia will look like, but come September 5, I suspect it will look similar to the current version, and act a lot like the Ativ S on the inside — Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, an HD AMOLED display, NFC, and a microSD card slot.

There are a few major differences: the design, the extra apps, the camera, LTE, and the price. Nokia will need to improve its 8-megapixel lens to compete, and could come out with a version of the PureView camera used on the Nokia 808 PureView, with its 41-megapixel sensor.

The Ativ S supports HSPA+, whereas the next Lumia should support 4G LTE speeds. HSPA+ connectivity will limit the Ativ in the U.S. to T-Mobile, unless Samsung also releases a model compatible with LTE. The latter is probable, and a common adjustment for handsets with a global reach.

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