More good news for Windows Phone -- Samsung announces a slick, high-end Windows Phone 8 device

The good news for Windows Phone keeps coming: Samsung today announced a slick Windows 8 phone whose specs make it seem as if it can provide serious competition to iPhones and Android phones. With HTC and Nokia slated to announce Windows Phone 8 devices, and carriers lining up behind the operating system, the news is all good for Microsoft.

The new phone, called the ATIV S, sports some serious specs. It's got a big 4.8-inch 1280-by-720 Super AMOLED display, a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor, and has NFC integrated. There's a 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.9-megapixel unit on the front. Despite its serious specs, it's svelte at 8.7 millimeters thick.

This means that people who want the latest in high-end phones will have a Windows Phone 8 choice later this fall. They'll have lots of other choices as well, because Verizon will be selling a new Windows Phone device, as will AT&T and T-Mobile.

Adding to the push is the fact that Verizon and other carriers will likely try and get consumers to buy Window Phone 8 devices as a way to fight back against Apple. Carriers are not pleased with the high subsidies they pay for people to buy iPhones and the high royalties they have to pay to Apple for each iPhone user -- up to $600 for per user.

This fall will be the first time that Windows Phone has somewhat of a level playing field with iPhone and Android devices. Carriers have generally been cool to Windows Phone and have done a very poor job of highlighting the devices in their stores. And there simply haven't been that many Windows Phone devices from which to choose.

By the fall, all that will change. Then the real test comes: Will consumers  want Windows Phone 8 devices? If they simply don't like them, all the carrier and manufacturer push won't help.

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