There is a third smartphone system outside the dominant Android and iOS world and it's called the Windows Phone 8. Of course we know that already in the same way that we equate WP8 to Nokia's Lumia handsets.
But outside of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership, which produced sufficient excitement for the high-end Lumia 920, Taiwan's HTC has come up with its own Windows-powered gadget - the dual-core Windows Phone 8X that tech site CIO said will enter Australian shores starting December.
The handset will be in major telcos though there is no indication yet that service providers will subsidise it. The latest published tag price for HTC's 8X is $696 with choices of three colours, according to CIO.
With such hefty pricing, is it worth the trouble to grab an 8X? For one compelling reason, it is, according to NeoWin.net, pointing to the phone's hardware specs.
"There's seriously a lot to love about the hardware of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. The colourful, textured design is stunning to look at and beautiful to hold, while the inclusion of the 720p Super LCD 2 again reminds us that it's one of the best displays available," the NeoWin review said.
This same technology, in fact, beamed via a 1280 x 720 resolution on 4.3-inch screen is "is brighter and whiter than any equivalent AMOLED, meaning it's much easier to read text on the display, and it's actually possible to use it outside," the same review observed, taking a stab on the display technology popularised by Samsung's Galaxy smartphones.
The assertion is supported by BGR. "This panel is gorgeous," BGR's review said, adding that with "vivid colours and excellent contrast, HTC has once again shown that its liquid crystal displays can go toe-to-toe with AMOLED panels any day of the week."
And on the performance side, the 8X is simply outstanding, according to Computerworld.
"No delays in launching apps or changing screens, and no lags or slowdowns when listening to music or watching video," were experienced with the HTC 8X, the tech site's review said.
Computerworld attributed the phone's snappy functions to its 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor that HTC paired with 1GB of RAM, which would have made the device almost perfect save for two serious missteps - limited storage and lack of expansion memory slot.
The 8X promises to be a great media device aside from its major function as a communication tool but for a flagship smartphone by HTC, its 8GB and 16GB configurations are very limiting, reviewers lamented.
Such omissions would only highlight 8X's more serious shortcoming - the glaring absence of third-party apps support that could easily turn off buyers planning to try out and maybe make a jump altogether from the ecosystems controlled by Apple and Google.
Yet momentarily ignoring that hole, users can at least enjoy the superior features that came with the HTC WP8 handset. One of them is the 8X's 8MP camera, which according to NeoWin "is quite good," and comparable even with the PureView camera technology deployed on a rival WP8 phone, the Lumia 920.
Also, users looking for some amount of productivity on their phones would be greatly satisfied by Microsoft's productivity suite included on all WP8 gadgets. "Windows Phone offers the best Office experience ... (which) is simple and smart, stripping away the clutter of third-party iOS and Android solutions and retaining only widely used core function," BGR said.
But the reality remains that the 8X or all WP8 phones, for that matter, are hard to sell at moment, as they are attractive only for "early adopters," according to NeoWin.
BGR highly recommends the HTC 8X because "the hardware is outstanding and the operating system is unique and smooth," making it an awesome phone.
Yet it noted too that users getting the Windows Phone 8X will have to accept "unavoidable compromises ... (as) there is still no compelling argument for Windows Phone over one of the market leaders."