HTC certainly spiced things up a bit in the Windows Phone ecosystem with the announcement this week of its two new handsets, complete with new 'simpler' naming: the flagship Windows Phone 8X and smaller Windows Phone 8S. HTC described these as the new signature devices for the platform, and it looks like there's plenty to love about them so far.
But while HTC provided plenty of info about its new devices - and even went further than Nokia did in its announcement of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Windows Phones, by revealing key information about availability of the 8X and 8S - the company stopped short of providing any details on how much the devices will cost when they launch in the next few weeks.
But a UK online retailer has spilt the beans by opening pre-orders for contract-free purchases of the new handsets. We spoke to Clove to confirm that their prices are the real deal, and the representative that we spoke to confirmed that the prices had "come from [our] distributors, which they got direct from HTC".
Clove Technology is offering three versions of the 8X - black, red and blue/purple - priced at £399.98 including tax (£333.32 excluding tax). But more significant is the pricing of the smaller 8S. Remember, this device has a less impressive 4" WVGA display than its bigger brother, and just 4GB of on-board storage, but it's still got a Snapdragon S4 processor, so it's no slouch.
Even so, the price of the 8S is almost 44% lower than the 8X. Red, black and blue options are offered for just £224.99 inc tax (£187.49 ex tax). Availability for both devices is cited as "early November".
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For readers outside of the UK, it's worth noting that UK pricing is disproportionately high compared with some markets, so doing a simple currency conversion won't necessarily reflect the pricing of these devices in your part of the world. To put this into some context, that price is very slightly higher (by around 4%) than the Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB.
But since you don't care, and you still want to know the converted prices... here you go. The converted prices are on the lower, tax-exclusive figure, as the UK's 20% value-added tax (VAT) obviously won't apply on international sales. The 8X at £333.32 GBP is around $540 USD / €416 EUR; the 8S at £187.49 GBP is $303 USD / €234 EUR. Remember, these are just conversions of UK prices; the actual price in your local market may differ.
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It will be fascinating to see in the weeks ahead how the new handsets are priced in other markets, and on contract plans; if HTC can position the 8S in particular at a low enough price on contract, it will find itself competing against many less capable Android devices towards the entry-level, which could make a big colourful handset with a slick and dynamic interface a much more appealing choice at that price point.
Update: After some claimed that these prices - which we've been told are official prices from HTC - were incorrect and out of date, French Windows Phone community site Professeur Thibault contacted HTC France to verify pricing information. The prices that HTC France confirmed were €499 ($646 / £399) for the 8X and €339 ($439 / £271) for the 8S, which aren't that far off the prices that most UK consumers will pay with VAT.
As ever, remember that there's no equivalence of pricing across/between currencies, and HTC will apply different price tags for different markets, so don't come crying to us if your HTC Windows Phone costs a bit more (or a bit less) in your neck of the woods.