– Windows Phones surprise the critics

AS THIS week’s Con- sumer Electronics show in Las Vegas approached, there was plenty of advance hype about new thin and light Ultrabooks–laptops similar to the MacBook Air.

And they impressed. But they had been chewed over for weeks before the show.

The surprises of the show were Samsung and LG OLED TVs and Windows Phones by Nokia and HTC.

During a chat recently, a reader asked if there would ever be a good Microsoft Windows Phone. I snidely answered, “No” and moved on. I forgot Mike’s Law: Snark equals stupid–at least when it comes to me.

Windows Phones had always been basic and boring and were being killed by iPhones and Android models. now comes the introduction of Windows Phones that first-blush, quickie reviews from the show floor consistently say are not only good, but great. Huh?

The Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II just may have created the biggest buzz at CES. both are the first Windows 4G LTE phones on AT&T’s network. The Windows operating system has always been easy to use, but the hardware had been minimalistic. now top-of-the-line features are being added, like the Titan II’s 16 megapixel camera, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, humongous 4.7-inch screen (too big for those with small hands), 720p HD recording and blazing fast, thanks to its 1.5GHz Snapdragon 2 processor. The Nokia Lumia 900, which is also very fast, won CNET Best in show in the smartphone category. it has a good-sized 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, and a Carl Zeiss F2.2 aperture lens and a front-facing camera for video chat.

The iPhone’s screen, by comparison, is just 3.5 inches. Whenever the iPhone 5 comes out, the size of the screen is expected to increase.

I’m eager for the opportunity to spend a week with these two Windows Phones for in-depth reviews. no U.S. launch dates have been announced, but both are expected to hit stores this year. – Windows Phones surprise the critics

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