After yesterday's official look at Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft, we've received some details from a knowledgeable source on exactly what HTC — arguably the most important Windows Phone 8 licensee right now outside of Nokia — has planned to kick off the platform.
Starting at the bottom of the range, there's "Rio," featuring a 4-inch WVGA display, 14.4Mbps HSPA, and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture. There's only 512MB on board, but the processor isn't bad — expect a Qualcomm MSM8227, a member of the company's Snapdragon S4 Plus line. One step up from Rio is the "Accord," which swaps in a 4.3-inch 720p Super LCD 2, an 8-megapixel sensor with 1080p capture, 42Mbps HSPA+, NFC support, and 1GB of RAM atop a slightly beefier dual-core processor (tentatively an MSM8260A, though that may change).
Zenith is the one to watch, but Accord isn't far behind
Finally, the big guns: "Zenith" is expected to have a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD 2 with the same 8-megapixel sensor as the Accord, 42Mbps HSPA+, and an unnamed quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon (it looks like the Zenith and Accord may share a similar relationship to the One X and One S at retail). All three devices are slated to ship this year, with Rio and Accord coming in October and Zenith launching sometime in the fourth quarter. Clearly, those dates are very loose at this point and subject to slippage depending on a wide variety of factors, many of which are outside HTC's control — but if we were to get some truly terrific, competitive Windows Phone 8 hardware in 2012, that clearly wouldn't be a bad thing.