HTC hopes colors will help new Windows Phones 8S and 8X stand out

Colors are seeing a renaissance as phone vendors look for ways to stand out

HTC and Nokia are turning to brighter colors to help their Windows Phone 8-based devices stand out in the ultracompetitive smartphone sector.

On Wednesday, HTC launched the 8X, which will be available in red, yellow and blue, as well as the 8S, which, for example, comes in a two-tone grey and yellow. Because color is such an integral part of the Windows Phone experience, HTC has chosen to go with a number of different colors in a premium matte finish on these devices, it said.

HTC follows Nokia's lead, which recently announced the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. The two smartphones will be available in colors such as yellow and red. The Lumia 820 will also be available in orange and green.

"What we are seeing is a renaissance for color," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.

When attending the launch of the iPhone 5, Wood and his colleagues thought for a while that Apple was going to add more color options, as well.

"All of the invitations and the branding outside the venue used bright colors, and we were thinking: Wow, Apple is going to colorize the iPhone just like it did with the iPod," said Wood.

In the end, Apple did not introduce new colors with the updated iPhone. But Apple's continued conservativeness means there is an opportunity for others like Nokia and HTC to stand out.

The blue version of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T in the U.S. in January was a turning point because it did very well, according to Wood.

"Nokia and AT&T were surprised by the consumer interest in the color. It also helped in the retail environment. As phones start to look the same, color really helps them jump off the shelf," said Wood.

But products based on Windows Phone 8 aren't the only ones that are moving away from black and white. At the end of August, Samsung launched the Galaxy S III in four new colors, including red, although in a muted version.

When Samsung's flagship smartphone was launched earlier this year users could choose between blue and white. In addition to red, the company has now also added a black version to be on the safe side.

Earlier this year, Sony also launched a yellow version of the Xperia go.

Even though there seems to be a growing interest for color among consumers, it isn't a risk free move by Nokia, HTC and the others, according to Wood.

"If you pick the wrong color you can end up with a load of phones that you are stuck with in your warehouse," said Wood.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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