Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is finally joining its competitors and will offer later in 2013, Windows Phone 8 devices from HTC Corp (TPE:2498) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94).

Sprint Logo

The announcement came late on Monday with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Fared Adib, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) senior vice president, product development and operations said in a statement about the smartphones, “Sprint has had a strong relationship with Microsoft for many years so we are excited to reinforce our commitment to the Windows Phone 8 platform by sharing the details and timing for our first Windows Phone 8 smartphones. These smartphones combine a robust new operating platform with the benefit of Sprint’s unlimited data plans. There is no doubt these phones will quickly become an extension of your PC experience right in the palm of your hand.”

So why go to Windows 8 now?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has likely been trying to get Sprint to switch to its new platform for quite some time and one pitch has probably been the benefits that would be found by Sprint’s enterprise customers. After taking its time to review the Windows 8 phone scene, maybe it was a matter of timing to take the plunge with Microsoft.

There’s also the possibility that Sprint wanted more cash to make the commitment and can now do so thanks to the $20 billion cash investment from Softbank Corp (PINK:SFTBF). Regardless, Sprint’s customers should be happy with the expanded smartphone choices.

For the company, it hasn’t a offered a Windows phone since 2010 with its HTC EVO Pro and it has been viewed as coming late to the party on a number of fronts. Sprint’s competitors, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), have already introduced Windows Phone 8 devices earlier in the year through HTC Corp (TPE:2498) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V).

Currently the HTC and Nokia Windows Phone 8 offerings such as the 8X, 8S, Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 are performing well. Sprint has not disclosed which devices will be added their lineup but has just said the hardware will come from HTC and Samsung, reported Information Week.

But since Verizon Communication Inc. (NYSE:VZ) sells the HTC 8X and will soon add the Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) ATIV Odyssey to its offerings, there’s an assumption this may be included in the lineup.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) did not include a lot of details about the new phones but did say they will have dual cameras to allow video chat, dual-core processors for greater internal speed between applications, and support for expandable external memory, reported CNET. They may launch in the summer and the two smartphones will be eligible under Sprint’s Everything Data plan with Any Mobile.

This has a starting fee of $79.99 per month.

On Tuesday, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is down 2.35%, trading at $5.82.