Could be....

There’s a curious thing happening in the smartphone space at this year’s CES. Two Windows Phone devices — the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900 — are the most hyped, talked-about phones at the show. Yeah, that’s right: Windows Phones.

This could be a good sign for Microsoft, whose critically acclaimed OS has had a hell of a time trying to make an impression with smartphone users.

“The past year has really been the whole push to build what clearly can be the strong third ecosystem in the smartphone market, with a very differentiated point of view,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Nokia keynote this week. Indeed, with the launch of these new Windows Phone handsets, the push has apparently paid off.

Headlines like “Why Windows Phone is Making Waves at CES” and “How Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone Won CES Before It Even Started” are key indicators of the excitement surrounding Windows Phone’s big leap into relevance in the smartphone market. Before the show even started, Nokia’s next-gen Lumia handset, in particular, was on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of anticipation and praise. And for good reason.

Until now, Windows Phones were behind the times, specs-wise. Several late 2011 models skimped on things like 4G and front-facing cameras, features we’ve come to expect in pretty much every smartphone that debuts. Enter the Titan II and Lumia 900. They’re 4G LTE phones on AT&T, and pack top-of-the-line features.