LAS VEGAS--Announced earlier this fall at the Windows Phone 8 launch, the Samsung Ativ Odyssey is an important phone for two major reasons. First, it's Samsung's first Windows Phone launch in the U.S. Second, the presence of the Ativ Odyssey solidifies Verizon as a Windows Phone carrier.

The Ativ Odyssey itself is middle-of-the-road. It looks like a smaller, cookie-cutter version of the Galaxy S3, very similar to the Galaxy S3 Mini due to its size -- down to the rounded shoulder, the high-gloss surfaces, and the attractive brushed finish. There are slight differences in the details, of course, but there's no question that the Odyssey is a Samsung smartphone at this particular moment in time.

I mentioned it's smaller and it is, compared to the massive smartphones out right now. It has a perfectly acceptable 4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a WVGA resolution (800x480 pixels.) Powering this Windows Phone is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor; for photography, there's a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash. I do love the compulsory Windows Phone camera button on the right spine. The phone also supports 1080p HD video capture and includes a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.

Since this is Verizon, 4G LTE is a given. Since it's also Samsung, a microSD card slot supports up to 64GB off-board memory. Onboard storage is slighter at 8GB, and there's 1GB RAM. Pop off the back cover and you'll find a 2,100mAh battery.

It's a global-ready phone, which means you can take it overseas to use.

Though we did hear about the phone before, CES will be the first time we'll be able to see the Ativ Odyssey.

Samsung Ativ Odyssey
The Samsung Ativ Odyssey looks like a Galaxy S3, but smaller and rocking Windows Phone. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Originally, Microsoft told us that the handset would launch in December, and since then, all three parties -- Samsung, Verizon, and Microsoft -- have kept mum on details. However, we have it on good authority -- Samsung's to be specific -- that the Ativ Odyssey will launch "soon."