After weeks of seeing leaked images and specifications of the device, we now have confirmation that HTC is releasing their flagship Android device, the HTC One M8 in a Windows Phone variant. The HTC One (M8) for Windows was announced on August 19 as a Verizon wireless exclusive.
Even though Samsung’s Ativ SE was similar to their Android devices, the HTC One for Windows is the first true “clone” of an Android device running Windows Phone. Recently, Microsoft made it possible for OEMs to build Windows Phone hardware on their Android device chassis by relaxing the guidelines and minimum specifications in their reference design. One of the key changes made were relaxing the requirement to have three physical buttons on the front (Back, Start, Search) and to have a physical button for the camera. With those restrictions lifted, and adding support for accessories like cases to interact with the phone, as well as widespread support for Bluetooth LE and the like, the road was cleared for OEMs to re-purpose their devices for Windows Phone with minimal changes. An additional key barrier removed was the license fee for Windows Phone which went to zero dollars.
The impact of these relaxed guidelines was the signing of a dozen-odd new OEMs, primarily in the Asia-Pacific and India regions. These current low-cost Android device makers would now be able to put Windows Phone on those low-cost Android devices. These device makers are of course playing in the high volume markets where a large population of feature phone users are moving to their first smartphone. It is therefore crucial for Microsoft to have a significant presence in the region or risk being completely cut out of the next big platform play.
Back to the HTC One for Windows, it comes with all the goodness we have seen in the Android variant like HTC BlinkFeed, HTC BoomSound, Duo Camera with UltraPixel technology, a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera and support for the HTC Dot View case. Additionally, the Windows Phone 8.1.1 OS adds Cortana, the personal digital assistant and a host of other features as I detailed in an earlier post.
Key specifications for HTC One (M8) for Windows
SIZE: 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
WEIGHT: 160 grams
DISPLAY: 5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p
CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801, 2.3GHz quad-core CPU
- Total storage: 32GB
- RAM: 2GB
- Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage
- 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
- Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
- Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
- DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer,
- micro-USB 2.0
- Microsoft Project My Screen
- Support consumer infrared remote control
- Primary camera: HTC UltraPixel™ camera, BSI sensor, pixel size 2.0 um, sensor size 1/3”, f/2.0, 28mm lens
HTC ImageChip 2
1080p Full HD video recording with HDR video
Secondary camera: capture depth information
- 5MP, f/2.0, BSI sensor, wide angle lens. with HDR capability, 1080p Full HD video recording
- Gallery with UFocus™, Dimension Plus™, Foregrounder
HTC’s previous stab at Windows Phone, the HTC 8X/8S, was a well-designed phone which got no love at all after being released. Let’s hope, for the sake of Windows Phone, that this iteration gets some marketing push as well as support in terms of future updates.
Are you going to get this device? Let me know in the comments.