HTC is bringing the Windows Phone mobile operating system to its flagship One M8 device. The move marks the first time any mainstream flagship smartphone has been offered with a choice of operating systems.
The HTC One M8 has found some success with Android users. But will consumers give the Windows Phone version a chance? Let’s take a look at the specs.
On the outside, of course, you can’t tell the difference between the Android and Windows Phone version. The Windows Phone device has the same exact all-metal unibody design with a curved back that aims to match the contours of your hand. It also sports HTC’s proprietary software innovations, like BlinkFeed, BoomSound, and Duo Camera with UltraPixel, Video Highlights.
The Dot View Difference
We turned to Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, who was holding an HTC One M8 Windows Phone-powered device in his hand. He told us the Windows Phone mobile operating system works well on the HTC One M8.
For starters, Cortana, Windows Phone’s personal digital assistant, makes its HTC debut on the One M8. As seen in the television commercials that picks on Apple's digital assistant, Siri, Cortana can help search for restaurants and set calendar appointments. Cortana also warns you when it’s time to leave for your next appointment or remind you to pick up your dry cleaning on the way home.
“They extended Cortana to this phone so that the Cortana personal assistant will work even with the Dot View case closed. They also created an API for accessories so that you can use the Dot View case with it,” Greengart said. “That API is available for other Windows Phone manufacturers as well.”
With the Windows Phone 8.1 update, the HTC device offers an Action Center that makes possible one-swipe access to recent notifications and messages as well as an Apps Corner that sandboxes apps and folders in a protected area of the phone. Small business owners can use their HTC One M8s as point-of-sale devices and enterprise users can separate personal from corporate information.
Competing With Android
Nevertheless, Windows Phone devices are hardly making a dent in the market. Most consumers still buy Android and Apple phones. Will the HTC One M8 with Windows Phone start to change that trend? Greengart doesn’t think so, but he said if you are looking for a Windows Phone-based device because you are using Microsoft OneDrive or Xbox Live -- or you just like the user interface -- the HTC One M8 is an attractive device.
“The emphasis is on the word attractive. The hardware is gorgeous. It has a very fast processor, there’s a 1080p display, great speakers, and some interesting camera options,” Greengart said. “If you are looking for an Android phone this will not necessarily change your mind but if you are looking for a Windows Phone this brings the best Android hardware to that ecosystem.”
The HTC One M8 for Windows is available now exclusively through Verizon Wireless online for $99.99 with a new two-year contract or $29.99 per month on Verizon Edge. Microsoft Stores will sell the device with Verizon Wireless service and a special offer for a free HTC Dot View Case and screen protector for $25.