Two of the features included in the latest smartphones from HTC, like the HTC One M8, could be heading for Verizon’s network wrapped up in a new body and running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.
According to Evleaks, a well-known leaker of smartphone and tablet release information who has been extremely accurate in the past, HTC is planning to renter the Windows Phone hardware space later this year with the HTC W8. The report doesn’t provide a lot of details about the device’s form factor nor does it include a picture. As such, we don’t know what the device will look like compared to other Windows Phone devices or compared to the recently launched HTC One M8.
That being said, the report does share a few details about the functionality that will be included in the device. Having somewhat failed to convince users that its cameras with lower megapixels and upgraded ensors were capable of taking great shots, this year HTC decided that adding a second rear-facing camera for 3D effects and more would boost its fortunes. The company first showed off the feature when it unveiled the HTC One M8. According to today’s report, The HTC W8 will include that second rear-facing camera, bringing this technology to Windows Phone for the very first time.
Last year HTC introduced BoomSound. Most smartphones have their speakers on the back since the overwhelming majority of the front of their screen is taken up by their touchscreen display. BoomSound is the branding that HTC uses to describe the enhanced speakers that it places on the front of its flagship smartphones. While its description may give off the air that it’s just branding without a purpose, nothing could be further from the truth. BoomSound speakers in the HTC One M7 and HTC One M8 can easily fill an entire room with sound.
The HTC W8 will reportedly, include BoomSound speakers as well. Unlike the dual rear-facing cameras, this feature has made it to Windows Phone before. It was included in the HTC 8XT, a refreshed and slightly altered version of the flagship Windows Phone that HTC introduced on stage with Microsoft back in 2012. Traditionally, HTC smartphones with BoomSound speakers have been slightly long, but that shouldn’t be an issue with the HTC W8 since Microsoft now allows hardware makers to include software buttons on their devices.
The device Evleaks references in his message, the HTC A9, hasn’t made it to stores yet, but multiple reports have pegged it as a mid-range smartphone with the processor and display of a much more expensive device. It’s the publication’s assertion that the HTC W8 will be heavily based on the HTC A9.
It isn’t all that surprising that HTC is making another Windows Phone, the launch of the HTC 8X in 2012 was the last time the company did anything meaningful with its Windows Phone portfolio. Since then it’s just sat idle while Nokia Devices & Services, which is now owned by Microsoft, slowly conquered the Windows Phone landscape. That’s unfortunate since HTC devices used to dominate Windows Phone until around late 2011. Since then the company has also seen its share of the Android market fall sharply.
If this report is accurate than HTC could be planning to throw everything it has at one Windows Phone 8.1 device including all the features that make its Android-based smartphones unique. For a company that has gotten by with releasing Windows Phones with competitive hardware and no other surprises or features, that’s a big change.
Today’s report only indicates that HTC has plans to release the HTC W8 on Verizon sometime in the 3rd Quarter of this year. We don’t yet have an expected delivery date or pricing. That being said, if the HTC W8 is based on the HTC A9, than users can expect the device to be mid-ranger, possibly $99 with a two-year contract.