New rumors are pegging the launch of a revamped edition of the HTC One for late in August. Instead of coming in different colors or including an exclusive subscription service, this HTC One will be special in another way: It’ll run Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.
Engadget was the first to reveal information in this new round of rumors about the coming smartphone. Reportedly, if you like the HTC One M8 – the flagship that HTC introduced earlier last year – you’ll love the HTC One W8. That’s because nearly all the former device’s features are being transplanted to the latter.
In short, that means that HTC One W8 buyers can expect the same large 5-inch high-definition display, Snapdragon 801 processor, Ultrapixel rear-facing camera and 5 megapixel front-facing camera. Presumably, the device should retain all the high-end finishes that make the HTC One M8 one of the best available on any carrier today. Allegedly, the HTC One W8 will support voice over LTE technology too. Carriers are promising faster connection times and better voice quality when placing calls on a smartphone that supports VLTE.
The HTC One M8’s two front-facing cameras and BoomSound speakers will also come in this device as well. That’ll mark the first time Windows Phone users have been able to take advantage of HTC’s Ultrapixel camera technology. By using bigger pixels, HTC devices equipped with an Ultrapixel camera are able to produce photos that look just as sharp as devices with 13 megapixel cameras.
All of what’s being rumored about the HTC One W8 isn’t good though. First, HTC One W8 won’t actually be called the HTC One W8. Instead, the leaks indicate it’ll be called the HTC One M8 for Windows. That’s definitely going to confuse consumers, especially those who already had their eye on the original HTC One M8 from earlier this year. The second bit of bad news might be easier to swallow from anyone on the United States’ largest mobile carrier. According to WPCentral, the HTC One M8 for Windows will arrive on store shelves on August 21st. Unfortunately, it’ll initially be available on Verizon, possible for $199 with a two-year contract or $610 up front.
That the HTC One M8 for Windows Phone is only available on Verizon might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Verizon, which outnumbers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in terms of sheer subscriber numbers, is the only place where users can purchase a Lumia Icon. The Lumia Icon is Windows Phone’s flagship device and direct competitor to the iPhone. That device only being on Verizon certainly hasn’t helped attract users to Windows Phone on other carriers. T-Mobile seems to have finally stopped selling the Lumia 925 that debuted a year and two months ago. Sprint, announced two new Windows Phones last fall but both are decidedly mid-range headsets. AT&T has the high-end Lumia 1520, but it’s a gargantuan phone, and it’s hard to imagine that the same users considering purchasing an iPhone would consider the Lumia 1520 instead. All of this leaves Windows Phone without a flagship on three carriers. In the United States, its flagship devices that get all the attention.
To be clear, any advancement on the hardware front for Windows Phone is certainly a good thing. Choices for high-end Windows Phones have been few and far in-between on any carrier. The last time HTC launched a flagship Windows Phone was back in 2012, when it debuted the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. That device did modestly well, but wasn’t a match for the onslaught of Nokia-made high-end Windows Phones that also debuted that year.
Verizon Wireless still sells the Windows Phone 8x by HTC. With a two-year contract the device is $49.99. Buying it through the Verizon Edge program costs $19.99 a month on top of monthly service charges.