HTC unveils Windows version of flagship One phone

HTC Corp.’s new M8 for Windows phone went on sale at noon Tuesday through Verizon.
HTC Corp. via AP
HTC Corp.’s new M8 for Windows phone went on sale at noon Tuesday through Verizon.

NEW YORK — HTC Corp. has launched a version of its flagship HTC One phone with Microsoft’s Windows software inside.

HTC said it developed the new model at the request of Microsoft, which has been trying to boost its Windows Phone system. The company will continue to make an Android version of the One, as well as other Android phones.

‘‘By no means does this indicate we’re moving away from Android,’’ HTC spokesman Jeff Gordon said.


HTC was the first company to release a phone using Google’s Android operating system back in 2008, but it now lags behind Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and other makers of Android phones despite critical acclaim for the HTC One.

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HTC was also the first to release a Windows phone, in 2002, but it hasn’t had a new one since 2012.

Gordon said HTC has been waiting until it had something strong enough to compete with Lumia phones from Nokia, a business Microsoft now owns. A midrange device, he said, ‘‘would completely be overshadowed by the competition.’’

HTC also benefits from Microsoft’s decision this year to give away its Windows Phone software, as Google does with Android. The strategy reduces costs for phone manufacturers.

Yet the move comes as sales of Microsoft’s phones are declining. In the second quarter, industry tracker IDC said, 7.4 million Microsoft phones were shipped worldwide, for a 2.5 percent share, compared with 8.2 million and 3.4 percent a year earlier. Android’s share increased to 85 percent. IDC said HTC had a worldwide market share of less than 2 percent, the bulk for Android devices.


The Android version of HTC One is called M8, while the new Windows version is called M8 for Windows. The two look identical except for a Windows Phone logo. Both sport metal exteriors and have screens measuring 5 inches diagonally.

The Windows phone was made available starting at noon Tuesday through Verizon Wireless for $100 with a two-year contract, $600 without one.

HTC said Microsoft had to tweak its software to support the HTC One’s features. For instance, the phone has a second rear camera to capture depth information so that users can later change which parts of images are in focus. Windows typically deals with a single rear camera.

HTC also brought to the Windows phone its BlinkFeed hub for personalized content. But less-used camera features disappeared in the transition.