Talking tech since 2003

After weeks of rumors, HTC has officially announced its newest smartphone: the HTC One M8 for Windows. Want to get one? Then you’d better be ready to buy a new two-year contract with Verizon.

Starting at noon eastern today, Verizon Wireless is offering the M8 for Windows for $99 with the start of a new two year contract. The announcement also says that the contract will provide a limited monthly price of $29.99 per month with Verizon Edge, a program at the carrier that allows customers to upgrade to new devices without paying upgrade fees as long as 60 percent of the phone’s cost has been paid.

htc-front-backThe only other place to get the HTC One M8 for Windows is, appropriately enough, the Microsoft Store – though, you’ll still be buying it along with Verizon service. As a bonus, buying at the Microsoft Store will give customers a free Dot View case (which is actually really cool looking). Either way, however, there doesn’t seem to be a way to use the new handset on another carrier or to buy an unlocked version of the phone. And if that ability does ever happen, the Android version still retails for roughly $650 – so no matter which way you slice it, the HTC One M8 for Windows is limited in terms of availability.

Otherwise, the HTC One M8 for Windows is exactly the same as the Android version released earlier this year in terms of hardware specifications – and that’s fantastic. The difference, of course, is that this one runs Windows Phone 8.1, the latest and greatest iteration of Microsoft’s mobile OS.

Here are the full specs, in case you want a refresher:

  • Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • 32 GB internal storage; micro SD (up to 128 GB)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 5-inch Full HD, Super LCD3 display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3; 441 ppi
  • 2600 mAh battery
  • HTC UltraPixel camera; 5 MP front-facing camera
  • Nano SIM
  • HTC Boomsound
  • U-Focus
  • HTC Dot View case featuring Cortana integration

It’s a shame that the phone is exclusive through Verizon right now – not because I have any issue with Verizon, but because exclusivity is the exact opposite of what Windows Phone needs right now. Last week analyst IDC reported that Windows Phone’s shipment volumes were down in the second quarter of this year compared to its numbers for the same period a year ago. The report does say that compared to the first quarter “it showed slight improvement.” But if Microsoft was hoping this new, high end smartphone from HTC would improve the operating system’s profile among the market, the company may have to wait until Verizon’s exclusivity period ends. Carrier exclusivity is super good for carriers – not so much for everyone else involved.

[HTC One M8 for Windows]


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