I'm going to miss HTC's August event because of my trip, but it's very clear what's coming: The mobile device maker is creating a Windows Phone 8.1-based version of its stunning HTC One (M8) handset. And while the name of this slightly rejiggered phone is a bit awkward, the result is exactly what Windows Phone fans like myself have long asked for: A Windows Phone version of a top-tier Android handset.
HTC sent out invites to an August 19 press announcement in New York City. Normally, I'd be all over that, but I'll still be in Barcelona then, so I'll have to skip it. However, I found it notable that many Windows-based bloggers and reporters were among those invited. Clearly, this was a Windows Phone event, not an Android event.
Those suspicions were quickly confirmed when the Verizon Wireless web site inadvertently coughed up a graphic of the phone that HTC will announce. Here it is.
If this looks familiar it's because this device is in fact the same HTC One (M8) that HTC shipped earlier this year running Android. What's changed is that you will soon be able to buy this stunning handset with Windows Phone 8.1 The name of this version is a bit odd: Verizon identifies it as "HTC M8 Windows," though many have pegged the full name as HTC One (M8) Windows Phone, which is a mouthful. Whatever. The phone is gorgeous.
Assuming this device is indeed the same hardware as the original Android-based M8, the specs are super-solid. It packs a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage with microSD expansion up to 128 GB, an interesting (but not super-high-res) "UltraPixel" camera, and a 5-inch display full HD (1080p) display into a thin, light and gorgeous body. Must. Have. This.
I'd also point out that HTC supports a cool smart cover for the M8, and—my, my—didn't Microsoft just announce support for smart covers in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? Why, yes, they did.
Back when HTC announced the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, I came away really impressed by the firm's industrial design. But it's been a long time since they updated their Windows Phone lineup, while they've always done right by Android. Ultimately, porting Windows Phone to their devices is the right move for HTC, and the right move for Windows Phone fans. I cannot wait to see this handset in person. This will no doubt be one of the best Windows Phone handsets released this year.
As for Verizon, well, they wised up, but only sort of. When you try to access the previously leaked M8 image, the following appears.