HTC’s One M8 was released in March this year as a flagship Android phone, running top of the line specs and garnering a fair share of praise for its industrial design. While it was initially released almost 6 months ago, the device is now being rebranded and re-released as a Windows Phone device. As such this will make the HTC One M8 the most powerful Windows Phone yet.
The device, which features all the same specifications of the initial Android release, will come preinstalled with Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft’s smartphone operating system. This version has been widely hailed by critics as the first offering from Microsoft which can actually compete on most features with competitors such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Notable among its features is the Cortana voice assistant, transparent tile backgrounds, and the inclusion of a notifications center.
The decision to subsidize the phone belies a sense of desperation on Microsoft’s part.
The HTC One M8 for Windows Phone is presumed to be part of a push by Microsoft to increase its popularity within the North American market. The phone is being offered at a lower price than its competing Android version, leading to the conclusion that this phone is actually being subsidized by Microsoft in order to increase sales. The North American market has long been a thorn in Windows Phone’s side, as Nokia’s Lumia devices have failed to perform well, in the face of poor brand recognition.
The decision to subsidize the phone belies a sense of desperation on Microsoft’s part. HTC is one of the few manufacturers who actively produce phones for the Windows Phone operating system, and the fact that they have resorted to subsidies to sell the product, shows that they believe that people will see the Windows Phone operating system as something which detracts from the value of the product.
Consumers have been unwilling in large numbers to begin using the Windows Phone operating system for several reasons. Primarily, the OS suffers from a distinctly limited app marketplace. While it now contains official apps from major companies, such as Facebook and Instagram, it still features many notable omissions, such as Snapchat and Duolingo. What's more, those apps which are available are updated at a much slower rate than those on iOS or Android. As well as this app store problem, the platform also still has less features than its competitors, and lacks the ability to use Google’s popular web services.
It is now up in the air as to whether Microsoft’s strategy with the HTC One M8 will result in a enough sales for a critical mass of devices to be sold that would prompt developers to treat WP8.1 as an equal priority to Android and iOS. Regardless, the success of the Windows Phone platform is depending on it…
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