HTC isn’t a stranger to Windows Phone. Despite the fact that the company has put a lot of its effort into Google’s Android mobile operating system, their Windows Phone-based handsets are some of the most recognizable handsets running Microsoft’s platform. Then again, here in the United States, that’s about as far as the “diversity” goes: HTC or Nokia. (Sure, Samsung’s got their own device, but we know their attention is squarely set on Android.) It’s this simple fact that has me wondering why we’re not seeing better handsets from HTC running Windows Phone. Specifically, why aren’t we seeing a One device?
Last year, HTC debuted their brand new effort in making a splash in the smartphone industry. They had a plan. They were going to focus more on quality over quantity. They were going to put all of their muscle behind this new brand of devices, the One series, and make sure that they were the high-end handsets everyone wanted to get their hands on. Of course, their plan didn’t really work out, and they seemed to actually do quite the opposite out in the real world.
Instead of quality over quantity, we still got a ridiculous number of handsets, and even the HTC One X, the flagship of the One series, saw a refresh only six months after its launch. (Hey, HTC, where’s the Android 4.1 update for the One X, anyway?) Basically, not everything went according to plan for HTC.
But it turned around a little bit when they unveiled the Windows Phone 8X. HTC, with this brand new device, had managed to steal some of the attention away from Nokia, and even raise questions regarding Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft. It wasn’t too long ago that Nokia’s Lumia series of Windows Phone devices were the colorful, go-to option for Microsoft. That changed with the multi-colored launch of the Windows Phone 8X. HTC seemed to be the premiere hardware partner for Microsoft with Windows Phone 8.
Here’s the thing, though. Yes, the Windows Phone 8X is a great phone. Yes, if you don’t want a huge or heavy display, it is exactly what you’re looking for instead of the Lumia 920. The WP8X is a great phone. But you know which device is better? The One X+. That particular device doesn’t have a huge display, and it feels just as good in the hand. It has a great camera. It’s fast. Has plenty of storage. Overall, the One X+ is what the One X should be, and it’s the perfect device to show off the One brand.
So where’s the Windows Phone equivalent?
I started contemplating this topic a few days ago, and right after I started putting words down, I saw that Tai Ito –HTC VP for Global Product Planning—told CNET that his company is “fully committed” to Windows Phone. I immediately wanted to put that into question, based solely on handset releases, but I don’t think that statement can be argued. HTC is obviously putting quite a bit of attention in Microsoft’s direction.
I just don’t think they’re providing the best hardware HTC is capable of making. I say this admitting to you right now that I like the Windows Phone 8X. (I do think it’s a little uncomfortable to type on in portrait mode, though.) I’m saying this because HTC’s high-end Windows Phone option is the WP8X, and their high-end Android option here in the United States is the One X+, or the DROID DNA. I mean, these aren’t even close!
And now we’ve got the One coming down the pipe, and HTC saying that they’re fully committed to Windows Phone. However, in that same article at CNET, it’s pointed out that a device HTC is currently working on in conjunction with Microsoft will probably not share any resemblance to the One. So, just another HTC-branded Windows Phone device, right?
Oh, hey, look at that, there’s a rumor about a device codenamed “Tiara.” According to the rumors, this device will be the first handset to be running the newest version of Windows Phone 8, when it gets updated later this year. As far as hardware goes, it supposedly features a 4.3-inch WVGA Super LCD 2 display, with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor under the hood. There will be an 8MP camera on the back, and a 1.2MP front-facing shooter on the other side. You’ll have 8GB of built-in storage to have your way with, and 1GB of RAM. The battery is said to measure in at 1,800mAh.
I really hope that device, if it is real, doesn’t come to market. I’m not sure there’s any device I’ve been less excited about, based entirely on rumors. I bet it’ll have a cheap price tag, if it does land here. So, that’s something. But here’s my question: Are people supposed to get excited about this device? I mean, does HTC or Microsoft think this handset, with its small display, small battery, and small storage space (no expandable memory?), is going to suddenly make a wave of people jump on board with Windows Phone?
This isn’t a one-sided fight from Microsoft. At least, it shouldn’t be. HTC needs Windows Phone to be successful, too. Why? Because HTC is still trying to gain traction with the Android Army. HTC used to be the most popular Android manufacturer in the world, but that title’s been easily handed over to Samsung. Unless the One can somehow wrangle up all those Samsung fans, and convince plenty of other people to switch, the One may have the same fate as the One X, or even the One X+.
So why isn’t HTC using their One brand for Windows Phone? Or, just beyond that, why aren’t they making phones with as much attention to detail as their One series, without the One branding? They’re already putting Beats Audio into their Windows Phone-based devices, after all. That’s just a step in the right direction, right?
I want to see an HTC One with Windows Phone. BlinkFeed is already close enough. Just give me a One with Windows Phone 8, and you’ve got a sale. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one, either. In fact, HTC should have used any time at Mobile World Congress to show off something like a One running Windows Phone 8. That would have been amazing.
Would you buy an HTC One with Windows Phone 8 on it? Do you think HTC should try to create a handset of similar stature for Microsoft’s mobile operating system? Or does it just not matter anymore? Let me know!