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Android or Windows? HTC becomes the first to let you decide with the One M8

Read our full HTC One M8 with Windows review.

HTC has announced a new version of the One M8, which replaces the Android operating system with Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. “We’ve taken the best Android phone ever and made it the best Windows Phone ever,” said HTC’s Jason Mackenzie at the phone’s launch. Forget about multiple operating systems on a single device, according to Verizon, it represents the first time a single piece of hardware has been released which lets the person choose which OS they’d like to use.

Updated by Jeffrey Van Camp: I’ve added a hands-on shot of the phone. More photos to come!

The One M8 for Windows, as it appears to be known, is a Verizon exclusive device for now. It’ll be on sale online from midday today, and cost $100 with a two-year contract, or $30 per month if you select the Verizon Edge program. If you’d like to give it a try before you buy, you can head to a Verizon store tomorrow, when the phone should be gracing its shelves.

Outside of changing the operating system, HTC hasn’t messed with the One M8’s formula. The screen is the same 5-inch, 1080p Super LCD covered in Gorilla Glass 3, while the processor is a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801, complete with 2GB of RAM. Perhaps more importantly, the gorgeous metal body remains, as do the stereo BoomSound speakers mounted above and below the screen.

Related: You can read our review of the Android One M8 here

On the rear is HTC’s UltraPixel camera, joined by the Duo Camera sensor for taking photos and adding in a cool depth of field effect, while a 5-megapixel selfie camera sits above the screen around the front. There’s a total of 32GB storage space inside the phone, plus a MicroSD card slot to increase this anywhere up to 128GB.

Windows Phone 8.1 comes installed, and it’ll come complete with Update 1, meaning it’ll have a selection of new features including folders, some new apps, and improvements to Cortana. HTC has included its Blinkfeed news aggregator app, plus the phone will be compatible with HTC’s Dot View case, first introduced with the Android version of the phone.

It has been a busy day for HTC, which also announced the Butterfly 2 earlier this morning, an Android-based, polycarbonate version of the One M8 for Asian markets.

CONTINUE TO PAGE TWO FOR ALL THE EARLY RUMORS SURROUNDING HTC’S NEW WINDOWS PHONE ONE

HTC could be working on a version of its One M8 Android powered smartphone, but with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 software onboard instead.

Updated on 08-01-2014 by Malarie Gokey: We’ve added a leaked photo of the Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8.

The Windows One M8 could arrive very soon

HTC is a long-standing Microsoft partner, but hasn’t released any Windows Phone hardware since the Sprint-exclusive 8XT this time last year. It was hardly prolific before this, with the 8x and 8s arriving in September 2012. Despite concentrating its efforts on Android, HTC hasn’t seen the success it perhaps deserves, facing strong competition from Samsung and LG. Neither of those have bothered with Windows Phone either, and with the improvements in Windows Phone 8.1, a new flagship phone from HTC could help it capitalize on renewed interest in the operating system.

However, because we’ve heard discussion about a Windows Phone One before, and nothing coming of it, we’ll keep our expectations in check until the device is officially revealed. A leak has put the release date sometime between July and September this year, and that Verizon could be stocking the phone.

HTC One M8 Windows Phone Verizon

On the first day of August, PC Magazine spotted a photo of what appears to be the Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 on a Verizon URL. No other information appeared on the webpage besides the picture. It’s unknown if this photo is real, but it certainly looks like the new One handset — just with Windows Phone onboard.

It could be called the W8

News of the phone comes from several sources. Microsoft-watcher Tom Warren tweeted “HTC is working on a Windows Phone version of the One. Should be out later this year.” Well-known phone leaker @evleaks also mentioned the device, adding it could be called the HTC W8, but didn’t mention if it would also feature the One brand name.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a sister device to the One M8, and rumors have swirled about such a phone since the introduction of the original HTC One. In June this year, interest reignited during the Computex trade show, when a Microsoft executive said we should expect big things from HTC over the coming months, telling a crowd of reporters “New things are coming, so get excited.”

A Windows Phone version of the One M8 would indeed be something to get excited about, primarily because of the phone’s sleek metal body shell, a rare feature in the Android smartphone world, and one which may help attract new buyers to Microsoft’s still growing OS.

Duo Camera and Boomsound Speakers

There are two other major features unique to HTC’s smartphones. The One M8’s focus-shifting Duo Camera, and the more often seen Boomsound speaker system. Nokia/Microsoft currently rules the Windows Phone market, and impressive cameras are a major selling point of their devices.

According to @evleaks, HTC could shake this up by introducing the Windows Phone world to its Duo Camera. In case you’ve forgotten, this ingenious system uses a camera lens and a separate sensor to let you play around with the depth-of-field in your photos. Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, but used carefully it can create some eye-catching pictures. Additionally, the new phone may also get HTC’s extra-loud Boomsound speakers and amplifier, potentially lining it up to be the best sounding Windows Phone device to date.

Article originally published on 07-28-2014

Article Updates:

Updated on 07-29-2014 by Andy: We’ve added in rumors concerning the device’s possible name, talk of the Duo Camera and HTC’s Boomsound speakers being fitted, plus its possible release before the end of September.

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