Windows-Powered HTC One M8 is Official, But Only in the US (Updated With Hands-On)

By Robert Sorokanich on at

The rumours have been swirling since July, but now it's official: A Windows 8.1-powered HTC One is arriving on US shores for Verizon customers starting today. Where's ours, HTC?

This video from Verizon Wireless gives some more details, including a peek at what Live Tiles will look like on the M8's big, beautiful screen. The Windows One will be Verizon-exclusive in the U.S., bringing all the same hardware as its Android-powered littermate, including that nifty Dot View case. It'll also run Cortana, Windows Phone's built-in voice assistant.

We loved the M8 when it came out running Android earlier this year. With those blazing-fast guts and that beautiful aluminium body, we're hoping it'll be just as great running Windows. And that it'll swim to our shores soon... [Verizon]

Hands-On

Now that the M8 and the subsequently launched Mini 2 are an acceptable baseline for what "premium" means for Android, HTC hopes it'll find similar success in the Microsoft camp when it launches today on the US network Verizon. The once-rumoured HTC One M8 for Windows (let's say W8 for brevity) sticks with an old adage: If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

From a hardware perspective, the W8 and the M8 are the Same. Exact. Phone. There's almost no discernible difference to their curvy metal chassis at all. Except for some requisite branding (a small Windows Phone banner running under the HTC logo on the back) and the garish Verizon signage that marks the phone as EXCLUSIVE, the Windows Phone variant is a perfect clone. Snapdragon 801 processor? Check. Duo Camera with the weird UltraPixel tech? Yes sir. A 5-inch, 1080p LCD screen at 441 pixels-per-inch? You betcha. BoomSound front-firing speakers? Duh. Dot View Case compatibility, IR blaster, 32GB with expandable storage up to 128GB? Yes, yes, and yes.

But once you turn it on, the W8 is one sharply dressed Windows smartphone. "It's basically an HTC body with a Windows Phone soul," says HTC senior global communications manager Jeff Gordon.

Not only does the phone come with the very latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (8.1.1), but a whole variety of new tweaks on top of Windows Phone as well. For instance, HTC worked closely with Microsoft engineers to introduce the previously-unsupported Duo Camera, which captures a variety of fancy images, and the company has redesigned proprietary apps like Sense TV, the camera app, and Blinkfeed.

HTC One M8 for Windows Hands On from Gizmodo on Vimeo.