I quite like the idea of the “HTC One (M8) for Windows” (to use its full, awkward title), even going as far as calling it “one of the most interesting smartphone releases of the year” when I detailed this week’s launch.
However, enticing as it is, there are several reasons why we shouldn’t expect the HTC One (M8) for Windows to bother the likes of the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5, and here I present five of ‘em.
A brief disclaimer before we begin. I'm not entirely trashing the HTC One (M8) for Windows. In fact, I'd love to take this guy for a spin when - or if - it reaches the UK. Here I'm simply detailing why it likely won't be a game changer - despite my largely positive write-up yesterday. We cool? Good. Let's rock!
1. Consumer awareness and silly name
The HTC One (M8) for Windows. “…for Windows”. What does that even mean? Do I need a Windows computer to get the most out of this thing? Is it a present for the Windows ecosystem?
Yeah, you and I know what the deal is, but why not give this a more consumer-friendly name? For our money, HTC One (W8) made perfect sense – hell, the ‘8’ even ties in perfectly with the operating system version i.e. Windows Phone 8.
But nope, what we have is the HTC One (M8) for Windows. Imagine, if you will, Joe Average going into a shop and seeing the HTC One (M8) for Windows for the first time. In my experience, only the most technical people even know Windows Phone exists, so this should really be promoted as its own thing, rather than simply a Windows Phone variant of an existing thing.
Speaking of promotion, it remains to be seen how – or if – the HTC One (M8) for Windows will be marketed, but given HTC’s track record, I don’t hold out much hope for anything that’s truly going to “reach” consumers.
2. Availability, exclusivity, quantity
The HTC One (M8) for Windows was originally announced as a Verizon exclusive in the US, immediately limiting its potential market. I’ve never understood network exclusives, but presumably there’s something in it for HTC.
There’s still no word on a release elsewhere, though AT&T will supposedly carry the HTC One (M8) for Windows at a later date – whenever Verizon’s period of exclusivity expires.
Still, we get the sense (pun intended) that the HTC One (M8) for Windows will keep a relatively low profile, perhaps on a similar level to Google Play Edition phones. Ish.
Let’s not forget that HTC has been selling what’s effectively the same phone – just with a different operating system (a more successful one, at that) – for several months.
Microsoft recently decided to waive its license fee, which supposedly sat at around $15 per handset, so shoving Windows Phone onto the existing One (M8) (right) shouldn’t have posed too many problems for HTC.
But for the consumer, they’re left looking at a phone that ultimately costs the same as the Android model (well, on Verizon, at least), and obviously wondering why they should bother. Again: What is this “Windows Phone” you speak of?
Furthermore, the current price on Verizon is described as “promotional”, vaguely suggesting that the HTC One (M8) for Windows might end up being more expensive than its Android-based brother. Yikes.
4. Android vs. Windows Phone
What it comes down to here is a choice between Android and Windows Phone, and consumers have historically voted overwhelmingly in favour of the former.
Unless someone does a great job explaining why Joe Average should back what’s currently the third-place operating system, instead of Google’s tried and tested OS, the HTC One (M8) for Android is the logical choice.
5. The existing HTC One (M8) hasn’t been a game changer
Getting back to my original point (“why we shouldn’t expect the HTC One (M8) for Windows to bother the likes of the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5”), well, the HTC One (M8) for Android hasn’t given the big players much to worry about, so, logically, an identical phone with what is – in market share terms – an inferior operating system won’t change that.