It’s been an incredibly odd almost-four years for Windows Phone, with the initial partners essentially backing off when Nokia came on the scene, and Microsoft ultimately acquiring the ailing Finnish manufacturer (kudos, Elop).
But this week saw the launch – and release – of the HTC One (M8) for Windows, and with it there are signs Windows Phone might be about to turn a corner, largely thanks to Android.
Initially, Windows Phone manufacturers were hugely limited in terms of what they could do with hardware, hence the first wave of WinPho devices offering almost identical specs – with a literally identical operating system on board. Not ideal.
With Nokia's arrival, the likes of HTC and Samsung took a logical backseat, investing pretty much zero pence in new and exclusive WinPho hardware. Hell, why should they?
Four years on, however, Microsoft has finally lowered its defences, allowing Android manufacturers to bring their hardware directly over to Windows Phone.
The HTC One (M8) for Windows is the first such example; it’s exactly the same phone as the Android version, but with Windows Phone on board, and that’s just the way Microsoft likes it.
"We wanted handset makers like HTC to be able to leverage their engineering investment and provide them with a real choice," explains Darren Laybourn, vice president of engineering for Microsoft.
"We feel the software should be the differentiator and not the hardware."
The problem now is making Microsoft’s OS a priority for developers, but things have definitely improved of late, and with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 and now the HTC One (M8) for Windows, things are looking significantly sexier.
It remains to be seen if fellow Android manufacturers will follow HTC’s example, but the floodgates are officially open.