The HTC One M8 and its award winning design has certainly captured the hearts of many but HTC is about to do something very unusual with this smartphone.
Consumers are about to have the choice to purchase this mobile phone on either Android or the Windows Phone operating system.
And, that choice is going to be a difficult one as we essentially see a Google vs Microsoft battle.
The Android powered version has been around for a while and you can read our HTC One (M8) review here. So now let’s take a look at what is on offer on the Windows powered version.
We begin our exploration of the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system with the home screen which is made up from fully customisable Live Tiles.
The Live Tiles operate like those we have seen on other operating systems and user interfaces but here you can us a favourite photo as the tiles background instead of a solid singular colour.
The tiles fit together to build up the picture like a puzzle with medium and small sized blocks and will give your HTC One M8 a unique feel personalised by you.
Voice-activated virtual assistants are the in thing at the moment and the Windows version is called Cortana.
Cortana can organise your schedule, provides reminders, recognise frequently used numbers and sites and provides suggestions based upon your use.
Cortana can also help you makes calls, send texts, take notes, set reminders and alarms as well as keep track of things that interest you like the news, weather and traffic.
The virtual assistant can also turn on ‘quiet hours’ to mute beeps, buzzers and rings and Cortana can let people know that you are busy, fill you in later on who has called and ensure your inner circle can still get through.
A Microsoft powered HTC One M8 also comes with the Xbox Video app for films and TV on the go which you can browse, buy and watch.
You also get a new home for streaming music with the ad-supported Xbox Music app. You can stream music, subscribe and purchase music from within this app.
The Word Flow keyboard isn’t something we have never seen before. It uses the premise that you can type quickest when you don’t need to lift your finger off the screen after each letter.
Instead you slide your finger around the QWERTY keyboard with shape writing and simply lift off your finger at the end of each word. The Word Flow keyboard also includes word prediction and automatically corrects spelling mistakes.
Useful to both personal and professional users, the Files app lets you easily search, open, share, move and delete documents, photos and music on your phone or SD memory card.
Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the action centre and you are greeted by your important notifications.
This screen also doubles as a quick route to turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, set the volume for ringer and apps, back up files to cloud and keep track of storage space.
Keeping the focus on the user experience the calendar offers an interactive view where you can tap to expand a day and scroll though the details.
The calendar dates includes a weather forecast for each day and rather cleverly you can add new events into the calendar directly from your emails or text messages.
Internet Explorer is built-in and comes with a new reading mode and new settings designed to help Conserve mobile data. Internet Explorer will also sync passwords, app settings, Explorer favourites, tabs and theme colour with those on your other Windows powered devices.
The Windows Phone Store is no longer a limp version of Google Play or iTunes and is the home of thousands of downloadable apps including all your favourites.
Apps update automatically over Wi-Fi and your app history is saved in order to make it easy to reinstall apps in the future.
I have to say that I think I would. There is a healthy set of features that are sure to entertain and just like the Android version you get to enjoy those stereo forward facing speakers with built in amps and the Duo camera.
There is one anomaly that stands out though. Whether by design or in error HTC is currently quoting a drop in battery performance. The Windows Phone version seems to have lost 2 hours of talk time and more than a day off its standby time!
Written by: Michael Brown