Coming to market at roughly half the price of its Android sibling, the Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 has been unveiled by Microsoft and HTC.

It's the first time a flagship phone has been offered with options for more than one operating system, according to HTC. The Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 only differs from the Android variant in software, as both handset have the exact same hardware specs.

Darren Laybourn, corporate vice president of engineering for Microsoft, described the M8 for Windows Phone as the culmination of Microsoft's and HTC's best software and hardware.

"The HTC One (M8) for Windows is true to the flagship product's award-winning design and unique experience while also taking the best of what Windows Phone has to offer," said Laybourn. "We succeeded in offering customers the best of both our worlds with this phone."

The Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 is being offered exclusively through Verizon at a price of $99 with a two-year contract. The Android version of the phone is being offered for $199 by Verizon for a 24-month contract.

HTC may not be absorbing all of the loss for the HTC One M8 subsidized by contracts, as at least one analyst has indicated that it was probable Microsoft was handing over a financial incentive to keep prices low for the Windows Phone's version of the handset. Microsoft has been known to wave money at its partners to move its products, a tactic recently observed with it's Xbox division's lock-down of the next Tomb Raider game.

Users of the Windows Phone version of the HTC One M8 will get access to Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant software that has been steadily evolving into a true competitor for Apple's Siri. HTC's Blink Feed will be embedded into the phone's Live Tiles.

Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC Americas, said working with Microsoft to release the new Windows Phone device all boiled down to providing customers with more options.

"Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today's introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience, " said Mackenzie. "HTC fills a gap in the market for unique devices that put a premium on form and function. Microsoft shares our vision, and that's why we committed to bringing the Windows Phone platform to the HTC One (M8)."

With Windows Phone devices slowly losing the tiny slice of the smartphone market share that they hold, Microsoft may need to forge a lot more partnerships to turn things around for its mobile division.

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