HTC not bringing Windows Phone 8S to U.S. market

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HTC said it will not bring its mid-range Windows Phone 8S device to the U.S. market, and will instead put all of its marketing efforts behind the high-end Windows Phone 8X. 

Windows Phone 8S HTC

HTC's Windows Phone 8S

HTC introduced the two phones together in September but has since been mum about the 8S' U.S. availability. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA have each launched the 8X as part of their holiday smartphone lineups.

"The Windows Phone 8X by HTC is our signature Windows Phone available at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the U.S.," HTC said in a statement to Engadget. "With our focus on the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, the Windows Phone 8S is not currently planned for distribution in the U.S. market."

The Taiwanese smartphone maker, reeling from declining sales, is partnering with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on a joint marketing effort for the new Windows Phones. Verizon, in particular, has been leading the advertising charge for the 8X. The 8X is Verizon's first high-end Windows Phone 8 device (the carrier is also supporting the mid-range Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 822).

According to a report from The Verge, which cited sources close to Microsoft's Windows Phone efforts, the Windows Phone 8S was originally planned as "a T-Mobile budget handset." However, because Microsoft prioritized testing of a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) chip found in the 8X and the Lumia 920 and 820 from Nokia, and not the chip in the 8S, carrier testing got pushed back, delaying retail availability.

While it is possible that the 8S could eventually make it to the U.S market either through carriers or other channels, its current absence from the U.S. market denies HTC the opportunity to go after distinct market segments with its new Windows Phones. However, the focus on the high-end 8X could help HTC maintain its brand image as a premium smartphone maker with solid U.S. carrier distribution.

For more:
- see this Engadget article
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article

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