It’s official: HTC unveils Windows Phone 8.1 One M8 for half the price of Android version

HTC has officially released a modified version of its flagship One M8 smartphone that runs exclusively on Microsoft’s latest mobile OS and costs far less than the comparable Android handset.

The new device, which has Windows Phone 8.1 pre-installed, was first leaked earlier today and for the time being is exclusively available to Verizon customers in the US priced at just $99 [£60] when combined with a 24-month contract.

"Consumers love the HTC One M8 and today's introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience," said Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC Americas. "Microsoft shares our vision, and that's why we committed to bringing the Windows Phone platform to the HTC One M8."

Related: HTC One M8 review

Analysts have already speculated that the new device is “almost certainly financially supported” by Microsoft, according to the BBC, and it is a desperate attempt by the company to gain traction in the US market.

It has a 5in, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution display as well as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 2GB or RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.

It also has an impressive UltraPixel rear snapper, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, Boomsound, a 2,600mAh battery and storage can be expanded to 128GB using the microSD card slot.

Microsoft’s hope will be that the handset can trigger a growth spurt for its Windows Phone OS that saw a dramatic decline in its market share from 3.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent in Q2 2014. It also gives fans of the Windows Phone OS another option at the upper end of the spectrum beyond Nokia’s selection of Lumia handsets.