Details of possible future Windows Phone deals and Android firmware updates revealed by HTC employees during online discussion
HTC has revealed a number of details about its 2014 plans in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) discussion on Reddit, where members of the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer’s USA product team divulged that it is working with Microsoft to bring the Windows 8.1 update to its 8X device, which was released late in 2012.
Codenamed ‘Blue’, Windows Phone 8.1 is the first major update to Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, is expected to be unveiled at Microsoft’s Build 2014 conference in April, and rolled out to devices with the software soon after its release.
Regarding the possibility of the two companies working together on any future devices, HTC said that the company remains ‘strong partners’ with Microsoft, and will continue to take new products into consideration, although there was, ‘nothing concrete right now’.
The AMA was undertaken by three HTC employees, Martin Fichter, vice president product management, Mohammed Versi, executive director, product management, and Leigh Momii, product manager.
“To continue the spirit of better communication, we’ve brought members of our North America product management team to answer questions from you, the most dedicated members of the Android community,” the company said in its introduction.
Other issues touched upon during the AMA included the troubles surrounding Android firmware updates on HTC devices, which has long been a bugbear for many customers.
The introduction to the forum contained a brief explanation from the HTC crew concerning the possibility of updating the One X and One X+ devices beyond Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which so far has only been possible in the US for the latter device. However, the company has now changed its mind following feedback from customers, stating that, “we’ve heard you loud and clear, so we’re now actively exploring how we can make the jump to 4.4”.
HTC also said that all major flagship handsets will get updated to the latest Android firmware and all future flagship devices will also be able to support firmware updates for at least two years, meaning that the company’s upcoming new device will still be eligible for Android updates in 2016. The company also confirmed that the One Mini and HTC One Max would receive updates to the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, by March and April respectively.
HTC has endured a somewhat tumultuous 2013, with its global share of the smartphone market declining to around 2.2 percent as larger rivals surged ahead. The company will hope that the launch of its much-rumoured new flagship device will help improve its fortunes in 2014, alongside deals with China Mobile and an expanded portfolio of mid-range devices.
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