HTC Won’t Sell The Entry-Level Windows Phone 8S Smartphone In The U.S.

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The HTC 8S is a Windows Phone 8 handset that’s lightly specced compared to its more powerful sibling, the HTC 8X. The 8X is HTC’s flagship phone based on Microsoft’s mobile OS, and apparently the only one the U.S. market may ever see, according to an official statement from HTC issued late Friday afternoon. The budget 8S won’t make it to U.S. shores, an HTC official told Engadget, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

The HTC 8S is a not a bad-looking piece of hardware, based on the versions I saw at CTIA MobileCon before they were allowed to be displayed running a live version of Windows Phone 8. But inside it’s a device built for a budget: It lacks a front-facing camera, has a much lower resolution display, a weaker rear camera, less RAM and a slower processor than its big brother. The Verge reports that delays in carrier testing of the 8S had already pushed back its retail availability (where it was targeted for T-Mobile), but the new statement from HTC indicates we probably won’t ever see the phone on sale stateside.

The Windows Phone 8X is now said to be HTC’s area of focus on the Windows Phone side for the U.S. market, where it’s sold at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. While Windows Phone 8 sales are said to be exceeding the launch performance of Windows Phone 7 devices, no one’s putting any firm numbers behind that as of yet. It’s possible that what HTC saw regarding sales of its 8X indicated that the wise course would be to focus on promoting a single WP8-based device in the U.S. market, rather than splitting their focus between two handsets.