Windows Phone 8 was Microsoft’s push into the future, and not just on the software side of things. Part of the reason original Windows Phone 7 owners can’t upgrade to the new OS is its support for newer, more powerful hardware. Unfortunately, Bloomberg claims that HTC has scrapped plans for a big-screen Windows Phone handset, due primarily to concerns about Windows Phone hardware obsolescence—just a month and a half after Microsoft’s mobile OS launched.
The problem allegedly lies in Windows Phone 8’s screen resolution support, which tops out at true 720p or a slightly scaled 1280 x 768. Given that 1080p Android phones are already starting to pop up on the market—including HTC’s own Droid DNA—HTC has reportedly decided that a lower-resolution Windows Phone offering simply wouldn’t be competitive.
If true, the concerns might be a bit overblown. Samsung’s 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II handset sports a Windows Phone-esque 1280 x 720 resolution across its massive expanse and we found it nothing short of gorgeous in our review.
It’s also worth mentioning that Windows Phone’s relatively limited resolution support may actually be a good thing for the platform in the long run. Full 720p looks great on the average 4- to 5-inch handset, and the locked-in resolutions should help app developers deliver a consistent experience across the width and breadth of WP8 hardware offerings. Android’s automatic scaling solution, on the other hand, can look less than pleasant on tablets or large-screen phones.
HTC’s reported decision comes shortly after the company announced plans to cut back its lineup to focus more specifically on stand-out phones. The company’s sales numbers have taken a beating over the past year, losing significant amounts of market share to ascending Samsung. HTC has already announced that its lower-end Windows Phone 8S handset will not be coming to U.S. shores.
The report likely also stings Microsoft, which is working hard to woo manufacturers and developers alike to the Windows Phone platform.