Can a 'selfie' phone and HTC One save Windows Phone?

Microsoft has two new Windows Phones on tap -- a 'selfie' phone with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and the top-notch HTC One. They sound like solid phones, but are they enough to save the struggling operating system?

Windows Phone Central claims to have photos of the upcoming Nokia-built Lumia 730, a mid-range phone with a 4.7-inch display. Its main distinguishing characteristic seems to be a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for taking selfies. Building such a "selfie" phone may be a smart move given how popular selfies have become. At June's Google I/O conference, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai revealed that 93 million selfies are taken a day on Android phones. That's clearly a very big market.

Ironically, Microsoft recently announced a lower-end Nokia phone, the Lumia 635, that had everything going for it but one thing: It lacked a front-facing camera. Call it the anti-selfie phone. It'll be tough for that phone to survive.

Windows Phone Central has been busy breaking stories about Windows Phone devices, because it also claims that HTC will release a Windows Phone version of the popular HTC Android-based One M8 on August 21. The full price of the phone would be $610, and the contract price is said to be $199. It will be carried by Verizon, the site reports, and possibly other carriers as well.

The Lumia 730 and HTC One M8 Windows Phone both seem to be solid phones. But Windows Phone will need more than them to thrive. The Chitika online ad network recently found that Windows Phone accounts for only 1% of all smartphone traffic in the U.S. and Canada. And Strategy Analytics's latest report says that Windows Phone's worldwide market share has dropped to 2.7% in the second quarter of 2014, down from 3.8% a year previously.

So these latest two devices may help Windows Phone some, but not likely enough to put a halt to the operating system's struggles.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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