Did you know that HTC made the first Microsoft smartphone (long before making the first Android one)?

Most of today’s HTC users probably know the company for being the first to launch an Android smartphone: the legendary T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream from 2008. While that was a major launch - not just for HTC, but for the whole smartphone market as we know it - it’s not the only first in the history of HTC.

Before Android started to dominate the market, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile was the platform of choice for various manufacturers that wanted to offer a true smartphone OS. Taiwan’s HTC, which started its business in 1997 as a notebook maker, was one of those manufacturers. In fact, HTC was the first in the world to make a Windows-powered smartphone - more than a decade ago.

Way back in October 2002, Microsoft announced “the availability of the Microsoft Smartphone software” (unofficially known as Windows Mobile 2002), presenting it as “a revolutionary mobile phone software platform” that would provide “more than just talking on the phone.” The initial list of hardware partners for Windows Mobile 2002 included Samsung, HTC, Sendo, and Compal. For some reason, HTC was the one that made the first commercially available device to use the new platform: the Orange SPV, aka HTC Canary.

The HTC Canary / Orange SPV (pictured in this article) featured a 2.2-inch display with 176 x 220 pixels and 65k colors, a 132 MHz TI OMAP processor, 16MB of RAM, 32MB of internal memory, SD card support, and a 1,000 mAh battery. It also came with a detachable VGA rear camera and, of course, access to Windows applications like Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Media Player. The 2002 Orange SPV was the first in a whole new family of smartphones. 

The SPV brand would live on until 2007, the last model released being the SPV E650, aka HTC Vox (this one ran Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard, and featured a slide-out QWERTY keyboard).

Now, in 2014, HTC is all about Android, though the company didn’t abandon Microsoft entirely, and it may release a Windows Phone 8.1-based handset later this year.

P.S.: Although the Orange SPV / HTC Canary is credited as the first Microsoft smartphone, some Pocket PCs before it had the ability to make phone calls - thus, some may consider them smartphones, too.

references: Microsoft, XDA, Wikipedia



1. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Nostalgia for the smartphone with hardware keys combo. Its a rare sight to see in this day. The only one I remember doing that is BB.

5. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

And look at it's amazing specs!

11. TheMoltenD

Posts: 109; Member since: Jul 13, 2014

Dude 65k colors!

16. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Samsung had their Blackjack series with hardware keys, the Moto Q as well.

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yeah those messenger type phones are very useful.

2. AJagtiani

Posts: 466; Member since: Apr 24, 2014

HTC first ! *pun intended*

12. TheMoltenD

Posts: 109; Member since: Jul 13, 2014

Wheres the HTC Last?

3. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Some days I miss WM, other days I remember wanting to go postal over its bugs. HTC 6600,6800/Mogul/Titan/Touch/Treo 650WM/700 user.

4. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

I liked my 6800. It was the first phone I got into modify heavily with custom WM Roms.

9. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

The HTC Imagio was a very nice device and pretty much everything was usable and ran much smoother than other WM at the time. How far we've come since then...

6. express77 unregistered

Windows Mobile > Windows Phone(exclude WP8.1).

7. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009


8. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

HTC was supporting WM heavily now their options with WP.........meh

10. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Wait, detachable rear camera?

13. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

If HTC was smart they would put at least half of their current resources into making top notch WP devices, and competing with MM device... There's huge opportunity in the WP market, and they'd be better off competing directly with MS than Samsung.

15. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

wp is nice. but plz understand people dont want it. ive tried to encourage some of my friends into trying it but they all had a negative idea about it. i dont know why. i have a wp and an android but i have 1520 just because its nokia and its the best looking phone out there. android is more like a windows desktop. its not restrictive and it gets the job done.

14. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

windows mobile was a failure in comparison to symbian. even though every company wanted it. (just to run from nokia) and so is wp. i bet if nokia chose to make android everyone wanted to make a wp phone.

17. JoshuaDK

Posts: 18; Member since: May 08, 2014

OF CAUSE I KNEW - I actually owned the Orange SPV. Was actually a great phone, but gosh I hated the OS. Slow and not finger-friendly

19. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

it is interesting to note that Windows mobile smart phones had enough innovations that Android OEMs today have to pay Microsoft royalties to use them. HMM it seems Microsoft did get some benefits from their past smart phones efforts.

20. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

HTC was also known for having the best slide out qwerty keyboards around. I used HTC extensively for business due to Windows Mobile. At the time, there was no better way to access info remotely by handheld devices. I had a difficult time trying to pry myself away from the power of WinMo. HTC really had a great product to couple with windows. Build quality was excellent. Only problems I ever had was batteries. John B.

21. tokuzumi

Posts: 1929; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I remember when HTC was basically a manufacturer of phones only. My old Treo 700wx was made by them, as well. It wasn't until the late 2000s (2008), that they really tried to make a name for themselves. Their initial popularity, and practical domination of Android device sales was because of their popularity in the Windows Mobile arena.

22. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

Search for the HTC universal the first Phablet and first phone with a 640x480 screen. IT also had a swivel out keyboard. I loved mine. I would love to have a new one with WP8.1

23. Donforreal

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

I had an HTC hurricane and an HTC wizard and Excalibur and Rhodium and so many fun WM devices, so customizable!!

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