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HTC's budget-friendly Windows Phone 8S not coming to U.S.

The company says the handset "is not currently planned for distribution in the U.S. market" and that HTC will throw all its weight behind the higher-end 8X.

A pack of Windows Phone 8S devices in different colors. Brian Bennett/CNET

HTC won't be making its budget-minded Windows Phone handset, the 8S, available in the United States.

In a statement to Engadget yesterday, the company called its higher-end device, the 8X, its "signature Windows Phone" and said that with its focus on that handset, the 8S "is not currently planned for distribution in the U.S. market."

Sources told The Verge that the 8S was originally tagged as a lower-cost phone for T-Mobile but that Microsoft decided to prioritize testing of the Qualcomm 8960 chipset that's found in the 8X (as well as in Nokia's Lumia 820 and 920 Win Phone devices) over the chipset that's in the budget 8S. That may well mean the 8S has missed its window of opportunity for official carrier support.

HTC announced both the 8S and 8X on September 19, and the 8X went on sale in the U.S. in November with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile The 8X has been positioned by Microsoft as the flagship launch phone for Windows Phone 8.

Engadget notes that the 8S may crop up unlocked and unsubsidized on various e-tail sites accessible to U.S. buyers.

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