HTC recently announced a new version of its flagship HTC One M8 smartphone and the only difference is that it’s running Windows Phone 8.1.1. This instantly made many of us remember the old days when HTC was king of smartphones in part because it allowed the hacking community to have free reign over their phones. The comments on our first impressions of the device lit up with wishes and hopes for dual-boot capabilities.

Back in 2002, HTC released a touch screen smartphone codenamed the “Wallaby” and it was originally released by O2 as the O2 XDA. That’s how the XDA-Developers site came about and for years, that community was dedicated to extending (and often fixing problems with) these HTC-made smartphones that ran Windows Mobile and later Android.

The HTC HD2 was probably the most famous HTC smartphone in the developer community. It originally shipped with Windows Mobile 6.5, but its hardware was so powerful and flexible that the developer community was able to get a huge variety of other mobile operating systems running on the device. Feel like using the latest version of Android instead? It’s just a reboot away. Want to try Meego? How about Windows Phone 7 or Ubuntu Linux? Not a problem.

Geek Cred

About 5 different mobile operating systems could run on the HD2.
About 5 different mobile operating systems could run on the HD2.

HTC really needs to get their geek credibility back and they might be about to do it! We’ve already talked about the advantages of platform agnosticism when it comes to choosing which software and cloud based services that you’ll want to subscribe to, but what about platform agnostic hardware?

Microsoft has already made modifications to its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system that will make it much easier for equipment manufactures to make hardware that can run either Windows Phone or Android. Like Android, Windows Phone no longer requires specific hardware buttons other than volume up/down and power on/off. Presumably, all an OEM has to do is flash a different OS to the phone’s storage before packing it up. HTC has shown this with their One M8 smartphone which is now available with either Windows Phone or Android. The only difference is a logo painted on the back indicating which operating system is installed.

All HTC has to do is take it to the next level. They could release a utility that users could download on a PC, plug in their One M8 device and flash a different operating system. I imagine people might even want to pay up to $20 for a utility like that.

Or, HTC could go full-on multi-boot capabilities and allow more than one operating system to be installed at the same time. Being able to simply turn off your smartphone, turn it back on, and choose a different operating system to run would be a huge advantage.

What do you think? Would you buy a smartphone that had dual-boot capabilities? Vote in our poll below and sound off in the comments section.

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