Look, before you go nuts, the picture above is not real. We have used artistic licence to illustrate this story: The HTC Wildfire will NOT run Windows Phone 7. Well, not as far as we know. Right, panic over, on with the show...

The last time Pocket-lint was treated to a demo of Microsoft's new mobile OS, there was no mention of HTC. Samsung and LG crept into the conversation regularly, but HTC? Not a peep.

It got us thinking that maybe, with the huge success of its Android phones, the Froyo updating process currently under way, and the eventual release of Gingerbread, HTC might be focusing its attentions elsewhere. We were wrong.

"We have every expectation that we’re going to be there on day one", we were informed by Eric Lin, the company's global PR and online community manager, during our exclusive one-to-one at Qualcomm's Uplinq conference in San Diego.

Eric Lin, HTC, does his famous Jimmy Durante impression

htc talks windows phone 7 we re going to be there on day one  image 2

Eric Lin, HTC, does his famous Jimmy Durante impression

"I know that we’re working with Microsoft. I know that we have access to the OS, to the tools, so I have every reason to believe that we’re going to be there on day one".

However, it was still strange to us that the biggest hardware supporter of Windows Mobile should be overlooked during briefings: "I think it might be one of those cases that they don’t have to", explained Lin. "Honestly, nobody doubts HTC’s dominance when it comes to Windows phones. If anybody does doubt our dominance, it’s only because they’ve never seen sales figures.

"I think it’s one of those cases where we’re really in a situation where people don’t mention us because they simply don’t have to. We’re the ones where it’s so accepted, you never have to say anything about us".

Phew! Nothing to worry about there then. Although, he also revealed that there are caveats to working with the new OS - ones that even a healthy working relationship with Microsoft can't overcome.

Unlike Android and Brew MP, for example, the new Windows Phone 7 software comes with plenty of restrictions for manufacturers: "We won’t be able to change the core applications. We won’t be able to put a skin on top of the operating systems like we’ve done in the past", said Lin.

"However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything. We can add. We can’t cover, we can’t change, but we can add. So we’re going to look at how we can add, and how we can add value because of that.

"Even for the homescreen [Microsoft] is pretty prescriptive. But we can still add to the homescreen, so we can add our own tiles to that. It’s going to be a lot more adding than changing".

Indeed, even the colour scheme is enforced and unbending. So, even though Samsung and LG will be major rivals from the off, it seems that the one with the best hardware, rather than skin-job, will win supreme. Which is quite refreshing, really.