Ailing smartphone maker HTC announced its latest flagship smartphone One (M8), as it – again – attempts to reinvigorate its performance in the competitive premium smartphone space.
The new device shares many of the features of its predecessor, which is not necessarily a bad thing – the first HTC was well regarded, and indeed picked up the “Best Smartphone” award at Mobile World Congress this year.
But while the company is obviously looking to maintain the One brand for its flagship device, the addition of M8 in order to differentiate the new unit is a little clumsy. It has also appended the M7 name to the previous device, resurrecting a codename that was never officially used for the earlier product.
The evolution of the One design sees continued use of a metal casing, rather than the polycarbonate used by rivals such as Samsung – there had been rumours that the handset number one would move to metal with its Galaxy S5, but this did not take place.
During the unveiling, Peter Chou, CEO of the troubled Taiwanese company, said it had developed a “breakthrough process” that enables it to use metal housings in devices which also feature a number of antennas, without impacting radio performance.
And One (M8) has lost the polycarbonate sidewall of its predecessor, meaning its body is now all metal, with a curved, polished aluminium finish.
Much was also made of the new flagship’s camera, which the company describes as a “duo camera”, and which features a secondary lens to capture depth information. HTC highlighted that this is done using hardware, rather than being a “special mode or special app that settles for software simulation or bad quality”.
Away from the hardware, One (M8) sees the introduction of a new version of the Sense user interface – its sixth, and intended to be more intuitive – and an updated BlinkFeed homescreen. The company is also opening the latter to developers via an SDK, in order to deliver additional content to users – named partners include Foursquare and Fitbit.
For customers who do not want HTC’s customisation, a Google Play edition will be available “in the coming weeks”.
It also features an “extreme power saving mode”, which will deliver 15 hours of standby time from a 5 per cent charge remaining, in order to provide additional battery life when reaching the end of the battery charge.
In terms of other specifications, One (M8) is powered by a 2.3GHz quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and has a 5-inch full HD screen. It will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions (10GB and 24GB user accessible).
Multiple CDMA, WCDMA and LTE versions will be available, to serve different operators and geographies.
It is being supported by “the single largest product rollout in HTC’s history”, following the launch of the first One, when the vendor made the same claim last year.
But while the rollout of that device was hit by delays, HTC has said that some One (M8) customers will be able to get hold of the device straight away – enabling it to battle Samsung’s Galaxy S5 head-on.
HTC One (M8) will be available from 230 operators worldwide, in “gunmetal grey”, “glacial silver” and “amber gold”.