HTC announces HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8) announcementAs expected, HTC today unveiled its much-leaked successor to last year’s HTC One. The new HTC One (M8) is an evolutionary step that builds on what was arguably the best smartphone of 2013 and HTC’s best selling smartphone ever. CEO Peter Chou promised “it takes the best smartphone in the world and makes it better in every way.”

HTC One M8

The HTC One (M8) specifications are pretty much what we had expected given the volume of leaks we saw over the past few weeks:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.4.2 KitKat with HTC Sense 6.0
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE/HSPA+/GPRS/EDGE
  • Other connectivity: GPS/GLONASS, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, NFC
  • Display: 5-inch Super Full HD (1080×1920) LCD3
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal storage: 16GB/32GB
  • External storage: MicroSD cards up to 128GB
  • Rear-facing camera: HTC Duo dual camera
    • 4.1MP HTC UltraPixel with BSI, f/2.0 aperture and Full HD video capture
    • 2MP depth information secondary camera
  • Front-facing camera: 5MP with BSI sensor and Full HD video capture
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB 2.0
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, ambient light, byro, barometer
  • Battery: 2,600mAh
  • Dimensions: 146.36 × 70.6 × 9.35 millimeters
  • Weight: 160 grams
  • Other: IR blaster

HTC focused a lot of time and attention on the design. The HTC One (M8) is made of a single piece of machined aluminium with a “brushed, hairline” finish. This texture was described as being “akin to jewelry.” Metal accounts for 90% of the body’s construction.

Among other highlights of the announcement, HTC touched upon the following:

  • Improved Blinkfeed: New content providers, an updated UI and an SDK that will allow developers to add their own content. Already onboard are Foursquare and Fitbit.
  • Gestures: Double-tap on the screen to wake up the smartphone, hold the phone up to your ear when ringing to answer it
  • HTC BoomSound: Improved so that audio is now 25% louder than on the HTC One (and that was already pretty loud)
  • New power-saving mode: Promises 40% more battery life than on the HTC One. An “extreme power-saving mode” will also be offered later on (likely via a software update).
  • Camera app: New modes including selfie mode and plenty of controls for manual shooting. API will also be opened up to developers for additional features and effects.
  • HTC Duo: Second camera captures detailed depth information with hardware depth sensor. Allows for refocusing of a shot by simply tapping the area to be in focus.
  • Improved Zoe: More creative input including ability to choose background music. Highlight videos will be uploadable to  the cloud to share videos later this summer.

The HTC One (M8) will launch in 100 countries through 230 carriers. “Broad in-store availability” in Canada (Bell, Rogers Wireless and TELUS Mobility) and the U.S. will happen within “the first few weeks of April”. Most will have it before April 10. HTC also announced that it will be available at 1300 EST starting today online at Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and TELUS Mobility.

HTC also announced that current HTC One owners (including the HTC One mini and HTC One Max) will receive a software update for HTC Sense 6.0 “later this spring.”