HTC One (M8): Everything we know so far

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Samsung is not the only one who is working on its next-generation flagship — the Galaxy S5. HTC is also working hard on the One’s successor — codenamed M8 — with a bigger screen, faster internals and a better ‘UltraPixel’ camera.

HTC’s 2013 flagship handset — the One — might not have managed to set the sales chart on fire but the device won a lot of critical appreciation from reviewers. HTC managed to pack in a lot of industry first and innovation in the One with front-facing stereo speakers, a 4MP ‘UltraPixel’ camera that can capture some stunning low-light images and Sense 5, which has been praised by many as a step above stock Android in usability.

It is all but certain that we will see HTC unveil the One’s successor sometime within the next couple of months. Thanks so some leaks and rumors, we do know quite a bit about the next-generation One, which should be enough to kerb your excitement until the handset arrives.

Display

Rumors indicate that the next-generation HTC One is going to come with a 5-inch S-LCD3 display with 1080p resolution. While this is definitely a step up in terms of size (4.7-inch) from the current generation One, the resolution remains the same at 1080p. The bezel surrounding the display will also be reduced significantly, allowing HTC to fit in a larger screen without increasing the dimensions of the device greatly.

Compared to the rumored 2k resolution display on the Galaxy S5, the next-gen One’s 1080p resolution might seem pale in comparison on paper. However, in real life usage, the advantage of a display with 2k resolution is barely noticeable. In fact, powering such a high resolution display might just take its toll on the Galaxy S5’s battery.

It has also been confirmed by @evleaks that the M8 will be the first HTC device to use on-screen navigation keys and ditch the absolutely horrendous two-button capacitive layout found on the current-gen One.

Design/Build Quality

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The current gen One is the only handset in the Android ecosystem whose design and build quality can match — and even exceed — that of the iPhone 5s. However, it is no secret that the current-gen One (M7) suffers from a lot of build quality issues. This includes a gap of a few millimetre between the edges of the phone, raised screen and more.

Rumors indicate that with the M8, HTC is going to use a slightly tweaked design of the current-gen One. Hopefully, we will see the company retain the unibody build of the M7, which has been appreciated by consumers and reviewers alike. A tweaked design will allow HTC to reduce its production costs and errors in manufacturing process by leveraging its already existent tools and nodes.

The current-gen One can make heads turn and I’m pretty sure the next-gen One will be no different in this case. HTC’s last major handset release — the One Max — came with a removable backplate. Chances of the company offering a removable backplate on the M8 are pretty bleak though.

Specifications

If you are a spec junkie and base your decisions on the horsepower a phone packs — you’ll not be too pleased with the next-gen One. Rumors indicate that HTC might go with a Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974AC) chipset, instead of the Snapdragon S805 that the Galaxy S5 is expected to pack. The Snapdragon 805 packs in four Krait 450 cores clocked at 2.5GHz along with a next-gen Adreno 420 GPU.

In the end, it does not really matter which chipset the HTC M8 ships with.The Krait cores on the Snapdragon 805 are still 32-bit and don’t have any other advantage apart from a slightly higher clock speed. In fact, if HTC ends up going with a Snapdragon S800 chipset, we can see the device post some impressive battery life numbers because of the lower power consumption levels of the platform.

The HTC One Max is the perfect example for this scenario. The phablet ships with a much bigger display than the Note 3 (5.9′ vs. 5.5′) and yet beats the latter in battery life benchmarks, all thanks to its S600 chipset.

Rumors also indicate that the M8 will come with a fingerprint scanner on the back like the One Max. The fingerprint scanner on the One Max has been poorly executed and is a usability disaster. Hopefully, HTC will figure out the execution of the fingerprint scanner on the M8.

Other rumored specs of the M8 include 2/3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and the usual array of sensors and radios. The device will also retain its front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers with improved loudness and punch. HTC also been emphasising on the battery life of its devices lately, so expect the M8 to come with an all-day battery life under heavy usage.

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Camera

At this point, not much is known about the camera of the M8 except that it will retain its UltraPixel branding and will use HTC’s ImageSense 2.0 chip. Rumors about the camera differ widely with some suggesting that the company will retain the same 4MP ‘UltraPixel’ camera as found on the current-gen One, while others suggesting dual-cameras to suit different lighting conditions.

The current-gen One’s camera has been criticised for its low-resolution even though it can snap some amazing low-light pictures. Hopefully, with the M8, HTC will be able to strike the perfect balance between the sensor resolution and pixel size to deliver outstanding image quality in all situations.

Software

Until and unless Google releases a new version of Android, the next-gen One will ship with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Sense 6 out of the box. In Sense 5, HTC laid a great deal of emphasis on BlinkFeed and refined it further with Sense 5.5.

With Sense 6, HTC is expected to improve BlinkFeed further along with its extremely useful Video Highlights and Zoe feature. The company’s camera and gallery app are among the best out there and as an ex-One owner, I;m very excited to see how the company improves it further in Sense 6.

Sense 5/5.5 has been widely regarded as one of the best OEM skins out there. It has also been appreciated for actually improving the usability of stock Android compared to other OEM skins.

Availability

HTC had announced the current-gen One back in February with the device expected to be available by March-end in most regions. However, thanks to shortage of some core components, the company had to delay the launch of the M7 in some core markets which led to many people buying the Galaxy S4.

One can only hope that HTC has learnt its lesson and will make sure that there are no delays between the unveiling of the handset and the retail units hitting the store. Rumors or leaks have not confirmed when HTC actually plans to unveil the M8, but it is widely expected that the handset will be announced sometime in Feb-end or March.

Oh! and for god’s sake I hope HTC does not name the One’s successor as the One 2. Rumors have suggested One+ and simply the One (2014) as the potential name but the final name of the handset is not yet known.

Update:

evleaks has just tweeted the photo of next-gen HTC One in a case.

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As you can see in the photo above, HTC M8 will come with on-screen buttons. The area below the screen, which was previously home to capacitive keys, will display just the logo.

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