HTC’s 2013 flagship, the HTC One, was very well received. It was loved for its all metal build, which gave the smartphone a premium feel as well as a leg up on its rivals that stuck with plastic and polycarbonate. The design and build coupled with the software tweaks by HTC really made the One a bonafide high-end Android smartphone. It might not have done wonders for the company’s balance sheets, but it certainly intrigued consumers, who will no doubt be wondering HTC comes up with this year. A few months ago we heard that the company was developing a new flagship under the codename M8. This is believed to be the One’s successor, and its possible that HTC might unveil it at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona next month. Last year, the HTC One was unveiled on February 19th, before being showcased at MWC 2013 a week later.
HTC M8 Specifications
Do keep in mind that all rumors and news rounded up in this post has not been officially confirmed by HTC, unofficial sources have a hit or miss track record, though this presents the best possible picture of the company’s upcoming flagship.
HTC M8 Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
It would not be a long shot to assume that HTC M8 is going to come with Android 4.4 KitKat. The latest iteration of Google’s mobile operating system has been around for a couple of months now, and the company has gradually been upgrading its existing portfolio of devices to KitKat. Android 4.4 will bring all of updates and improvements needed under the hood, while HTC will provide its custom visual makeover.
HTC Sense 6.0
HTC develops its own custom user interface for Android smartphones, last year the One brought a radically redesigned Sense interface with Blinkfeed. Late last year, Sense 5.5 was released which brought a few tweaks, nothing too big. As we look towards the future of HTC’s smartphone lineup, the company is expected to introduce a brand new iteration of its Sense user interface, Sense 6.0, and the HTC M8 is rumored to be the first device to run Sense 6.0. There aren’t a lot of details available about Sense 6.0 at this point in time, particularly about how its going to be different from Sense 5.5.
HTC M8 Processor
The first we heard about HTC M8 processor was back in November 2013, that too from infamous Twitter leaker @evleaks. It was rumored that the smartphone will be powered by a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quadcore processor, a much needed update from the 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 found in the HTC One. Later on in the same month, a purported M8 was spotted on AnTuTu benchmark, scoring just over an impressive score of 36,000. Benchmark results showed the smartphone touting a MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 with Adreno 330 GPU or graphics processing unit coupled with 2GB RAM.
Its highly unlikely that HTC M8 will be delayed just so it could rather get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, devices powered by said chip aren’t expected to be released before May 2014. With the various issues that plagued HTC One release last year, its possible that the company might be willing to avoid taking a risk of this magnitude.
While its rivals, yet to be announced, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 are all expected to tout 3GB RAM, various rumors claim that HTC M8 will have the same 2GB RAM as the HTC One. How much of an effect that has on the ultimate performance of this device can only be measured when all three devices are available for testing, but having less RAM could potentially put off those customers who simply base their purchases on sheer numbers as opposed to actual performance.
The HTC One came with a 2,300mAh battery, some might have called it inadequate for a smartphone of its caliber. Customers expect a bigger battery from the flagship as it evolves year after year, so there’s a lot of hope pinned on the upcoming flagship. There have been conflicting reports regarding the battery, but it is now widely believed that HTC M8 will have a 2,900mAh battery. Mileage will obviously vary based on usage patterns, but 2,900mAh might be viewed as acceptable by customers who believed that HTC One’s battery wasn’t up to the mark.
HTC M8 Display
Based on all the rumors we have heard about the HTC M8, particularly about its display, it can be speculated that the upcoming flagship won’t tout a revolutionary change. Its predecessor had a 4.7 inch 1080p HD display with 469 pixels per inch. HTC is expected to slightly bump up the size, from 4.7 inches to 5.0 inches, while retaining 1,080×1,920 pixel resolution. Nothing too spectacular, certainly not what Samsung’s expected to do. Galaxy S5 is rumored to tout a 5.25 inch QHD AMOLED display, offering 2,560×1,440 pixel resolution at an eye-watering 559 pixels per inch.
This year we’re bound to see more and more companies go down the road that Apple laid down with the iPhone 5s last year. Granted that the iPhone 5s isn’t the first smartphone to come with a fingerprint scanner, but it did revive the concept. HTC One Max, released late last year, already comes with a fingerprint scanner on the rear. The HTC M8 is also rumored to tout the same, presumably on the rear as well. HTC’s integration of the scanner goes a step beyond Apple’s, it also lets users launch pre-selected applications through it.
HTC M8 Camera
HTC One’s camera made a lot of customers scratch their heads, because it didn’t tout a number declaring how many megapixels it has. The smartphone came with a 4 megapixel Ultrapixel camera, what the company did was increase the size of pixels on the camera sensor, allowing it capture more light, which equals to improved performance as the surface area is far larger even than the 1.1 micrometer pixel on 13 megapixel sensors. So even if it was theoretically a 4 megapixel camera only, it was capable of delivering 2,688×1,520 pictures and full 1080p HD video recording.
HTC M8 is rumored to come with an Ultrapixel camera as well, though it is highly likely that this particular sensor will be far more advanced than its predecessor. It would be unwise to slap a number on it just for the sake of knowing how many megapixels it offers, given that resolution has nothing to do with image quality.
HTC M8 Industrial Design
HTC One’s all metal body was much loved, and the company has already said that its future flagships will tout all metal build as well. So its pretty much given that the HTC M8 is going to be crafted out of metal. What remains to be seen is the design, how far the successor ventures in terms of actual design. Purported images of the outer shells that have been leaked up till now show little changes, so its possible that the M8 won’t come with a total redesign. Its possible that the overall length of the device might not increase that much, even though its going to have a slightly larger display than its predecessor. That’s because HTC M8 is rumored to have on-screen buttons, this would effectively free up the space taken by existing button and logo placement on the HTC One.
HTC M8 is definitely a much awaited update, customers who were besotted with the HTC One are likely to consider upgrading to the successor when it comes out. Rumor has it that the smartphone might end up being called the HTC One+ or the HTC One 2, possibly subtle indicators of the fact that the M8 is going to be a rather incremental update.
Its possible that HTC may follow last year’s procedure, unveiling the HTC M8 a week or so before the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, that kicks off in the last week of February. If all goes according to plan, and the company doesn’t face any manufacturing issues this time around, the new HTC flagship might be released to customers before the end of Q1, 2014.