HTC One (M8) launch, specs, price, release date & news
Posted on 25 Mar 2014 at 15:15, by Tom Morgan
UPDATE: IT'S OFFICIAL
The HTC One (m8) has been officially unveiled at simultaneous London and New York launch events. As expected, it sticks very closely to the design of the HTC One, but has a bigger screen, more powerful internals, expandable storage and a unique dual-camera system which lets you refocus your photos even after you've pressed the shutter.
First impressions: HTC One (m8) hands-on review
We were at the London event, and have all the details: get the final HTC One (m8) specifications and read up on the first official accessories right here. We'll also be taking a closer look at the Duo camera, and comparing the new model to the 2013 HTC One to see whether existing owners should make the upgrade. In the meantime, make sure to read our in-depth hands on review with the new phone below:
We knew that the HTC (m8) was on its way for months: following a patent dispute with Nokia late last year, a UK patent judge confirmed that a successor to the HTC One would be arriving in either February or March 2014. It seemed like months before we would learn exactly what HTC had in mind for its new phone, but that time has come and gone. You can read all about it above, or catch up on how the rumours unfolded as we reported them.
There were countless leaks and early videos posted online ahead of the launch, so there was little left for HTC to reveal come 3PM. The latest, a 14-minute long clip posted by german YouTube user Hans Meyer showed the phone from just about every angle, with a close look at the new Sense 6.0 user interface and dual rear cameras, although the video has since been taken down.
HTC One 2014 Name
With the previous flagship handset being known simply as the One, it was anyone's guess as to what HTC would call its successor. The company was understood to be using the codename M8 to refer to the phone within the company, which seems unlikely to make it all the way to retail, but stranger things have happened.
We were always doubtful that the company would launch a product called the HTC One Two - it sounds like you'd need to be a premiership footballer or a Chuckle brother to own one. We expected HTC to use a combination of words and numbers, possibly ending up with the HTC One 2, use superscript (HTC One2) or subscript (HTC One2) to stylise the name, or copy Apple's iPhone 5s and use a letter instead.
It was also suggested that the phone would be called the HTC One+, which came following news that the handset would be more of an incremental design than a fully-fledged successor.
Three's webpage briefly revealed the HTC One (m8) name
However, recent leaks from Australian carrier Telstra and UK mobile retailer Three have suggested the phone will either be called the All New HTC One, or the HTC One (m8). With HTC still quiet on an official name, a billboard put on display in London's Selfridges store a little early calling it the HTC One 2014 edition, and a series of teaser videos calling it the All New HTC One, we'll have to wait until the official reveal to find out the final name.
HTC One 2014 design
If there's one thing the original One handset garnered near-universal praise for, it was design. The unibody aluminium construction was almost enough to rival the iPhone 5 and made the Galaxy S4 look like a plastic toy. We were convinced that the company won't take a step backwards and use plastic or polycarbonate for the successor, and early leaked photos backed this up.
The pictures, discovered by Unwiredview, show a rear cover for a handset that looks very similar to the One, albeit with an additional hole towards the top (more on this below).
The design incorporates rounded edges which extend further outwards than the rear cover of the HTC One, which Engadget postulates could be a way to avoid the costly zero gap injection method used to build the One's unibody shell.
Although the images appear to show the cover with a blue colour scheme, it's possible this is just a trick of the light - the official blue HTC One is much brighter, so we expect the final result to be more in keeping with the silver aluminium first seen on the original One.
Multiple colours aren't out of the question; HTC typically launches its flagship handsets in a choice of two colours, then adds extra options further down the line. The HTC One currently has silver, black, red, blue and gold models, so we would expect a successor to follow suit eventually - although probably not at launch.
It's possible that the capacitive buttons won't be making a return; according to Android Revolution HD, HTC's next phone will instead use virtual buttons like the Google Nexus 5, potentially making way for a larger display instead.
These early reports were seemingly backed up by more leaked photos from an unofficial Russian HTC Twitter account, which posted an image reportedly showing the outline of the front of the new handset.
Just weeks before an official launch, a 12-minute leaked video seemingly confirmed the All new HTC One 2014 edition (M8) would indeed have a design based on the HTC One, albeit with a larger screen, slightly more rounded shape and twin rear cameras.
HTC One 2014 screen
The HTC One was among the first set of Android smartphones to make the jump to a 1080p display, alongside Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z, so we're certain its successor won't be making a step back to 720p.
According to an early tweet from @evleaks, the All New HTC One 2014 edition would have the same 4.7in display as the original One, and will stick with a 1080p resolution. However, later reports amended this to a 5in or 5.2in screen.
Although leaked benchmark results suggested the Galaxy S5 would have a 2,560x1,440 resolution screen, Samsung's Unpacked event came and went without a sign of the super high resolution smartphone. Instead, the company stuck with 1080p, so HTC would be on a level playing field when the new handset arrives.
If HTC does increase the size of the screen, it may need to relocate the power button or get rid of the front-facing BoomSound speakers; a top-mounted power button would be even more unwieldy and difficult to reach than it is now on the One.
HTC is almost guaranteed to stick with its Super LCD panel technology too, rather than switch to OLED, as it hasn't used AMOLED technology for several years.
HTC One Camera
HTC was the first manufacturer to use larger pixel camera sensors with the Ultrapixel camera in the HTC One, so it was widely expected the company would continue to use the technology in its new handset. This would give it fewer overall megapixels than competing smartphones, but the ability to capture more detail in low light.
Of all the leaked images seen so far, the biggest surprise was the one suggesting the All New HTC One 2014 Edition may ship with two rear camera sensors. This would either give the handset Lytro-like refocussing abilities, allowing you to change the point of focus after you've taken a photo for more creative shots, or improve low light performance even further than Ultrapixels alone. Toshiba has a smartphone light field camera sensor which suggests this could be a possibility, but with no further details it's unknown who is supplying HTC with the camera modules it is using in the new phone.
The twin LED flash could also use different coloured LEDs for more accurate low-light images, much like Apple's iPhone 5s, although they could simply provide brighter illumination when shooting in the dark.
HTC One 2 specifications
According to very early leaks from @evleaks, the HTC M8 was expected to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip (SoC). This was seemingly backed up by a benchmark result for an unnamed HTC handset, which produced near identical scores to a Sony Xperia Z1 and LG's Snapdragon 800-equipped G2 smartphone. This would suggest it has a similar amount of memory to these two handsets (2GB), although no firm figures have been discovered to verify the fact.
There was a possibility that HTC was hoping to include Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 instead of the 800, with one round of rumours suggesting the company was awaiting drivers from the manufacturer before they could proceed with the swap.
That plan appears to have changed, as the latest leaked specifications have amended this to the newer Snapdragon 801 running at 2.3GHz. It will apparently be paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
Other specifications mentioned in the leak include a larger 2,600mAh battery, up from 2,300mAh in the HTC One, and a microSD card slot. This is only a little surprising, as clearly there was enough demand for expandable storage that HTC brought its previously Asia-only HTC One DualSim to the UK earlier this year.
HTC One 2014 Android
HTC doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to updating its devices with the latest version of Android - just look at the company's update tracker to see how many handsets are still languishing on Android 4.2 or even 4.1. By the time the All New HTC One 2014 Edition arrives, it will hopefully be running 4.4 KitKat, most likely with a new HTC Sense 6.0 custom user interface on top.
We got an early look at Sense 6.0 when a leaked ROM was filmed running on a previous generation HTC One - it appears to have a redesigned look, complete with new motion gestures and a tap-to-wake function similar to the one seen in LG's G2 smartphone.
HTC One 2014 fingerprint sensor
HTC took a leaf out of Apple's book when it added a fingerprint sensor to the HTC One Max - just a few months after the iPhone 5s introduced TouchID. It's currently one of the only Android handsets with biometric security, although it was at one point thought there a good chance the All New HTC One 2014 Edition could join its ranks.
Based on the leaked rear cover photos seen above, a third cutout above the camera sensor and flash could indicate presence of a fingerprint reader. Moving it above the camera, rather than below it like on the One Max, would better suit a smaller handset as your index finger naturally rests toward the top of the handset. It would be easier to reach and you'd be less likely to wipe your finger over the camera sensor.
Unfortunately for the security conscious, it looks as if the third cutout will in fact be for a secondary camera sensor, rather than a fingerprint reader.
HTC One 2014 Wi-Fi
The new handset has now been Wi-Fi certified and appears in the Wi-Fi Alliance certification database, as PhoneArena.com reports. As we'd expect from the latest smartphone, the All New HTC One 2014 Edition supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. We'd have been shocked if this phone wasn't a dual-band model.
The certificate lists the handset has being 802.11ac certified. In our tests we've seen laptops with 802.11ac manage transfer rates of near-on 300Mbit/s, so prospective HTC One 2 owners can expect faster speeds than regular 802.11n if they have a compatible router.
While the type of Wi-Fi in the phone is interesting, the fact that the handset has been certified means something more important: the All New HTC One 2014 Edition (M8) is due for release very soon.
HTC One 2014 accessories
HTC appears to have at least one official cover lined up for the All New HTC One 2014 edition - a perforated flip cover with Lite-Brite styled illumination to display important information such as the time and weather. A leaked image showed four potential colours.
However, if HTC is planning to stick with LCD screen technology rather than AMOLED, it seems unlikely the flip cover will always be on. Whereas AMOLED doesn't use any battery power to display black, meaning a flip-cover like the one seen here would create a minimal battery drain, LCD technology uses backlights that would use much more power. We imagine that you'll need to press the power button to get the display to light up for a few seconds, which would be less demanding on battery power.
HTC One (m8) Mini
With almost every manufacturer now making a smaller version of its flagship handset, it should come as no surprise that HTC is expected to do the same with its new smartphone. Another leak from @EVleaks suggests that the HTC One 2 Mini is on the way, potentially with a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor in place of the dual-core model found in the HTC One mini.
With the One 2's screen size still up in the air, but expected to arrive at between 4.7in and 5in, the One 2 Mini could see a 4.5in, 720p resolution screen. It should also ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, along with HTC's Sense UI in its 6.0 incarnation.
If the HTC One 2/M8 dumps capacitive buttons for on-screen ones, we would expect the One 2 Mini to do the same. Also rumoured for inclusion are a 13-megapixel camera (no ultra pixels here, it seems), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and microSD expansion.
With few details and no leaked images to date, the One 2 Mini could be further away than the One 2. We won't know until HTC makes it official (see below).
HTC also confirmed that Google Play edition of the new phone would be arriving shortly after the standard handset, by mentioning its existence in the description of its HTC Gallery app - now available on the Google Play Store, but incompatible with any phones other than the new HTC One (m8).
HTC One (m8) release date
The HTC One (m8) is available to buy this week, in the UK at least, from a number of high street stores or from the major networks.
Even before a release window was revealed during a patent dispute with Nokia in early December, the common consensus was that HTC would release its next flagship handset on the one year anniversary of the introduction of the One. That was February 2013, so the One 2 is very likely to arrive in February or March 2014.
When lawyers representing Nokia presented evidence to the UK court as part of a patent battle with HTC suggesting the Taiwanese company would release its next flagship in either February or March, HTC's own lawyers didn't deny it. Although not an outright confirmation, it was a firm indication.
We know know exactly when HTC will make the handset official: the 25th of March. The company sent out media invites to two simultaneous briefings in New York and London, confirming that the phone won't be making an appearance at February's Mobile World Congress trade show after all.
HTC One (m8) price
The HTC One (m8) will be going on sale SIM-free for £530 here in the UK, with contract pricing starting from around £38 depending on whether you want 4G, or whether you are willing to pay an upfront fee.
When it first went on sale, the HTC One cost around £500 SIM-free and was available for £40 on a monthly contract. These prices quickly fell, and after just a few weeks you could get a contract handset for under £30 or a pay-as-you-go model for £350. We would expect the All New HTC One 2014 Edition to follow a similar patten, starting at the top end of smartphone prices and sticking there until a worthy competitor arrives.
Until HTC makes the phone official this is of course still very speculative, so we'll update our story as we get more information.
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