HTC has rolled the dice in a new battle to try and claw back market share in the brutally competitive smartphone market with an all new version of their much praised HTC One, ironically the struggling Taiwanese Company has chosen the same day that Samsung is launching their new Galaxy S5 to launch their competitor.
The new HTC flagship smartphone, the HTC One M8 of which details have been splashed all over the web for weeks will be available at carriers and retailers in Australia as of April 11.
HTC who are bleeding profits and struggling to find buyers for their products forced journalists to sign non-disclosure agreement or they would not be given access to information about the new device in Australia despite media in the USA and Europe running stories based on HTC leaks.
In Australia it appears that HTC has dumped their PR Company Bite with press briefings now being managed by an in-house HTC manager.
Ben Hodgson who was Country Manager for HTC Australia is no longer returning calls and Jeremy Mathews the former Marketing Manager for the launch of the HTC One has quit the Taiwanese Company to travel around Australia.
As for the new device it has a slightly larger 1080p, 5 inch screen, with 440 ppi, up from 4.7 inches with 468 ppi, and a faster quad-core processor at 2.3GHz, up from 1.7GHz.
It also has a 32GB embedded memory and, unlike its predecessor, features memory card slot, which supports 128GB MicroSD Cards.
At the briefing in Australia media were shown the new device but not given press releases, spec sheets or any images.
The new model offers the same 2GB RAM as its predecessor, described by the company as its best-selling smartphone ever, despite the fact that in the last quarter sales fell 27% their share value 33% and profits 87%.
The phone sports additional hardware upgrades as well as software and cosmetic upgrades. More than 90 percent of the housing is aluminium, compared with the predecessor’s 70 percent, due to the elimination of plastic sides. By making metal sides, HTC was able to incorporate a 128GB MicroSD slot.
Another cosmetic change is a brushed hairline-texture finish.
HTC CEO Peter Chou introduces the new HTC One M8 flagship phone at a New York City press conference overnight.
Camera enhancements include the use of two back cameras to capture depth information and enable special effects, such as blurring a person in the background after a picture is taken. Users can also add special effects, such as colours and sketch lines, just to foreground elements.
HTC claim that the main camera delivers 50 percent faster focusing time at less than 300 milliseconds. Low-light picture taking has also been improved.
Other new camera features include slow-motion HD video capture and the ability to copy and paste people into a photo.
An enhanced photo gallery lets users search for photos by day, month or year, and a new image-match function groups all photos with a specific person in them into one album.
Other upgrades include a Motion Launch feature that lets user’s double-tap the screen to wake up the phone, swipe one way to view the most recently used app, swipe another way to view the BlinkFeed screen, and quick-launch the camera via the side volume button when the phone is held horizontally. The feature also automatically answers a call when the phone is held to the ear.
A Dot View accessory cover, also new and priced at $50 attaches magnetically to the phone and covers the screen with a rubberized flap with multiple perforations. When the phone senses the cover is attached, the phone’s screen reverts to displaying time, weather, and caller ID information viewable through the cover perforations. Users can swipe up or down on the cover to take or reject a call.
A more customizable BlinkFeed feature lets users type out a topic to funnel information feeds on that topic from the web to the home screen. Other upgrades include improved stereo sound from the built-in front speakers, said to offer improved dynamic range, lower distortion and 25 percent greater volume with more sound field depth.
Other improvements include 40 percent longer battery life and an extreme power saver mode that, when available, limits access only to key functions such as calling, email and calculator to conserve energy and extend battery life to at least two weeks. It also reduces screen brightness and turns of data when the screen is off.
The extreme mode can be set to automatically turn on when the battery drains to specific levels. The mode will deliver 60 hours of extra standby time at 20 percent power, 30 hours at 10 percent power and 15 hours at 5 percent power.
Other upgrades include the sixth-generation Sense user interface with a visual makeover and colours that change to let users know where they are in the UI. The UI will be available for current users of any phone in the One series later in the spring.
The new model features 4.3-Ultrapixel back camera whose larger pixels take in more light in low-light situations than standard-size megapixels. The main camera captures 1080p video like before. The front wide-angle camera features 5 megapixels, up from 2.1.
The new model is 0.5mm thicker than its predecessor.
Also new is Cloud-based storage of Zoe videos for sharing with others. Users can also invite friends and family to add their own photos, videos and music to their original Zoe video.
The phone’s HTC Zoe feature, also available in the predecessor phone, lets users simultaneously capture a picture and three-second HD video. The feature turns a photo gallery into a gallery of photos and moving images.
The phone also automatically stitches together multiple Zoe photos and videos into a Highlights Video with background music, transitions and effects.