Alison K. Lanier
In the continuous wave of new phones, each one vaguely adapts and improves the features of the last. However, there might actually be a novel contender this year for a phone with genuine innovation. As the HTC One M8 was presented at its HTC One Live Launch in New York, it is apparent that the new little phone is intended to be far more than an upgrade on the past model.
HTC touts its newest brainchild as “the pinnacle of smartphone design,” a grandiose tagline that underlines the phone’s presentation as a new benchmark in smartphone design and functionality.
The HTC One is repeatedly being labeled the flagship of HTC’s new drive to be benchmark, rather than just a competitor to Apple. The real difference, said Android Central, is software. The Google Play edition leaves very little of what Android Central calls HTC code left over after the software’s sleek Google makeover.
A New Beast, Inside and Out
Structurally the HTC One uses a new type of case, one closer to fully metallic, according to the Launch description. The characteristic beauty of a big HTC screen is fully present in the new flagship model, with a 5.1-inch 1080 Super LCD, versus the iPhone’s 4-inch, less pixel-dense screen.
As Gotta Be Mobile described in its review of the device, the Google Play Edition software in the HTC One looks “absolutely nothing like stock Android.” The phone utilizes, as the launch’s speakers describe with bravado, what HTC terms its “Blinkfeed,” a new delivery system for data from multiple apps. Drawing from Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and so on, the Blinkfeed occupies an entire home screen on the HTC, condensing and streaming the various social media and news outlet data that assails users in fragments from the various apps.
The phone’s new camera settings are another central selling point. A good portion of the launch’s flashy graphic displays focused on the unique three-camera array. Fun user settings—particularly suited to Instagram fanatics—also appear in the phone’s host of custom user settings for camera, with selfie and ISO modes specialized to the user’s needs with a spectacularly high-quality front-facing camera.
The phone’s video software offers a pause, reframe, and resume feature to allow for a kind of in the moment editing suite for users who want to upload directly a more polished and specific social-media product to their followers. It also uses an HD slow-motion mode. A new photo timeline search automatically sorts by time and, in a new twist, by recognizing friends’ faces, which HTC calls an “image match” in its launch event. You can now search for photos of a specific person, or simply browse the custom folder your new HTC One M8 creates to house all its recognized photos of that given friend.
The phone has a 5 mega-pixel wide angle front or “selfie” camera, as IGN dubs it, sharper quality than the 4 mega-pixel back camera. The second detail-depth camera on the back “understands what it’s looking at,” according to the launch, sorting through closer and farther objects in the photographs. That revolutionary camera array, which IGN calls an “oddball” is standing up against the 8 megapixel iPhone and the 16 megapixel Galaxy S5.
Delving into Details
Structurally the phone uses HTC’s first almost-entirely metal casing, which the company took pains to show to its best, sleekest advantage in its Live Launch video. The company’s experience with the previous plastic-and-metal structure of its M7 is evident in its beautifully designed new metal casing. With an elegant curve design, it eliminates some of the clunkiness of the previous beveled model. Mixed with a new nano-SIM and a micro SD card, the design is all down-sized efficiency and futuristic sleekness.
The ever-nagging issue of smartphone battery life is at least partially addressed with the double-tag to wake feature, or the phone’s ability to recognize a wake-up gesture in front of its face.
Of course claiming to be the new benchmark for smartphones is a bit of a tall order when many of these features are variations—if improvements—on the existing model. And the existing standard is, of course, the iPhone. As Tuaw dubs it, the “HTC One M8 is an Android phone made for iPhone lovers.”
Tuaw raves, “It’s the first Android phone I’ve ever held that I could mistake for an Apple product. That’s the biggest compliment I could ever give.” HTC’s main competitor is, of course, the Apple iPhone 5S, and there are far from a few hurdles between the HTC’s promises and its ability to revamp an alternative standard to the iconic Apple model.
More To Read: