At an event in London today, HTC revealed its new flagship smartphone with Duo Camera and Motion Launch technology, and announced that its popular BlinkFeed service will soon be available on other HTC Android devices.
Perhaps to redeem itself, the Taiwanese smartphone-maker is giving the HTC One a second try with a new edition for 2014.
Encased in a durable metal unibody that tapers at the edges, the new HTC One (also known as the M8) houses a 5-inch 1080p full-HD display and a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor.
It runs on the latest version of Android, 4.4, and HTC’s updated UI, HTC Sense 6, though a stock Android experience will be available from the Google Play Store in coming weeks.
The 4G-enabled HTC One (M8) will be available in gun-metal grey, silver and gold, rolling out in Ireland from 3 April from Carphone Warehouse, Three, O2, Meteor and Vodafone.
New and improved features
The body of the new HTC One features softer curves, offering a more natural grip than its predecessor. With the addition of a smart sensor hub, the new edition features Motion Launch technology, which detects the phone’s position and movement to allow for more fluid control. For example, Auto Answer will let you answer a call simply by bringing the phone to your ear.
Having launched on the original HTC One, BlinkFeed returns on the new device, but other HTC Android users will also get the benefit of this news and social content aggregator as an app will soon be made available on Google Play.
The latest version of BlinkFeed features continuous scrolling, adaptable tiles and a new layout to optimise the reading experience. HTC already has over 1,000 content partners involved with BlinkFeed and news bundles lets users easily group articles and tweets on one topic together.
BoomSound audio also makes its return on the HTC One (M8), this time 25pc louder to make the most of those dual frontal stereo speakers and a new amplifier.
HTC continues to improve its flagship’s power consumption with the M8 battery lasting 40pc longer than the original HTC One. A new mode called Extreme Power Saving will extend battery power for even longer, offering up to two weeks of power for basic operations like receiving calls, texts and emails – an outstanding promise for those who know they won’t be near an outlet for a daily recharge.
The M8 also builds on the second-screen TV experience with Sense TV and a partnership with Fitbit will see this app preloaded on devices in select markets, syncing fitness goals and achievements to the BlinkFeed home screen.
The most significant improvement HTC has made on the original HTC One is the camera. The M8 features a Duo Camera, which couples the UltraPixel module introduced on the earlier device with a depth sensor that captures additional information within a single shot.
Thanks to this dual-camera functionality, a UFocus feature will allow users to refocus an image after it has been taken, Foregrounder lets them alter the background with creative effects, while Dimension Plus lets them see images from different angles by tilting the screen.
HTC claims the new camera works behind the scenes to capture images from launch so, by the time the shutter is activated, the sharpest possible image is captured.
The camera also shoots with an intelligent dual-LED flash that automatically adjusts colour tone and light intensity to suit the setting. For video recording, the new HTC One offers full-HD 1080p recording, as well as HD slo-mo video capture, wherein users can choose the moment to slow down the action after shooting.
Other fun camera effects allow users to transplant people from one picture to another using a Copy and Paste feature coming to Google Play soon, or animate an image to suite the season. On top of that, there's a generous 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera for high-quality selfies.
HTC has also tried to improve the phone’s photo gallery with Image Match, which will gather up all the photos containing a particular subject in one album.
Finally, the Zoe shooting mode introduced last year will become a cloud-based collaborative sharing platform in 2014, with the Zoe app coming soon to Google Play.
UPDATED 26 March 2014 at 9.33am: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that BlinkFeed will be made available to other Android users via an app on Google Play. HTC has since clarified that the BlinkFeed app will only be available to Android users with HTC devices.