After weeks of leak after leak, HTC took to the stage in New York City today and formally, officially, unveiled its follow-up to last year’s One: the HTC One M8, set to launch before April 10 at AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, T-Mobile, Bell, and Tellus in North America. But if you don’t want to wait, you can jump onto the websites of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon in the US, or Rogers, Bell, and Tellus in Canada to order the One M8 starting at 1 p.m. Eastern. Verizon will have the One M8 in-stores starting at 1 p.m. today.
Specs and details are still coming out, but as of now, we know that the HTC One M8 is made of 90 percent metal, with a curved back, and a brushed metal finish, which utilizes a special antenna specifically made to work with a metal device. The One M8 has a five-inch display and a Snapdragon 801 processor. The One M8 also features a battery that’ll last 40 percent longer than the previous iteration of the One, also known as the M7. The M8 will also get an extreme power saving mode, which can last up to two weeks without getting charged.
The Duo Camera will do exactly what we’d thought it would: it’ll allow users to take advantage of the Bokeh effect, a photography technique that focuses in on one subject while blurring the other. The reliance on hardware rather than software, says HTC, means that features like the Bokeh effect will work seamlessly. Other manual camera features, like adjusting the ISO and saving different modes, will be built right in as well. The camera will also allow users to add effects to the foreground and background of their photos on the fly, and HTC is opening up the camera api to other developers to see what they come up with.
One of the big pushes with the One M8 is the way it’ll integrate with your life. Lead designer Jonah Becker took to the stage to explain the Sense 6 experience—which the HTC team is jokingly referring to “Sixth Sense.” The new Blinkfeed app will allow users to create custom feeds based on whatever topic you like, and HTC has partnered with developers like Foursquare and Fitbit for personalized data integration. Becker said that Foursquare will send you lunch recommendations based on your location right to your Blinkfeed, while Fitbit will collect your activity data and update your Blinkfeed with milestones.
Sense 6 will also feature a TV app that includes social media integration, channel information, sports scores, and a built-in TV remote. That will also include built in DLNA, allowing users to connect to your home theater system—bypassing the need for a Bluetooth receiver, and a welcome addition for home audio nuts. The One M8 itself will also feature more powerful dual speakers that are 25 percent louder than the M7’s, but without the distortion.
The various gesture-activation features that we’d heard about were also discussed. Double tapping your screen will wake the phone up so you can check the time—double tapping can turn it back off. Picking it up in landscape mode and hitting volume down bounces you right into the camera—hitting the button again takes a photo. If your phone is ringing, you can just pick it up and it answers automatically, freeing up the need to swipe the screen if your hands are otherwise occupied.
Becker also officially unveiled the Dotview case, which we’d seen leaked a few weeks ago. The case will present a dot-based image of the clock, as well as whoever’s calling. The case will allow you to see the clock and answer the phone without taking the case off at all.
All in all, based on what we’ve seen today, the new HTC One seems pretty awesome—and if consumers agree, this handset could be the most successful Android phone released in 2014.
Check back later for some hands-on impressions, and let us know what you think in the comments!