HTC finally unveiled its new flagship device — the HTC One M8 — today during an hour-long press conference in New York, and based on initial reviews, critics believe HTC has done it again: It has made one of the best Android phone on the market.
But is getting those ringing endorsements in today’s Apple and Samsung-dominated world enough?
Last year, the Taiwanese handset manufacturer was also known for building the best Android phone on the market. Even still, it was squeezed out by Apple and Samsung’s magnificently gigantic marketing budgets. HTC has everything riding on this launch, and the pressure was evident by comments made by HTC America’s President Jason Mackenzie, who is hoping customers can see through the hype:
“It’s so much better than a plastic phone, and throwing a few dimples on the back and then masking it all with expensive advertising,” said Mackenzie, who was making a subtle jab at Samsung. “That’s what I’m talking about, that’s HTC’s style — getting the maximum value in our customer’s hands.”
The phone is available today at 10 a.m. at Verizon Wireless stores and online. AT&T and Sprint will be selling the phone only online, and in stores on April 11. The 16GB model will cost $199, while the 32GB model comes in at $249. Without a contract, it costs $649. T-Mobile won’t sell the device until some time next month (Update: T-Mobile says it will also have it available in-store and online on April 11). The phone will be HTC’s single largest roll-out ever, eventually landing in 100 countries with 230 carriers.
Some of the hardware specs that make the phone stand out is the all-aluminum body, the five-inch screen, a new camera set-up that allows for new professional-looking depth-of-field photos, a long-lasting battery life, and an upgraded software package that gives it the HTC flavor. For instance, BlinkFeed will allow apps like Foursquare and Fitbit to push data to your home screen.
But HTC is about to find out if making the best Android phone on the market is enough to dig it out of a very deep hole. At the end of 2013, HTC’s market share was well below 10 percent, and the company had posted its first ever quarterly loss.
So, is the phone the right one for you? Here’s what some of the critics are saying about it:
— BGR: Raves that the HTC One M8 is the smartphone that changes everything — again! [BGR]
— The Verge: Gives it an 8.5 out of 10. It likes its gorgeous industrial design and great performance, but says camera performance is weak, inconsistent. [The Verge.]
— Engadget: Calls it a great phone, but no longer a game-changer. [Engadget]
— Recode: Walt Mossberg says while the phone is clearly evolutionary, but not revolutionary. He recommends the phone to Android fans, or to iPhone owners looking for a well-built phone with a bigger screen. [Recode]