HTC's 2014 flagship is coming March 25.
With the 2013 HTC One, HTC ditched the 'X' branding for its flagship high-end smartphone. Now, the company is preparing to launch the follow on to the HTC One. With an event scheduled for March 25, the company has been teasing us about the phone for the last couple of weeks, and leaks and rumors have told us a little about the device already. Read on for a breakdown of the upcoming HTC One refresh based on what we know already.
As is the case with a lot of flagship devices, the rumors surrounding the new HTC One kicked up not too long after the current model was released. The HTC One arrived in the U.S. late in April of 2013, but we were already talking about the next one come November. The reliable Evleaks pegged the device for a Snapdragon 800 chip. Recent benchmarks seem to support that, though we wouldn't be surprised if the device packed the same Snapdragon 801 chip that we saw in the Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress last month.
Rumors and benchmarks suggest we're going to get 2 GB of RAM in the new HTC One. Though that might have seemed like lots at one time, it's slowly becoming the norm for smartphones. Less than two years ago, the Galaxy S III had 1 GB of RAM, and that was considered a high-end device. Now, 1 GB or 1.5 GB seems to be reserved for 'mini' versions of flagship phones. For the record, the 2013 HTC One also had 2 GB of RAM.
More obvious than the slow upward creep of RAM in smartphones is the increase in display size. Though the original 5.3-inch Galaxy Note was considered huge in 2011, most flagship phones are now around that size, with phablets occupying the 5.7- to 6.5-inch territory. Current rumors suggest the 2014 HTC One will have a 5-inch 1080p display. This is a slight bump compared to the screen on last year's model, which measured 4.7 inches. Recent leaked photos also point to on-screen navigation buttons, which the HTC One didn't have.
One of the bigger differences you'll notice right away with the 2014 HTC One is that there are dual cameras on the rear of the device. Unlike the LG Optimus 3D, which had two cameras in order to shoot in 3D, it seems these two cameras will be working in tandem to create better photos as opposed to just 3D images. For example, they can be used to take two photos simultaneously so that you can choose which you prefer. We're eager to hear more about this feature, but we'll probably have to wait until the March event. Even the 12-minute hands on that leaked this week (embedded below) doesn't really go into too much detail on it. Evleaks posted the photo below to his Twitter account. It shows the cameras up close and in detail, but offers no information on the specs or function of each camera.
A teaser video from HTC hints that the device will be even better than its predecessor at capturing images in low light environments. This video didn't offer much in the way of details, just that it would be better than the 2013 model, which can apparently capture 300 percent more light compared to competing devices (no, HTC didn't name names on that).
According to GSMArena, which obtained and photo of a carrier brochure, the new camera will be called the 'Duo Camera.' This camera will allow users to choose the focus point of the photo (similar to the Lytro camera or Nokia's Camera Refocus app) and create bokeh effects. Similar to the HTC Evo 3D, the HTC One will also be able to shoot 3D.
Thanks to a teaser from HTC, we know that the new HTC One will feature the same metal styling as the previous generation. We also know (thanks to the hands on video, that it will have the SIM slot on the opposite side, as well as a microSD slot. Though it looks largely the same as the 2013 HTC One, the video shows that there will be some changes to the chassis. The 2014 model is a darker gray color, and it also looks a little bit shinier. They're not identical, in other words, so you'll be able to tell if your friend is rocking this year's or last year's HTC One pretty easily. We can't wait to get a closer look in a few weeks' time to see how changes in specs and screen size affect the weight and thickness of the phone.
The accessories launching alongside a new smartphone wouldn't usually be much to talk about. However, rumors indicate the HTC One may come with a very unique cover. According to Evleaks, this cover will apparently display the time and weather using colored lights. Presumably, users could also choose to display other notifications, too (such as email, missed calls, or SMS messages).
Rumor has it that this phone is KitKat from launch, which is a relief. At this point, there's not much excuse for launching a phone running Android 4.2 or 4.3 when Android 4.4 has been out since October. Of course, this won't be stock Android, as HTC will be layering its own Sense UI on top. This should be Sense 6.0, but no confirmation on that until March 25. If you're more of a stock Android fan, you might be in luck. Just like last year's version of the HTC One, HTC will apparently also be releasing a Google Play Edition of the 2014 model.
In the mean time, check out this hands on video from YouTube user Nicky Perdaen, which was posted earlier this week:
You can also check out the two teaser videos HTC posted itself. Last week's teaser focused on the phone's sound. The 2013 HTC One featured Beats audio, but it's not clear if the 2014 model will, too. This video offers zero information on the new device (consider that fair warning). Not even a glimpse.
This week, HTC posted a video talking about the metal casing for the phone. Again, no real information here. The definition of a tease.
Droid-Life points to a retail HTC One that just sold on eBay today. The phone is in Verizon-branded packaging (which tells us this phone is, at the very least, going to be available through Big Red), and the listing mentions a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked to 2.3 GHz, 2 GB of DDR2 RAM, 32 GB of storage, MicroSD support for up to 128 GB, a Duo Camera with UltraPixel around the back, a 5-megapixel camera up front, and support 4G LTE. If this is legit, there isn't much that will surprise us come March 25.
We already know an awful lot about the 2014 HTC One, and HTC is going to officially unveil the phone on March 25. But what about the release date? Well, according to one UK retailer, the device will go on sale the same day it's announced, on March 25. That means we're just one week away from general availability.