If you've been following my articles for the past year, you probably know that I've had this massive tech crush on the HTC One since its release. The phone first drew me in with its unique beauty that I considered uncomparable to other Androids, and it just so happened that it was a device that had more to offer than just physical beauty - it was a phone with brains as well. The design, the specs, and everything that made up HTC's 2013 flagship was unexpected to say the least, but certainly not unwelcome.
I'm not the only one that sang praises about the device, either. Depending on how much you depend on our Official Smartphone Rankings to gauge what smartphone ranks where, you probably know that the HTC One was reigning in at number one for weeks on end; even if you're not a big fan of our weekly OSR, the amount of praise sang for the HTC One from tech bloggers everywhere is just a few web searches away. After about a two-year dry spell from being able to release any truly noteworthy flagship device, HTC surprised everybody with the HTC One last year. While they might not have made any record-breaking profits from the One, HTC should still be proud of what they did manage to accomplish with just that one device.
However, that means that continuing on this year means there is little to no room for error. If HTC wants to continue on the upward climb that they're heading in, they can't have another flop year after their one good year. No matter how good the HTC One was last year, it's still a device that's a year old now - meaning it will be old news fast once new flagships start coming out. Of course, HTC will also have a follow-up flagship come out this year, likely the rumored HTC M8. And with the release of the M8 also comes a mountain of pressure for the company to keep up with its own product.
The HTC One's biggest competition last year, the Samsung Galaxy S4, was another popular smartphone in 2013. Presumably, the Galaxy S5 and the HTC M8 will once again be top rivals this year, and if that is true, the M8 might have to bring more to the table than just another metal unibody design, as the Galaxy S5 might be dropping the whole plastic charade and going with a similar design of its own. The HTC One's metal unibody design was one of the main differences between it and the Galaxy S4; aside from that, it largely depended on whether you preferred Sense UI over TouchWiz, or whether you believed that their new 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera was better than Samsung's 13-megapixel camera. Well, there were a few other key differences too. Actually, they're not really that similar at all aside from both being flagship devices.
But it's a new year now, which means out with the old and in with the new - and we mean new. The Galaxy S4 got lucky by having a lot of similar features to the Galaxy S III and still managed to win a popularity vote, but this year the Galaxy S5 is already gearing up to have some big changes with a rumored redesign of TouchWiz, a rumored body redesign, and more. The big question now is whether the M8 will be able to hold up to the Galaxy S5 or not. Last year, HTC had a leg up by using the One as its first device to show off their new Sense 5, but it doesn't look like Sense is getting any huge upgrades this year so far. In fact, all I have really seen leaked for the M8 is that it will get rid of capacitive buttons in favor of on-screen buttons and perhaps an increase in screen size to a 5-inch display. If HTC is planning something huge with the M8, they're keeping pretty mum about it.
HTC needs to have another good year. There were a lot of great aspects of the HTC One that I hope they keep with the M8, but I think there still needs to be some changes made in order to spark people's interest in their new flagship as well. I really hope that HTC has some pleasant surprises for us with the M8, because I know a lot of people have their eyes set on the device. I might be setting myself up for failure by expecting great things from HTC already, but if they were able to produce the HTC One out of thin air, I expect that they can do it again with the M8.
Please don't let my initial reaction of the M8 be a facepalm; I have faith in you, HTC (and not to mention facepalms hurt).