With Mobile World Congress 2014 wrapped up, we've still got devices to go through and analyze. Samsung, Sony, Huawei, and a bunch of other companies announced their upcoming devices, accessories, tablets, and whatever else during the event, and whoever had the best of show is entirely up to you. HTC was even on hand at MWC to announce some new stuff, but we all know it wasn't exactly what we are all waiting for.
HTC announced some new hardware, calling it the "flagship of the mid-range," and the general consensus seems to be that the Desire 816 (they also announced the Desire 610) is a perfectly capable device for what it offers, and for the market its supposed to fill. But while that may be true, eyes that are trained on HTC are anticipating another device entirely. A different kind of flagship, if you will. The one that's supposed to give Samsung, Apple, LG, and other high-end device manufacturers a run for their money.
Last year, with the release of the One, the Android army finally received a device that stood out due to its physical construction. Really stood out. The One is still one of the best pieces of Android-based hardware on the market, and the expectations for its successor are enormous. We're all expecting HTC to just keep making great devices, to improve on the fantastic, and to sweep us all off our feet again when they announce what's been called the M8 in the past, but is being hailed as The All New One these days.
But, there seems to be a real chance that the original One could be a one-hit wonder.
If you look at Apple's release schedule, we all know how it works by now. They release their "S" (or "s" now, I guess) variant every other year, and the major upgrade in between. The iPhone 4 was a design change from the iPhone 3G, and the iPhone 5 was a design change from the iPhone 4. The "S" upgrade is meant to change a few things under the hood, improve here and there, but overall it's never meant to be a sweeping change to the year's previous handset.
When it comes to Android, though, the market as been told year-over-year that the next device is meant to be a big change, a huge replacement to the device that came before it. You shouldn't feel bad about upgrading every year, if you go with an Android-based device. But that's changed over the last couple of years. Samsung's shown it, and a lot of people called the Galaxy S 4 the Galaxy S3S. The Galaxy Note 3 was the brunt of many jokes as the Galaxy Note 2S. And now the Galaxy S5 is being called the Galaxy S4S (and sometimes even the Galaxy S3SS).
Honestly, there's nothing wrong with an iterative update from year-to-year if you're in the position to do so. Apple and Samsung are in that position. They've got enough sales, even from just their smartphones alone, that allow them to have these yearly, or bi-yearly refreshes that don't necessarily change the game entirely. They've got time to make the next device even better.
I'm not sure that HTC has that luxury, though. I honestly don't believe that they can take 2014 as a "iterative year," and release The All New One as just a small improvement over the original. Moreover, I don't think they can get away with that if they change the device's hardware design in a bad way. Speaking candidly, the leaks that I've seen of The All New One don't have me that excited for the new design, but I'm holding any final judgments for the final release, and until I can get one in my hand.
The All New One is scheduled to get revealed just under a month from now, and hopefully by then we can see HTC build up to the launch, with advertisements that tease just enough to keep our attention until the big reveal. In the end, though, I hope HTC is ready to really blow the roof off all the buildings, and show the world that they can make one of the best phones ever even better. The All New One has to be that phone. This has to be HTC's hero device.
Do you think they'll pull it off? Let me know!