HTC has a big year ahead when it comes to positively needing a smash hit flagship that will impress the masses. The past two years haven't been kind to the company, with last year being the worst of them with the introduction of the HTC One M9. But if there's one thing we know about HTC it's that they're good at bouncing back from these things.
However, I’m not entirely convinced that this year will be the year HTC bounces back. While leaks and rumors are just that and not solid evidence of anything more, I do find that I still ponder the effects of such rumors if they happen to be true. In HTC’s case, we’re being presented with a flurry of information recently that makes me seriously wonder if the M10 can be the device that brings HTC back.
The first questionable leak I saw was the screenshot from @evleaks of the alleged M10. I was on my phone when I saw the screenshot, so I was quite amused at the image I was mulling over on my iPhone. The “leaked” M10 looks extremely similar to my iPhone 6, from the rounded corners to the singular physical button on the lower end of the phone. I also noticed that the iconic dual front-facing BoomSound speakers that HTC has become known for were missing. In fact, the M10 looks a lot less like your typical M One device and instead looks more like HTC’s One A9, which was released last November. For comparison, this is the leaked M10 on my iPhone 6's screen (although I have a folio case around it and a white tempered glass protector on it, but it's still pretty similar):
The second piece of information we are given through the rumor mill is that HTC may not even announce/release the M10 until sometime after MWC, which is set to take place from February 22-26 this year. Competing companies like Samsung, LG, and Sony are all set to unveil the new Galaxy S7, LG G5, and Xperia Z6, respectively. If HTC were to skip this event for its own special event sometime later in March, I’m not sure it would garner as much attention. Granted it’s better to have a well-developed phone instead of a rushed product riddled with issues, but if HTC could have a well-developed phone in time for MWC I think it would make a difference in HTC’s favor.
I’m not sure why HTC would completely ditch all that they’ve done with the M series in favor of a design that resembles the A9. There was a reason the M7 garnered as much attention as it did, and there was a reason the M9 didn’t, and it wasn’t completely because of similar design.
The M8, for instance, had enough of a design variant for users to easily differentiate between it and the M7. The problem with the M8 was the rear-facing camera keeping the controversial 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera. The M9, on the other hand, changed the rear-facing camera, but kept such a similar design to the M8 that even HTC managed to confuse the two in a Facebook advertisement.
Speaking of advertisements, HTC could probably use a little help in that department, too. Their commercials are quirky and oftentimes end up being completely irrelevant, choosing to make fun of the competition rather than showcasing what their phone does better. It’s akin to political candidates who only bash the opposition in advertisements. “You should vote for me because the other candidate is bad. Here’s why they’re bad,” instead of “You should vote for me because I’m better than the competition. Here’s why I’m awesome.” I don’t know about you, but I never vote for somebody who can only tell me why I shouldn't vote for somebody else.
But back to phones.
So if this M10 design leak is true, I’m not feeling too confident about it. BoomSound was one of the reasons that I sang praises for the M7 in the first place, feeling like HTC was the first company to really make sense of where speaker placement should be on a phone. While I do think the M10 needs a redesign, I’m not sure heading in the same direction of the A9 was the best idea. Although there’s no apparently no branding and no “black bar” that many seemed unimpressed with, and the physical home button likely serves as a fingerprint sensor, I’m just not sure it was worth giving up the speakers for.
As for the rest of the rumored specs (5.1-inch display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with microSD card support, 23-megapixel rear-facing camera and what looks to be a monster front-facing camera of sorts) it could turn out to be a really solid flagship. But aside from that, there doesn’t seem to be anything super special about it, and I think a uniqueness factor is important for a successful flagship.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the rumors swirling around the HTC One M10? Do you hope the design resembles HTC’s A9 rather than past One devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!