I think we can all agree that one of the most important aspects of today’s smartphones is the camera. I mean yeah, there are other important things like apps, processing power, internal storage and whatnot, but the camera on smartphones has finally gotten to a point where it’s not uncommon to find one that’s good enough to fully replace your digital rooty tooty point-and-shooty. Even then, however, you still come across some smartphones (flagships, even) that tend to focus on other features and not so much the camera. They can’t all be winners, I guess.
HTC may be considered one of those manufacturers when it comes to the camera they choose to implement in their latest flagship, the HTC One. First seen in the HTC One (M7) earlier in 2013 and then again in the M8 earlier this year, HTC opted to go against the grain by using a 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera. In a world where most smartphone cameras are advertised with an 8-megapixel count or higher, a measly 4 seemed somewhat... 2009-ish. UltraPixel or not, what people have been taught over the past several years is that the higher the megapixel count, the better the photos turned out. While some people (myself included) think that HTC’s UltraPixel camera works perfectly well (and even better than some cameras with higher megapixel count, in my opinion) others simply can’t be bothered. Who can blame them? Most of the time you get one, maybe two chances at choosing the perfect smartphone for you when you upgrade. You’re likely stuck with this device for two years. Not a whole lot of room for playing with fire there.
I’m pretty sure they knew that this was a risky move the first time, and a riskier move the second. I think most of us expected the M8 to have a camera improvement, at least to something more along the lines to what we typically see today. Maybe it didn’t have to be 16, 20, or 41-megapixels, but an 8-megapixel UltraPixel camera sounds a lot more doable than a 4-megapixel one, doesn’t it? But they chose to go with 4-megapixels once again. As it turns out, maybe HTC isn’t as confident in their decision the second time around as we would have thought.
News reports surface of a mysterious ‘HTC M8_EYE’ device, which several leaks suggest would feature a 13-megapixel camera. If the name is any indication at what we’re looking at, well... it looks like another rehashed M8 with a better camera, and it is guesstimated to arrive sometime in late Q4, perhaps around the holidays. While an M8 with a better camera does sound like it could significantly boost the morale surrounding the phone (even more so), I can’t help but feel that it would need a lot more than a better camera to actually sell well. HTC should have released an M8 with a 13-megapixel camera earlier this year, or should wait to release it with the next generation HTC One. A late Q4 release would just be bizarre, and possibly a little aggravating for people who already purchased the original M8 earlier this year.
A late, same-year release might also make it seem like HTC is agreeing with all of the people who said that a 4-megapixel camera really wasn’t enough; not to say that a company shouldn’t be allowed to admit to and fix any mistakes, but... it’s kind of one of those what’s done is done deals.
Most of this year’s highly anticipated line-up has already been released (fingers still crossed for a new Nexus 6 though, am I right?) and people who have been waiting for a new phone are already on the prowl. HTC might be able to snag up some holiday shoppers, but aside from that I don’t see much coming out of this. Might as well make the HTC One M9 a super spectacular debut instead of trying to drag out the M8.