Over the past couple of years, one company has managed to redeem my faith in two things: the company itself, and the operating system that it primarily represents. That company is HTC.
When I first really started using smartphones, HTC was my favorite manufacturer. I liked the HTC MyTouch 3G Slide and I liked my HTC EVO 4G... for the most part. The real problems started coming in when I moved from the EVO 4G to the EVO 3D, which was probably the most gimmicky smartphone I’ve ever purchased. It was also around that time when HTC started to really fall through the cracks with their Android devices. They released a ton of phones, and seemed to have trouble keeping up with updates on all of them. Then Samsung moved in and crushed the competition with the Galaxy S line, particularly the Galaxy S III. HTC was going to have to play a hard game to get back to where they were.
And suddenly, one fateful day in 2013, the HTC One showed up. Just the HTC One. Not the One X, or the One X+, or the One SV, or the One VX, or any of those other confusing names that followed HTC’s previous line of One devices. Just... One. Not only was the name simple, but the device itself was rather incredible. The phone’s design was widely regarded as one of the most “premium” designs that this side of Android has ever seen, and the specs were on par with other flagships being released at the time. There was also the introduction of BlinkFeed, Zoe, HTC’s UltraPixel Camera, and dual front-facing BoomSound speakers. HTC wasn’t messing around when they released the One.
As I mentioned the other day in my article calling for Apple to release a dark theme for iOS, I briefly mentioned that when I decided it was time to leave my beloved iPhone 4S I ended up switching to the HTC One (M7). It was a debate between the One and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 at the time, and although I had initially chosen the S4, I realized before it was too late that I would really rather have the One instead. The HTC One was the phone that helped me fall back in love with Android, and also with HTC.
When the HTC One (M8) was released the following year, I had the privilege of doing a 30-day challenge on the device. HTC still managed to impress me with the M8 for the most part, but I did mention a time or two where I had wished that the 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera had been upgraded as it was probably the most controversial aspect of the original HTC One to begin with. Larger sensors or not, many people are not swayed by the “4-megapixel” number that rests quietly underneath the UltraPixel name.
According to recent reports, though, that might be the first thing to change when it comes to the HTC M9. Rumor has it that the M9 will feature a 20-megapixel camera on the back of the device, with HTC’s UltraPixel camera making its way to the front of the device. Additionally, rumors also claim that the M9 will feature an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, which is very powerful.
As for the design? Allegedly, the M9 will feature a design that is similar to the M8, which had a design that was similar to the M7 (albeit slightly larger). If you put an M7 next to an M8, you’ll notice a couple of key differences, but you can tell that they come from the same line.
My question now is whether the change in camera and upgraded processor will be enough to make the M9 just as popular as its two predecessors?
In the case of HTC’s One line, I actually don’t think that a lack of a major design overhaul is something that a lot of people are concerned about right now. The design of the One is already unique compared to what else is offered on the market. Given that its made out of aluminum, the phone is considered rather premium in build. I also haven’t noticed an overwhelming demand for HTC to change the way they design their phones, so that’s probably another reason why HTC has (possibly) decided to roll another year with a similar design.
I think that, should the rumors prove to be true, HTC is making the right move by focusing on changing the camera above all else. The UltraPixel idea was good for a test run the first year, and I think a bit of a stretch the second, but I don’t think a third year with the same camera would make for good sales at all. Coupling that with the possibility of such a powerful processor, I think this year’s version of the One may be the One that many have been waiting for.