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HTC flagship smartphone focuses on good looks

The HTC One M8

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has launched a flagship smartphone, the One M8, focusing on the build quality and user experience of the device in an attempt to distinguish the handset from rivals.

One of the defining features of the HTC One M8 is its metal body. The Taiwanese firm claims that metal bodies have not been traditionally used for smartphones because the metal can inhibit the effectiveness of the phone’s antenna. However, HTC claims to have overcome that obstacle by integrating antennae into the metal body and as a result 90 per cent of the back housing of the HTC One M8 is metal.

The handset also has a “duo camera” – essentially two rear facing cameras – which according to HTC, allows the camera to capture detailed depth information from a scene.

The firm has also increased the One M8’s battery power to last 40 per cent longer than its predecessor the One M7.

The LTE-ready device has a 5 inch screen with a 1080p HD display. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.3 GHz quad-core Krait CPUs and runs Android 4.4 KitKat as well as the latest version of the firm’s smartphone UI skin HTC Sense 6.

The device has now been launched in the UK and from April 4th 2014, will be available across the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It will be available in over 100 countries through more than 230 operators when fully launched.

Julian Jest, research analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said thatthe device’s good looks will be crucial in attracting the attention of consumers”. However he warned that HTC cannot afford to rely on this solely.

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“HTC needs to be proactive in engaging with mobile operators and handset retailers to ensure that sales assistants are adequately trained on how to demonstrate the technology.”

Meanwhile, Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, labelled the handset “a make or break device” for HTC.

“A key goal for HTC will be to capture consumers upgrading from a Samsung Galaxy S3. Launching the HTC One M8 with immediate availability means it hits the shops ahead of new devices from arch rivals including Samsung and Sony. Luring only a small proportion of these customers would be a significant step in the right direction,” he said.

Wood added that although HTC’s marketing budget pales in comparison to Samsung’s, its campaign is significantly more focused than last year’s launch.

“This will prove essential as HTC tries to highlight its key features. While HTC still has a mountain to climb as it tries to recover its position in the smartphone market, early indications are encouraging. However, there is no room for complacency.”

And IHS mobile analyst Daniel Gleeson voiced his concern about the firm’s reluctance to branch out of handsets into accessories and peripherals.

“Unlike almost all of its competitors in the Android space, HTC lacks any smart peripherals to pair with its handsets,” he said. “HTC has promised a smart watch is coming in the second half of 2014. In the meantime, its lack of smart accessories could be a big factor in its battle with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2.”

 

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