Over the last few weeks Samsung has launched its Galaxy S5, Sony has revealed its Xperia Z2, and HTC has released the One M8. Each of these top flight handsets has its own plus points, and the uniting factor is that they are all vying for your attention if you want to be at the cutting edge right now.
Of course, that will change soon enough. We’re hearing about a possible HTC Prime, and Sony has recently started launching a second flagship handset in the latter part of the year. And other makers will come along with new top of the range phones, too. But for now, those who are after the very best phone they can get have a three way choice. So, is there an obvious best or an obvious worst phone among this trio? Let’s find out.
Many new smartphone shoppers will compare the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, which are about the same size, offer similar high-end features, run Android (with customized user interfaces), and arrived in U.S. retail stores within days of one another. But since I move from iPhone 5s to what henceforth will be referred to as The One, the two devices are uniquely attractive, and both pack bleeding-edge cameras, my comparison is more Apple to oranges. If iPhone 5s is high up your shopping list don't buy without first considering The One. It's my choice, although granted it might not be best for you.
I moved from the original One, the M7, to the 5s a few months ago. You might laugh at the reason. I find that my daughter, who shuns Androids for Apples, is more likely to text message when we both use iPhones. She is away at college. But the 5s, like iPhone 5, immediately disappointed for phone calling. Reception tends to breakup in my neighborhood on both devices, using AT&T or T-Mobile. Calling is superior and adequate on either One, and even better on the Moto X. The One illuminates the Apple's inadequacies, which simply are unacceptable coming from the company that popularized touchscreen smartphones.
Well, hell, someone pinch me and tell me this is April 11th; my calendar says the 10th. Because HTC sent BetaNews email (and tweeted) that the One M8 is available now. I called several AT&T stores, which confirmed sales starting today; Sprint also. T-Mobile launches tomorrow, however. So that tweet isn't quite what it seems: "See it, touch it, believe it. The new HTC One (M8) has landed at retailers nationwide".
Verizon got an early lead, on March 25th. According to HTC, The One "is hitting store shelves at the other U.S. operators today. Customers of all major U.S. operators will now be able to walk into stores and pick-up the HTC One (M8) starting at just $199". That's true for some carriers, but not all. If you're on T-Mobile and willing to wait, The One will be zero dollars down and monthly payments spread over 24 months.
In light of Brian Fagioli's review and Friday's official launch, time comes to ask whether or not you will buy HTC's newest flagship, the M8. The name takes away from powerful connotations that HTC One carries. But maybe there is something to M-eight (you know, Mate). Henceforth, I will refer to this magnificent smartphone as The One. For many of you, it will be.
Brian isn't the only BetaNewser testing The One. I have the T-Mobile variant, which unlike his Verizon model carries no carrier branding. Thank you, Pink! Or is that Magenta? Beauty and the Beast is applicable moniker. The smartphone delights the eyes but challenges the hands, because it is so big. Largely the blame belongs to one of the biggest benefits: The front-facing speakers. For comparison, and I kid you not: The entire length of iPhone 5s is about the same as the length of the HTC smartphone's screen. Right, just the display. The One measures 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm compared to the Apple's 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm.
Smartphones are very personal -- one device cannot fit all. Some people love the phablet craze, declaring enormous devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as the best. However, others will say it is too big. Even more will decry the fact that it runs Android and not their favorite mobile OS of choice, iOS or Windows Phone.
So, in reality, if a reviewer says something is the best, or perfect, it is the best or perfect for them. For you, maybe it would be a poor choice. But, if you do prefer Android, the nice thing is, those devices come in many shapes and sizes, so you can make your own choice. With all of that said, for me, the HTC One (M8) is the best Android phone available and it is damn-near perfect, save for a few minor gripes.
The first ad a company releases for its new product reveals the marketing strategy it pursues. In HTC's case, the first video advert for the new One (M8) tells us nothing concrete about the smartphone.
The ad features actor Gary Oldman, who, while saying "blah" countless times as if he has got nothing interesting to tell us, refers us to the good old Internet to make up our own minds about the One (M8), a smartphone which, per the man's words, "is designed for people who form their own opinions". No wonder the ad is called "Blah Blah Blah - Go Ahead, Ask The Internet".
Earlier today, Mihaita Bamburic wrote about HTC's new smartphone, the One (M8). Here, I am going to convey my initial thoughts and impressions after some hands-on time with the device.
With all the leaked specs, photos, and videos of the HTC One (M8) preceding the announcement, I was worried, before coming to the London launch event, that I would not be too impressed when I finally got the chance to see the phone for real. Thankfully, I was wrong.
After a string of unexciting smartphones, last year, HTC wowed Android fans all over the world with the One. For the first time, in my opinion, a smartphone powered by the little green droid looked attractive. It did not take part in the silly specs race, as, at the time, the display was not the largest in its class, the processor was not the fastest around and it was not even the most compact Android smartphone given its specs. However, it performed well and offered unique software features, which, combined with the stunning looks, made it one of the best-received smartphones of the year. Sadly for HTC, it was not quite the sales success the company hoped it would be.
Because the original One set the bar so high, it will be interesting to see how its successor will stack up. It has pretty high expectations to live up to. Luckily, we do not have to wait long to find out, as HTC just took the wraps off the new One (M8). The name is not as inspiring, but it does pack a fair punch.
HTC is set to show off its new One smartphone at 11 AM ET in NYC today, although thanks to various leaks, we already know a fair bit about it, including that it will have a larger 5-inch display, be powered by a 2.3GHz Snapdragon processor, and sport a brushed stainless finish. The company also accidentally revealed that the smartphone will be available in a Google Play edition.
We’ll obviously post all of the details regarding the new device as soon as it’s officially revealed, but if you want to follow the announcement as it happens, HTC is kindly live streaming the full event.
HTC might have jumped the gun today, ahead of the official unveiling of the new One flagship. The Taiwanese maker just released a number of branded apps on Google Play, meant to bring new features quicker to its Android devices, one of which confirms the soon-to-be-announced smartphone and the availability of a Google Play Edition.
The app in question is called HTC Gallery. According to its description, it "provides you with a range of fast and easy ways to locate your photos", and looks like a replacement for Android's built-in Gallery app.
HTC may be upping the ante by releasing quality smartphones and quickly rolling out Android updates, but the company's not-too-distant past, riddled with less than stellar support, is still taking a toll on its reputation, with sales of the latest smartphones underperforming compared to those of main rivals. The lack of trust is certainly an issue which HTC has to overcome.
The company seems to have found a resolution. To give more credence to its commitment of becoming a trustworthy vendor, HTC has unveiled a new program which is meant for the One, One Max and One Mini, that promises extended software support, accidental damage coverage and other perks like lots of free cloud storage and back-up services.
HTC is a brand that has fallen from the lofty heights it enjoyed just a few years ago. Today, the company releases fourth quarter earnings and the figures do not make for particularly happy reading.
On the positive side of things, the results show HTC managed to break even -- this is good news having suffered losses throughout 2013. It's not great news as profits stand at just NT$0.31 billion, but it's certainly better than a loss.
Nexus smartphones and tablets have developed a cult following among enthusiasts mainly due to Google's ability to deliver updates to the latest versions of Android in a timely manner. The software also has little to no customizations over the code that is available in AOSP, unlike that of many devices that have been offered throughout the years by Android vendors, such as HTC and Samsung. Android enthusiasts often refer to Google's distributions as "pure Android", even though that is no longer the case exactly with the new Nexus 5, that has introduced a launcher not officially found on any of its siblings (or available in AOSP for that matter).
Nexus devices were also supposed to usher Android vendors into releasing smartphones and tablets that adhere to the design guidelines established by Google. This is one area where the search giant's brand has failed to become a trendsetter, as the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung continue to apply their own vision on how their Android handsets should look at the software and hardware levels. Remember how physical buttons were supposed to go away from the front of Android devices? Well, they are still alive and kicking even in 2014 and even on tablets (even though there were clear signs pointing to slates only adopting on-screen keys). It could, therefore, be argued that the Nexus ethos has already ran its course and it is time for Google to move on. So should Google move on?
HTC could be banned from selling its One mini phone in the UK if an appeal against a court ruling fails. Judge Richard Arnold has ruled that several HTC handsets could be removed from sale after a court battle with Nokia over patent infringement claims. HTC has already lodged an appeal against the ruling which has the potential to block the sale of other HTC phones -- although the HTC One managed to escape the ruling.
Nokia had claimed that some of HTC's phones included chips for which the Finnish company owns the patent and back in October the High Court in London found this to be the case. This latest ruling is the next step in Nokia's legal battle, but it is not yet clear whether a ban will definitely be put in place -- this depends on the success, or otherwise, of the appeal.
Even though just a little over a month has passed since Google released the Nexus 5, and even less since Android 4.4 started rolling out to compatible devices, KitKat has already made its way into the Android distribution charts. It is a very impressive achievement considering that it took the third Jelly Bean iteration more than twice as long to enter the charts.
Based on the number of devices accessing Google Play in the seven days ending December 2, the three Jelly Bean iterations continue to dominate the Android landscape with a whopping 54.5 percent share, up from 52.1 percent a month before. Android 4.1 is the most popular distribution, running on 37.4 percent of all registered devices. Its growth is barely noticeable, up from 37.3 percent in early-November.