HTC launched the new One M8 this morning, and we were on the ground. Read through our live blog for a look back on HTC’s biggest phone announcement of 2014 as it happened.
All times are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
We’re seated in freezing New York City (seriously, it’s 0-degrees Celcius right now verging on snow), and we’re here for the launch of the next HTC One.
Here we go!
Peter Chou, HTC CEO is up. It’s a giant catwalk stage and he’s strutting.
Usual “we’re great, ra-ra” stuff to kick off with.
Here it is! The new HTC One M8.
Yep. It’s really called that. Mostly because the internal code name for the last phone was the HTC One M7.
We’re talking about design right now. It has a sexy gunmetal finish, two cameras, front-facing Boomsound features and the new Sense 6.
Metal is back with the new HTC One, given that the entire chassis of the phone is cupped and coated in metal.
The grey model is the particularly pretty one.
It’s treated with a fine hairline brush finish, which has been designed to look like a luxury watch according to HTC. It has diamond-polished chamfered edges similar to your iPhone 5s, sandblasted sides and a series of laser-drill holes for the front-facing Boomsound speakers.
The dual-camera is real! Would we be right in saying that this is the first dual-camera on a smartphone?
The dual-camera is there to add depth information to your photos for better immersion and 3D.
Jonah Becker, the VP of design is up right now talking about how he made it pretty.
“We design for exceptional people who think for themselves,” he says. You heard him, Scientologists. No HTC for you. (Don’t sue us, please)
“Last year for the HTC one, we started from scratch,” Jonah says. This year, they bought a photocopier it seems.
There are gentler curves and softer surfacing for the metal. The phone is now mostly metal, which is pretty challenging considering that if you screw it up, you make a very pretty signal-less brick.
Everyone keeps comparing it to fine jewellery. Careful, HTC. We’re close to approaching peak design wank.
Sense Six is here.
Sense has been completely redesigned for the sixth version, with more blank space.
Different menus have now also been given different colour coding so you know where you are. Blue for productivity, orange for entertainment and green for information.
Blinkfeed has also been redesigned, and it’s being opened up to developers now. Foursquare can now publish lunch recommendations straight into your Blinkfeed (scary) and Fitbit is using the HTC One as your activity tracker.
The software kit is available from today.
We’re now talking about TV. Sense TV’s new visual layout makes it easier to find out what’s on TV, while integrating real-time social feeds and sports stats into the app.
The top of the device is also the IR blaster so you can control your TV.
There’s a new multi-band amplifier for better range, and redesigned speaker chambers also provide more depth and clearer audio.
Swiping up with three fingers from anywhere in the device now brings up a global connect sheet that lets you throw the audio to any wireless Hi-Fi or speaker system.
HTC promises a 40 per cent longer battery life on the new One M8. We’ll see how that goes.
There’s a new Dotview case which flips over your screen and allows it to shine through the flip cover to give you a new way to view your phone while it’s locked. Nifty.
The new Ultrapixel camera captures more light than ever before, and can autofocus a shot within .3 of a second. Look out Galaxy S5: HTC is coming.
There’s also a new photos app which allows you to find photos of your friends intelligently and create a bespoke gallery just for photos of them.
Oh God I may barf. There’s a camera specifically geared for ‘selfies’. Gross.
Having said that, there’s a 5-megapixel f2.0 front-facing camera on your new One M8. So there’s that.
We’re now talking about the dual-camera.
HTC wants to give you a Bokeh effect on your phone thanks to the phone’s ability to figure out who’s in the background and foreground of the photo. The dual-camera builds that right into the device’s image info file so it does it in a second.
HTC Zoe is back, and it’s better than ever. It now does everything at one click: all you do is tap and hold the Zoe button to start recording video, and it also snaps a massive photo burst within the first three seconds.
Zoe is also going to be a standalone app for photo and video moments. It’s coming to Android and iPhone soon.
Speaking of apps, HTC will now be able to push out updates to Sense and all the other first-party apps on the new device via Google Play so you won’t have to wait forever between software updates. Nice.
No word yet on whether the old HTC One M7 will be left behind when it comes to Sense. We’ll keep you updated.
So here’s the release info. Forget the US release date: we’ve got Aussie info!
Vodafone, Telstra and Optus will carry the device “before the end of April”.
It’s also available in 100+ countries on 230 carriers around the world.
Existing HTC One (One, One Mini or One Max) customers will get a software update for Sense 6 in a few weeks.
There’s a new program called HTC Advantage. Basically, you’ll get fast updates of Sense and Android guaranteed for two years.
HTC will also fix cracked displays within six months of purchase for free. We’ll find out whether or not that’s an Australian thing or not.
Update: NOPE! Aussies won’t get access to the smashed screen repair program. That’s US-only.
And that’s a wrap! We’ll have a hands-on of the device up at 9am AEDT on the dot! Thanks for joining us.
Refresh this page periodically for the latest info!
Luke Hopewell travelled to New York as a guest of HTC.