The all new HTC One will be unveiled officially on March 25th
, but three weeks before that date and just around the Oscars, a drama worth an academy award unveiled. A kid named Roshan Jamkatel got his hands on the new HTC One and posted a full-on 12-minute video preview of the yet unannounced phone, thus breaking an NDA his father (an HTC employee) had signed, but also - breaking a lot of the secrecy around HTC’s next big thing.
Truth be told, there wasn’t all that much secrecy left, as leaked images had already surfaced from all places, revealing the more intense metal design of the new HTC One and its one key feature - a “Duo” camera on its back. There was some, though, as we had seen a lot of still images and a very short video, but nothing like a full-on video preview. Moreover, in the following days, more such short videos surfaced and we even saw a concise walkthrough of HTC's Sense 6.0 user interface.
So what can we say now, what will the new HTC One look like? Read on to find out our recap of all its new features, a look at the “Duo” camera and what it could offer, as well as specs and release date.
“Duo” camera - two cameras on its back
The all new HTC One will be the first phone to feature two cameras on its back. We have actually already seen smartphones with dual rear cameras, but their goal was 3D photography, while the cameras on HTC’s new big thing are said to contribute to improving traditional 2D photography rather than 3D.
The actual process of taking a photograph on the new HTC One actually looks pretty much unchanged - you see a single image through the viewfinder and you tap on a button to capture a picture. The actual benefits of the dual camera become visible once you open a captured image, as you can apply “Duo effects” to the picture. We’d also guess that HTC has bundled in effects like post-capture focusing, a depth map and the possibility to erase objects from an image, but we are yet to see a confirmation about these features. The other changes in the actual shooting process should be in faster focusing and a more pronounced depth of field effect. We have also seen demonstrations showing how the two rear cameras can be used to achieve lossless zoom, but we don’t know whether the camera in the new HTC One will have this feature on board.
The camera interface is also overhauled, and now you can select from six main shooting modes. The regular camera and video modes are what most consumers will use most of the time, but there is also a “Zoe camera”, “Selfie”, “Dual capture” (recording simultaneously on your front and rear cameras), and a “Pan 360” (360-degree panorama) mode.
HTC is also said to still use UltraPixel technology, but in an improved form. That's good news, as we have found the current UltraPixel camera on the HTC One to be sub-par to its peers.
Design: more intense metal
With so many leaked images, it seems clear that the new HTC One will feature a design very similar to the HTC One, with two front-facing speakers and an aluminum unibody, but with an even more intense metal finish, with more pronounced metallic texture.
The all new One should feature a slightly larger, 5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Rather than having capacitive navigation keys below the display, the new flagship will sport on-screen buttons. All in all, the new design looks just a bit larger (both wider and taller) than the 2013 HTC One.
All new interface: Sense 6.0
The new HTC One is expected to ship with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat on board and a re-imagined Sense user interface on top of that. The new Sense is expected to carry the 6.x version, but it is not a huge change over the current one. The most interesting new feature seems to be the added support for 'Motion Launch gestures' like double-tap to wake the phone's display.
The BlinkFeed news aggregator is still a swipe away (but it’s been improved), and now you can swipe twice to see its contents by category. The overall visuals have not changed much either - you still have a vertically scrolling app drawer, dark backgrounds and a similar aesthetic. The two biggest changes are in the camera app and the settings menu. The camera app now has large, round icons that are easy to tap on, and in settings the icons have also been simplified, getting that trendy, flat styling.
Under the hood, the new HTC One is expected to ship with a quad-core Snapdragon 801 system chip (likely, the MSM8974-AB version of it) with 2GB RAM. This is the same chip that powers devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2, (the Z2 has slightly more RAM - 3GB) so it should be more or less on par with the top performers. We’re yet to see detailed benchmarks, but it is only logical to assume that the handset will run even the most demanding of games with ease.
The new and exciting thing under the hood is the added support for expandable storage. The new HTC One should come with a microSD card expansion slot (the current model does not support microSD cards), so you can expand the storage freely.
Official announcement set for March 25th, coming to all carriers
HTC has already set the date for the official unveiling of its next flagship - it’s March 25th, with events simultaneously taking place in New York City and London. The new HTC One has also cleared FCC certification recently, and we have all reasons to believe it will arrive on all four major US carriers - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile - as well as internationally. With all this information, do you feel ready to break the piggy bank and grab HTC's upcoming new big thing?
HTC M8 rumor round-up
HTC M8 rumor round-up
16. HTC's new flagship has surfaced under the HTC M8 and HTC 0P6B120 codenames
17. Twin-sensor main camera: could this be the biggest new feature of the HTC M8?
18. First HTC M8 cases concur with the twin-sensor camera rumor
19. Slightly larger 5” (possibly even 5.2”) 1080p display
The original HTC One launched with a 4.7” display whereas other flagships nearly all had bigger displays. This year, the HTC One 2 is expected to fix that coming with a bigger, likely 5-inch screen.
20. HTC's own UA Prof file confirms 1080p screen resolution
21. HTC One 2 to keep its premium aluminum build with more intense metal
Leaks suggest the One 2 will keep the strategical advantage of aluminum built and even improve on that with a “more intense metal”.
22. HTC One 2 will inherit stereo speakers
The HTC One brought a small revolution in speaker quality and its successor is expected to inherit that with front stereo speakers as well. This time around the Beats Audio optimization that kicks in adding an extra bass oomph is gone, though.
23. (Sadly) HTC One 2 is also expected to still feature only a 4-megapixel (sorry, UltraPixel) camera
HTC One’s UltraPixel camera was a bold experiment, but our tests have concluded it was not a very successful one. Some improvements in night photography are there, but they come at the expense of very low detail and this will likely continue to bug us in the HTC One 2. Hopefully, HTC fixes the unnaturally cold tonality of shots, though!
24. It will be more powerful: a better Snapdragon 800 inside
The One 2 is expected to become the first HTC device with a Snapdragon 800 system chip inside. And not just a simple Snapdragon 800, but the improved quad-core MSM8974AB.
25. Faster 2GB of RAM and up-clocked Adreno 330 graphics
The AB in MSM8974AB stands for faster memory bandwidth and higher clock for the graphical card, all things that would contribute hugely to general performance and gaming.
26. Launching with latest Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6.0 on top
The HTC One 2 is expected to launch with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat on board. It will also be the vessel to first show us the new HTC Sense 6.0 skin.
27. First surprise: it might get a fingerprint scanner right above the camera
A mysterious hole right above the camera in early leaks has puzzled us. It’s not a usual location for a fingerprint scanner, and some have even speculated it might be an opening for a second rear camera. However that seems more like science fiction that a real possibility, so we’d still bet on this being a fingerprint scanner in a strange place. What’s your bet?
28. Second surprise: an unexpected downgrade in storage, down to 16GB at base
What has really surprised us, though, is that early leaks suggest the HTC One 2 might get half the amount of internal storage of the original HTC One. Instead of having 32 gigs on board, it will only feature 16GB if true. That’s a strange downgrade and something HTC will have a hard time explaining to its prospect customers.
29. Could this mean storage would be expandable via microSD?
However, the lower amount of internal storage could still be justified if the HTC One 2 ships with expandable storage. If it has a microSD card slot, many would be willing to forgive HTC that it shipped its flagship with less storage.
30. The big advantage: HTC One 2 to outpace Galaxy S5 with an early release date
The biggest advantage the HTC One 2 holds right now - as per rumors - is that it could launch earlier than the Galaxy S5. If HTC pulls its act together, it could be launch the One 2 a few months earlier than the Galaxy S5 and that would be a key advantage.