The often leaked “Worst Kept Tech Secret of 2014™®©” is now finally officially official. The rumors and leaks have all been true. The M8 will sport the 5″ 1080p LCD, and the Qualcomm 800. The aluminum construction is similar to the M7, with more rounded edges. The BoomSound front facing speakers return, continuing one of the best multimedia experiences available on any phone.
The M7 was over 70% metal unibody, the M8 approaches 90% while also shaving a little girth for a thinner overall effect. Adding a brushed texture to the body adds a touch of style, while it should help reduce the visibility of light scratches and abrasions.
The dual camera set up captures depth information, allowing for some of the focus-after-the-fact tricks we’ve seen from Nokia or Lytro using true binocular view. This also allows for blurrier background bokeh thanks to that extra depth info. You’ll no longer need 3rd party photo editing apps for the effect. The camera API will also be opened up for developers to tinker with.
Continuing with their Ultrapixel experiment, the autofocus will be faster, and there are new dual capture, selfie, and full manual modes like that found on Nokia cameras. Videos can now be paused for “cuts”, and slow-motion video supports full 1080p output.
Funnily enough, the front facing camera has a higher resolution than the rear, and HTC is focusing on HD video improvements for vlogging and video calling.
The sixth version of Sense, nicknamed 6th Sense, sports a cleaner design over its predecessor with more color accents. BlinkFeed is also getting a fresh coat of paint, adding even more content from various blogs and services, and will now be updated directly through Google Play. Both Sense and BlinkFeed will be more location aware, and open to developers. Foursquare can serve up lunch recommendations, Fitbit can incorporate fitness tracking into your layout, and the SDK is now live for more 3rd party developers to jump in.
Instead of Beats or Dolby, HTC is rolling their own software for the speakers on the M8. Thanks to the larger screen, and overall generally larger body, the new speaker chambers should be up to 25% louder than the M7.
According to HTC, battery life is 40% longer on the M8 than on the M7. They’ll soon be releasing an enhanced super power saver mode for extreme conservation.
Sensors run in a low power state, and will respond to gestures, which you can train to take you to apps or BlinkFeed. Holding the phone up to your ear will answer a call. Double-tapping the screen will show you the time, and the volume down button will launch the camera.
HTC One, One Mini, and One Max owners will also receive updates to 6th Sense later this Spring. The HTC One M8 will be available in over 100 countries before the end of April, and they’re promising support for accidental damage in the event of damaged screens. USA availability should extend to all major carriers by April 10th, but starting today at 1pm eastern time, the HTC One will be available to ship today from AT&T and Sprint web sites, and it is physically in stock at Verizon Wireless stores.
All in all, this looks like a solid update to last years M7 (named my favorite Android phone of last year). You can see more of the M8 design in the video embedded below!