HTC One (M8) release date, rumours and everything you need to know (updated)

The HTC One (m8) is set to be launched later today, but what can we expect? We've been following the rumours for the last 6 months pulling it all together and updating this article regularly, giving you a one-stop for all the news, cutting through the speculation to paint a picture of what we can expect later. 

HTC One name

At the launch of the HTC One, HTC made it clear that the name was important and that HTC One was going to be the name of its flagship handset moving forward. Since then Carphone Warehouse, Three, and Vodafone in the UK have all publicly listed the phone as the HTC One (m8). 

HTC One (2014) release date

The new HTC One (m8) will be announced on 25 March at a launch event in London and New York. HTC has issued invitations to the event where the M8 is expected to be formally announced. Tweeting the news, HTC simply said "The best is about to get better".

HTC kept up the "best" message through Mobile World Congress 2014, taking the time to troll Samsung at the SGS5 launch.

This timeframe was initially ratified by the Hon Mr Justice Arnold, the judge presiding in the patent case between Nokia and HTC, with the hearing report stating: "HTC is close to launching the successor flagship model to the HTC One.

HTC and Carphone Warehouse have both also confirmed that you'll be able to buy it today straight after the event. Exciting. 

New HTC One specifications

A number of rumours have pointed to the specs that the M8 may bring with it. The first run matched our own early predictions, with serial leaker @evleaks suggesting that the HTC M8 would have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel display (440ppi).

This has subsequently been followed up with the HTC M8 bagging an AnTuTu benchmarking score. Revealed in the process is a run down of the specs for the tested device. Those again include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and mention of that 5-inch full HD display.

With Qualcomm announcing the Snapdragon 801 at MWC 2014, and the Sony Xperia Z2 and SGS5 both using that chipset, it's likely the HTC One will follow suit.

We've recently seen a new version of the 2013 HTC One released, offering dual SIM and microSD card support. The option to add additional external storage would be a great bonus for HTC's flagship handset in 2014, as it's been something that rivals, like those from Samsung, have offered for some time. 

A recent round-up of HTC One specs from LlabTooFeR claims that HTC will reduce the internal storage to 16GB, but add microSD card support to all models, potentially up to microSDXC 2TB levels. Higher capacity internal storage may follow after launch.

We'd fully expect BoomSound to be in place with twin front-facing speakers. This is where the HTC One is easily the best class and with Beats parting ways with HTC, we'd expect HTC to continue pushing its own audio innovations.

Multiple videos, including a 12-minute video walkthrough by YouTube user "GadgetReviews", offer a detailed look at the HTC One M8.

HTC One camera

Also revealed in the AnTuTu results is a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera and 4-megapixel rear camera. The front sounds par for the course of HTC's latest devices and that 4-megapixel camera matches those of the UltraPixel camera introduced on the HTC One (2013).

More recently, an informant told Bloomberg that the new HTC One would have twin camera sensors on the rear, with the aim of improving the focus, image quality and "depth of field". Dual cameras on the rear of the HTC One have been spotted on various leaked photos and we've had it confirmed through our own sources that a 4MP UltraPixel camer will be joined by a 2MP camera. We even found a component doing just that at Mobile World Congress.

The camera on the HTC One brought with it some clever features, but also attracted a fair amount of criticism when it came to straight performance, especially when set against some rivals. The current rumours suggest that the UltraPixel camera won't see a change in resolution, so it remains to be seen how it will step-up performance to compete with the likes of Nokia and Apple, who have been widely praised for camera performance on recent models.

READ: HTC One camera review

The latest snippet of gossip is that HTC is looking at adding a 5-megapixel camera to the front of the M8. That will bring with it more enhanced selfie capabilities. Although the AnTuTu benchmark we mention above says 2.1MP, we know that device manufacturers experiment with a number of different hardware configurations in devices in the run up to launch.

HTC M8 design

Of all the features of the existing HTC One, it's the design that has been widely lauded. The high-quality finish of the handset has won it a lot of admiring fans, picking up numerous awards in the process.

Judging by the leaked shots and now videos the HTC One will follow the same sort of design lines, with a premium aluminium finish. Initially, a hastily taken casing photo appeared online, claiming to be the next HTC One handset and raised more questions than answers with the two rear camera holes. However, as the leaks have fleshed-out a dual sensor system, that's now explained to a certain degree.

This pair of images from @htcfamily_ru looks a lot more convincing than other leaks, and we believe them to be the final HTC One hardware that will hit the shelves. There are several obscured sections, which are probably the pre-production markings that HTC adds to devices. The left image appears in a flip case, but it shows a design very similar to the current HTC One.

The biggest hardware design change to the front appears to be a repositioning of the front light and proximity sensors next to the camera. It's a less attractive design than the original and the only reason as can think of is the make those sensors more central to make it better at knowing when the phone is next to your face. On the original HTC one, the far left-hand positioning meant that using the phone on your left ear could see the sensors failing to detect your head and shut off the screen when in a call.

Examining these images, it's not clear of the back is removable to accomodate microSD and the SIM card, or if this will be via trays in the side. 

The images also show new on-screen navigation controls. Nowhereelse has also published an image supporting the on screen buttons in favour of the capacitive buttons found on the current HTC One. That makes the HTC logo sit in what looks like an empty panel, so we think some may end up saying the HTC One is longer than it perhaps needs to be.

 

Software: Android 4.4 KitKat and HTC Sense 6.0

Recent flagship launches from Samsung and Sony have both had Android 4.4 KitKat, so we can assume HTC will be the same - especially as its update for the HTC One is rolling out promptly.

Of course fans of HTC will know that a new year will see a new version of Sense. With Sense 5.5 making its debut on the HTC One max, and subsequently rolling out to the HTC One (2013), it's easy to predict that the HTC One (2014) will launch with Sense 6.0. That's been suggested by @evleaks, as well as getting a mention in the AnTuTu breakdown.

With the launch of the HTC Desire 816 at Mobile World Congress, HTC kept the device in a box for the announcement and then wouldn't let it be turned on when we got to play with it. The important thing to notw about the HTC Desire 816 is that it has no capacitive buttons on the front and the press release mentioned an update of Sense beyond Sense 5.5, so 6 seems certain for the HTC One (M8).

Exactly what HTC will add in Sense 6.0 remains to be seen, but LlabTooFeR claims that HTC will be moving away from hardware buttons, to the sort of software buttons that Google prefers on its Nexus family. This matches the images, although the use of a curled back arrow rather than the chevron (<) seems to be the case on the leaked photos.

Leakster @evleaks posted an image which seems to show Sense 6.0 bringing a redesign of the BlinkFeed software that sits behind apps on the main homer screen, as well as the on-screen buttons. It's worth noting the 10:08 time, which HTC traditionally uses for it's product images and that the date and location under the clock has been obscured - perhaps because this often reveals the launch details. The UEFA window seems entirely appropriate too, given that HTC has a football sponsorship deal.

We're sure that bits and pieces of Sense 6.0 will make an appearance over the next few months and if they do, we'll be sure to update, although given that HTC Sense 5.5, with BlinkFeed and all it's tweaks isn't too old, we don't expect huge changes for Sense 6.

Stay tuned

We will be at the launch of the new HTC One, so we will bring you all the information, as it's announced.