HTC has announced its latest One M-series flagship in the One M9. Rather than make drastic changes to its design, the One M9 takes a more conservative approach by retaining the same basic design that made the One M-series so beloved and adds improvements where needed, mainly in terms of imaging capability and software.
The key changes to the M9 include a 20-megapixel main camera with a sapphire lens cover and the ability to capture 4K video. Camera plug-ins being developed by HTC for future download by users will include a RAW imaging option for shooting full resolution images with the capability to make substantial desktop and on-device editing possible.
The front camera now features a 4.0 megapixel UltraPixel sensor and the processor is an octa-core version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. Other specifications include 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a memory card slot compatible with 128GB cards, IR blaster, BoomSound dual front speakers with Dolby Labs certification and new Dolby Audio sound DSPs from Dolby Labs for improved sound.
The phone retains the 5-inch 1080p display from the M8 and the internal battery is also slightly larger. HTC’s Sense user interface has also been updated with real-time contextual suggestions for apps and information based on time of day and locations, even including meal and restaurant suggestions.
The phone will launch first in Korea later this month, with other markets following shortly thereafter. All four US carriers have announced plans to launch the phone with an “early Spring” launch timeframe and HTC will also offer an unlocked version of the M9 directly through its own site as well as selected US retailers.
In related news, HTC has announced a further expansion in product lines with its Grip fitness band and its entry into virtual reality with a new partnership with fan-favorite PC game developer Valve, best known for the Half-Life series and its Steam software distribution platform that has produced the ReVive VR headset. The developer version of the headset is expected to be made available to selected developers later this month with a demonstration available during the Game Developers Conference this week, while a consumer version is expected later this year.