HTC has launched their new flagship model, the HTC One M8, at simultaneous events in London and New York City today. As we've come to know through various leaks the new device's headline feature is its Duo Camera. In addition to a 4MP "Ultra Pixel" sensor, the HTC One M8 comes with a secondary image sensor that captures depth information which allows for the application of bokeh effects to your images. There is also a refocus feature that lets you select the focus point in an image after it has been taken, similar to a Lytro light field camera.
Other manufacturers, such as Samsung, Nokia and Sony have opted for software solutions to achieve similar results. We'll have to wait until we hold a sample in our hands before we can judge if HTC's investment into a hardware solution was a good one. HTC also says the camera API will be opened up to developers, so it'll be interesting to see what third party app makers can do with the new camera technology.
In their presentation HTC put a lot of emphasis on the new model's metal body. The original One's polycarbonate edges have been eliminated and the One M8 comes with a hull that is 90% metal. The edges are more rounded than before and the brushed hairline texture on the metal surfaces makes for a very attractive looking device.
There are a bunch of new software features as well. HTC's UI, Sense 6, includes a new version of Blinkfeed that lets you create keyword-based custom feeds and connects with Foursquare and your Fitbit.
On the imaging side of things, Image Match finds all photos of a specific person on your phone and can create an album of them. The ZOE feature now has dynamic beatmapping, which synchronizes music video footage and you'll also be able to share your ZOE movies via a dedicated cloud service in the near future.
The One M8 also adds a set of gesture controls. You can answer a call by holding the ringing phone up to your ear and there are dedicated gestures to go straight to Blinkfeed, the widget panel or the last app you have used.
The Boom Sound stereo front speakers on the One M8 offer 25% larger audio chambers and a multi-band amp for increased dynamic range, reduced distortion and more volume. A large 2600 mAh battery in combination with a new power saver mode promises a 40% better battery life than the original One, or up to two weeks in stand-by mode.
The HTC One M8 will be available through select U.S. and Canadian carriers from today and will come to more than 230 carriers in over 100 countries in April. For those users who prefer a pure Android experience, a Google Play version will be made available in the nearer future. We'll have a closer look at the new Duo Camera and start work on our full camera review as soon as HTC sends us a sample.
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