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HTC opts for continuity with the One M9

HTC One M9 launch

At a lavish launch event on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2015, HTC unveiled its flagship smartphone launch for the year in the form of the HTC One M9.

The name implies an incremental refresh of the highly-regarded One M8 and that’s exactly what this turned out to be. The chassis looks pretty similar although HTC has some some clever metal work to introduce some new colour variations, including a pink version. As you would expect there were also improvements to some key components, but Rob Kerr, mobiles expert at uSwitch, was underwhelmed.

“Realising that 4 megapixels won’t cut it anymore, HTC has finally added a much-improved 20-megapixel camera to its flagship line up,” he said. “There is very little innovation to be seen in the M9. The five-inch 1080p screen remains the same as the M8’s, while other phone makers have moved on to 2K displays. There are slight improvements to the Android HTC overlay which will eventually work its way down to older models, which throws up the burning question: why bother upgrading to the M9 at all?”

While Kerr is right to observe that HTC seems to have opted for continuity, it would not necessarily have been better to tweak excessively with the winning formula is had with the M8. The perceived camera weakness has been addressed and HTC is hardly the first smartphone maker to hit an innovation plateau.

HTC’s problem is that, in spite of consistently producing some of the best reviewed devices, is can’t get near the marketing spend of Samsung and Apple and isn’t strong in China, so it struggles to shift large numbers. This looks like a solid refresh, but with Apple on fire and Samsung desperate to strike back that might not be enough.

HTC also launched a new fitness band called HTC Grip in partnership with sports clothing brand Under Armour, which it is targeting at fitness enthusiasts. And the final announcement was the development of a virtual reality set in partnership with gaming giant Valve, which is expected to have its consumer launch later this year.


One comment

  1. Tony 03/03/2015 @ 2:07 pm

    Seriously, the camera was the only thing lacking in the M8. For me the M9 is now (probably) the bast handset out there now that samsung has messed up the SGS6

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