HTC’s Utopia In Progress press event confirmed most of the rumors surrounding the HTC One (M9) smartphone. The device was announced Sunday as a third-generation smartphone featuring a design similar to the previous HTC One (M8) and HTC One (M7), with a few new wrinkles.
The major updates of the HTC One (M9) are in its software: The smartphone runs the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system with HTC’s Sense 7 user interface. The new UI includes some interesting new features that should prove quite valuable to users.
The image-match feature in the HTC One (M9) gallery allows users to choose a photograph with a person’s face and bring together all the images of that person in a single custom gallery. The feature searches apps and services such as Google Drive, Flickr, Facebook and DropBox to find images.
The home widget recognizes a user’s location and changes the apps on the home screen in accordance with that location, meaning different apps will appear for home and work. Additionally, Sense 7 recommends useful apps that a user may not have installed. “With Sense 7, your phone will adapt to you instead of the other way around,” said Phil Blair, HTC’s Europe, Middle East and Africa head.
The theme feature allows a user to create a custom look and feel for the M9 smartphone by snapping a photo. Sense 7 will then generate a full theme with the image as wallpaper: a custom color palate based on the photo and unique app icons that match the photo and color scheme.
Sense can also detect when a user is in a location for the very first time and make suggestions of local establishments to visit.
The HTC One (M9) does have a striking style difference from its HTC One predecessors: the dual-tone design of its all-metal unibody. The device is one color on its back and another color on its front and side. HTC said this is an industry first in design, building on the company’s reputation for producing some of the most beautiful smartphones on the market. “Your smartphone is a statement of taste and [personal] style. This keeps beautiful design at the forefront of our philosophy,” said HTC CEO Peter Chou.
The back of the HTC One (M9) has a hairline finish, and the sides have a polished-mirror finish. The device will ship with silver, gun-metal gray, pink and gold color options.
Hardware features on the HTC One (M9) are pretty standard and less than spectacular at this point. The device includes a 5-inch Full HD (1920x1080 resolution) display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip, 3 GB of RAM memory and 32 GB of internal storage as well as a 2840 mAh battery, which HTC claimed provides as much as 21.7 hours of talk time and as much as 402 hours of standby time on a 3G network.
The biggest hardware upgrade is the M9’s 20-megapixel rear camera, which HTC said captures photos at near SLR quality. The smartphone includes a 4 UltraPixel front camera, which HTC said has larger pixels to capture better details than the average front-facing camera.
The HTC One (M9) will be available in mid-March in several markets, including the U.S. and Asia-Pacific region.