HTC reveals flagship M9 at Mobile World Congress

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Manufacturer also launches fitness wearable, HTC Grip and virtual reality headset, HTC Vive

HTC has announced its latest flagship device, the HTC One M9, at a press conference attended by hundreds of journalists in Barcelona ahead of the official start to Mobile World Congress tomorrow.

The handset is the follow-up to last year’s M8 and will go on sale globally in mid-March.

At the press conference HTC chief executive officer Peter Chou also announced a fitness wearable, HTC Grip and a virtual reality headset, HTC Vive.

The device features a 5-inch display full HD display, 20MP camera, a 4 ultra pixel camera (the same as the M 8’s main camera) on the front, 32GB of internal memory, 3GB of RAM and a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

It comes in four colours which HTC is describing as gold on silver, gunmetal grey on grey, gold on gold and pink.

At the event, HTC chief executive officer, Peter Chou said that the manufacturer places “beautiful design” at the forefront of its philosophy.

He added: “We understand that your smartphone is a statement of taste and your personal style which puts beautiful design at the forefront of our philosophy.

“HTC One M9 is our third generation of iconic design. People say the M8 is the most beautiful phone on the market but we didn’t stop there and challenged ourselves to aim higher.”

He said the manufacturer had been working hard all year to create the single metal finish on the device.

EMEA vice president Phil Blair who began the presentation pointed out the M8’s multi-award winning status in his speech.

“When we announced the M8 last year, we were able to tell you about all of the awards that it won,” he said. “We’re humbled to be able to tell you this year, that the M8 has received even more and one year on is still voted the best phone on the market.”

Ambition 

At a pre-briefing in London last week, HTC vice president of UK and Nordics Peter Frolund spoke of his ambition that the device continued the trend of winning ‘Best Smartphone Awards’, set by its predecessors, the M8 and M7.

Notably, he steered clear of making any grand claims regarding gaining market share and said the company was “satisfied” with its UK performance which saw its marketshare increase 4.6 per cent at the end of 2013, to 5.6 per cent a year later (Kantar). This is despite Frolund telling Mobile News a year ago that the company was targeting ten per cent by the end of the 2014.

Pictures and sound

HTC EMEA director of product commercialisation Graham Wheeler told the London event that the handset focuses on what the Taiwanese manufacturer views as its two key selling points – pictures and sound.

Both cameras feature what it calls dynamic exposure which automatically adjusts its settings to mimic what a human eye is seeing, depending the environment pictures are being taken in. The M8’s four ultra pixel rear-facing camera has also been moved to the front of its successor.

Meanwhile, the HTC One Gallery app will look to create a central storage point for a user’s photos by placing all images from the likes of Facebook, Flickr and DropBox in one place. 100GB of storage with the latter for two years is bundled with the handset.

For the first time, Dolby surround sound technology has been integrated into its speakers which Wheeler claims a much “richer, rounder” audio experience.

Sense, the user interface the Taiwanese manufacturer places over the top of Android has also been updated to allow more personalisation for each user. It will be able to sense your location and automatically add and remove applications depending on where you are.

For example, if you are at home it could automatically add the app you use to control your to your home screen, while if you are outside of the house, travel apps will appear.

 

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