Mar. 26 - HTC has unveiled its new flagship smartphone, the latest manifestation of its critically acclaimed One series. Featuring a depth sensor that allows users to change the focus of their photos, the new M8 model has also received rave reviews. But will it be enough to arrest the company's downward spiral? Ivor Bennett reports.
It's become the new smartphone battleground. And HTC's now fighting with not one weapon, but two. As well as a normal camera, the new HTC One M8 boasts a depth sensor too. It means users can change the focus of their photos after they're taken. SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "The other selling point is what's called dot view, designed to minimise hassle. If you want to check the time, the weather or see your notifications, you don't need to swipe. You don't need to take the cover off even. All you have to do is tap twice, and the information shows up." An all metal design, the new model is sleeker than its predecessor, with a bigger screen and louder speakers. But is this enough to stop the rot? Just over two years ago, HTC supplied one in every 10 smartphones sold around the world. Now, it's one in 50, following 27 consecutive months of falling revenues. Phil Blair is head of EMEA. SOUNDBITE (English) PHIL BLAIR, HEAD OF EMEA, HTC, SAYING: "It's no secret, we've had a challenging 12-18 months. But I think what you saw today with the HTC One M8, goes to the core strength of our business. We can make the best phones in the world, and we do make the best phones in the world. And I think with that core strength, can we challenge the market? I think the answer is yes." The best phone in the world is no understatement either. HTC's previous flagship just won handset of the year. But a series of supply chain problems meant it couldn't meet demand. A mistake that's cost them dear. CCS Insight's Ben Wood. SOUNDBITE (English) BEN WOOD, CHIEF OF RESEARCH, CCS INSIGHT, SAYING: "They didn't have the volume, they ran into problems with manufacturing, problems with intellectual property, and they let their customers down. That gave rivals like Samsung, who have a colossal marketing budget, come into the market, and snap up all of those consumers who are looking for the next great thing. That's a mistake they really must avoid this time around." It seems HTC has learnt from its mistakes. Already stocking UK retailers to coincide with the launch. The rest of Europe will follow at the end of the April. But at nearly 600 pounds, it doesn't come cheap.