HTC is readying its war machine for its first biggest device launch of the year. Codenamed the HTC M7, the device is expected to be announced at a launch event next Tuesday, February 19th in New York City. We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
According to gadget blog HTC Source, it will be released to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile on March 22nd according to anonymous contacts. It will retail for $199 with a two-year contract.The M7 is likely to be called the HTC One in the United States.
From professional gadget leaker @evleaks at UnwiredView.com, we have an idea of what the HTC M7/One is supposed to look like as well (pictured right). It will have a 4.7-inch screen with a 1.7-GHz quad-core processor and come in black and white variations. HTC is also likely to perform a significant upgrade to its “Sense” skin that it overlays on top of stock Android to differentiate itself from the likes of Samsung or Google’s Nexus devices.
In the life of HTC, this will be an important device launch. The HTC M7/One may be its last shot to claim market share in the elite smartphone sector in the developed regions of the U.S. and Western Europe. If the One breaks on the shores of the regions that have been fortified by the likes of Apple and Samsung, HTC will likely have to retreat into creating low-margin devices in developing markets such as China and India and the Pacific rim.
Commenting on the company’s last quarterly earnings statement, HTC CEO Peter Chou said that the smartphone manufacturer is already making plans to be more aggressive in developing markets. That strategy will work to grease the wheels of HTC revenue (if it can successfully fight off the likes of Huawei and ZTE) but for HTC to truly regain prominence, it needs to make a strong showing with top-of-the-line devices in the U.S and Europe.
If HTC Source’s contacts are to be believed, the first of the company’s major problems that affected its market share in 2012 will be addressed with the launch of the One. Distribution and exclusivity damned HTC’s One X, Droid DNA and One X+ to marginal players among the top U.S. carriers last year. This time around it looks like HTC has managed to strike deals with three of the top four carriers to release the One on March 22, with Verizon releasing at least a version of the device at a later date, according to @evleaks.
In addition to the reported specs listed above, what we know about the M7 at this point is that it will have two front-facing speakers, the upgrade to Sense and possibly a four “ultrapixel” camera. We still do not really know what an ultrapixel is, but HTC seems confident that the new camera on the M7/One will be one of the best in the industry.
We will be live at the HTC launch event in Manhattan next week. Follow @Dan_Rowinski and ReadWrite on Twitter for live updates and come back Tuesday afternoon to get our initial thoughts on HTC’s latest device.
Top image: HTC's countdown to launch.