Phone looks mostly the same, with similar camera and insides

HTC launched its new flagship phone yesterday, but quickly drew a mixed reaction for not advancing enough from last year’s HTC One M8. The company also announced a new wearable wristband and a virtual reality headset.

The One M8 has new cameras on its front and back, and slightly improved specifications. But those minor improvements were not enough to satisfy many onlookers as the phone was released, just ahead of Samsung’s more high-profile event.

Even the design – often touted as HTC’s strong point – stayed mostly the same as last year’s phone. The previous HTC – the One M8 – was widely praised and the company referred to it as last year’s “most acclaimed smartphone”, but the consensus among those at the event was that more could have been to differentiate it from its predecessor.

The hardware has been slightly improved. The new phone has a new Qualcomm 810 processor as well as 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, and room for up to 128GB expansion via the SD card slots.

The company also announced a new version of its Sense 7 operating system, an HTC-designed version of Android. That will have new themes that will evolve as users take photos and depending on where they are.

The rest of the operating system uses location heavily, deciding what to show to users based on where they are. A phone’s owner will see different information as they walk towards the train for their daily commute, for instance.

As well as the smartphone, HTC also confirmed the company's rumoured move into wearables with the announcement of the HTC Grip, a new bluetooth fitness band that is the result of an existing partnership with sports brand Under Armour. The Grip has a built-in pedometer and tracks movement via GPS, syncing with the Under Armour Record app to offer data as well as fitness tips. It was confirmed that for now the Grip would only go on sale in the US.

Additional reporting by Press Association