There have been rumors that HTC were to release a mid-range version of the HTC One M8 based around a different processor, but with otherwise similar specifications. The critical change is the processor; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor would be replaced by the newer generation 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, but otherwise the device would have the same 2 GB memory, the same chassis and design, 2,600 mAh battery and the 5.0-inch, 1080p display. Some reports stated that the revised, mid-range model would be called the HTC One M8i and have a 13MP rear camera to replace the 4MP UltraPixel unit that the One M8 has. Around and about the same time, a source in the Netherlands reported that the device would be called the M8s. Both sources appeared reliable, so who was right? Perhaps both as it happens, but HTC will be calling the revised One by two different names depending on where the handset is marketed. The device will ship with Android 5.0 under Sense 6, the same as the current One M8 has for most carriers and it will look identical, too.
Replacing the Snapdragon 801 with the Snapdragon 615 makes sense for HTC. The 615 is based around eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores structured in a big.LITTLE arrangement: essentially four of those cores can only operate at a lower clock speed and four can operate at a higher clock speed. The processor switches between these cores depending on the load. All eight cores may operate at the same time, but this is unlikely to happen in the real world once we’re away from benchmarks. Where the Snapdragon 801 differs from the Snapdragon 615 is that it has a higher classification of GPU but a generation older; the Snapdragon 801 uses Adrena 420 and the Snapdragon 615 uses the Adreno 405 GPU. When the new M8i (or M8s) is used back to back against the original M8, I expect each device to pull ahead in various benchmarks but the overall experience to be broadly similar. Where it helps HTC, though, is that Qualcomm are likely to be offering the Snapdragon 615 at a cheaper price compared with the Snapdragon 801. The other advantage is that the HTC One M8s is a more marketable proposition for those markets where more cores are highly valued, such as China and Asia. We may of course see the device being sold across the world.
We don’t know pricing or availability at this juncture, but if HTC are to re-release the original HTC One M8 with slightly revised internals and a cheaper price, would you be interested? Or do you think it too close to the original M8 and the just-announced M9? Let know your comments in the space below.