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HTC M8 features include navigational bar rather than soft touch buttons

Sam Loveridge

by

HTC One

The HTC One M8 is tipped to be the first HTC device to feature on-screen buttons rather than the soft touch variety.

Tipped to launch around MWC 2014, the HTC M8 could lack any soft touch navigational buttons, making it the first HTC device to do so.

According to notorious tech tipster @evleaks, the HTC M8 could feature an on-screen navigational bar rather than the usual array of soft touch buttons located underneath the display.

“M8 will be the first HTC device with on-screen buttons”, reads the @evleaks tweet.

Samsung and HTC are two of the only Android device manufacturers to persevere with capacitive buttons, but it seems HTC’s next flagship could follow in the Google Nexus 5’s footprints.

In the past, Google has argued that the adoption of the navigation bar would help standardise the Android experience, but some manufacturers have been averse to the suggestion.

Android 4.4 KitKat introduced Immersive Mode that make it easier for app developers to take advantage of the device’s full screen estate without losing access to the navigation bar. It can be accessed as a semi-transparent menu by dragging down from the top of the screen, disappearing if it is not engaged with.

This means smartphone and tablet manufacturers have little excuse not to introduce the touch-screen navigation bar rather than a row of soft touch buttons. Removing the latter would allow for reduced bezels and smaller designs without losing screen estate.

Other rumoured features include an enhanced fingerprint scanner, Android 4.4 KitKat, HTC Sense 6.0 UI and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM.

It is also tipped to feature a 5-inch full 1080p HD resolution display and a twin-sensor rear UltraPixel camera.

The HTC M8 should launch at a special event just before the Barcelona-based MWC 2014 conference, perhaps held in London like the HTC One launch.

Read more: HTC One tips and tricks

toboev

January 27, 2014, 6:53 pm

you've lost me; what is the difference between a "touch-screen navigation bar" and "a row of soft touch buttons". To me both sound like a horizontal arrangement (bar or row) of on-screen 'buttons', as opposed to Samsung's off-screen capacitative buttons.

mothergoose85

January 28, 2014, 9:13 am

The soft buttons are not part of the screen and sit below it (as in the picture in this article - from an HTC One). The touch screen navigation bar an area of the screen that can display software buttons that do the same as the physical soft buttons do.

Benefits of this? It's what Google wants and is what it does with Nexus devices, meaning HTC would have to do less customisation to the ROM (never a bad thing). It also means you can get a bigger screen in to a phone that's roughly the same size as the current HTC One (as less space on the device is dedicated to navigation buttons).

Downsides? The home button is pretty useful on Samsung and HTC Devices (as well as iPhones), although that's subjective I guess. I have an HTC One and wouldn't miss the buttons but I imagine if I had a Samsung with a hardware home button I might miss the tactile feedback. But you get used to it pretty quickly.

Obviously Apple now doubles the home button as a fingerprint scanner where Samsung are leaning towards making the actual screen a fingerprint scanner.

ciph3ro

January 28, 2014, 3:53 pm

I went from a Galaxy nexus to a Samsung with a physical button and then back to a Nexus 4 and 5. You won't miss the physical button; I hated the thing's guts. :) lol

The software buttons are so much nicer to use.

toboev

January 29, 2014, 10:50 pm

Well if you hated the physical button then I guess you wouldn't mourn its passing. I love the physical button. For one thing it gives tactile feedback, and feedback can only enhance any interface. So without looking you can find the button by feel, but unlike a touch-sensitive button, finding it does not actuate it.
It can also be used as an 'on' button, which I find very useful.

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