Is the HTC One M8 too expensive?

In today's open source roundup: Will Android users pay $699 for an HTC One (M8) phone? Plus: An interview with the Peppermint Linux developers, and 20 Linux movie players

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Android, Linux

I was browsing Google+ today and noticed that the HTC One (M8) Google Play edition is now available. Imagine my surprise when I also noticed that it sells for $699! Wow, is that just too expensive to appeal to Android users?

Beautifully designed inside and out, with a high quality metal unibody, BoomSound™ audio and a Duo Camera to give your photos stunning new depth. Now featuring the latest version of Android from Google.

More at Google+

HTC One (M8) Google Play edition
Image credit: Google Play

It's rather ironic that Apple is hammered for being over-priced (and in some cases that is certainly correct) and then the HTC One (M8) Google Play edition comes out with that whopping $699 price! At first glance it does seem like quite a lot to pay for an Android phone, but is that really true?

Some Android users will no doubt find the HTC One (M8) to be well worth every penny they pay for it, while others will guffaw at the very idea of paying so much for an Android phone. I think both perceptions are correct because value, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder. What is worth $699 to one person may not be worth $199 to another.

I have no problem with premium priced products since nobody is forced to buy them. The market will sort out the appeal of such products. If the price is too high for the value they provide, they will sell poorly and will be discontinued.

It's far too early to make any predictions about the HTC One (M8). We'll have to wait and see how well it sells at its current price. It may have very high appeal for the premium part of the Android market.

Here's a list of the specs in case you were wondering what the HTC One (M8) has to offer:

Screen
5" diagonal
1920 x 1080
CPU
Qualcomm® MSM8974AB quad-core, 2.3 GHz

Size
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight
160g

Cameras
UltraPixel camera super sensitive BSI sensor (main)
5MP, BSI sensor and wide angle lens (front)

Network
Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+/LTE
GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
HSPA/UMTS quad-band 850/AWS/1900/2100 MHz
3G (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
HSDPA 21, HSUPA 5.76
4G LTE (700 MHz, AWS)
NanoSIM

Memory
32 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
External microSD card slot
2 GB RAM

Connectivity
Micro USB
3.5mm headphone jack

Wireless
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
NFC (Android Beam)
Bluetooth

Battery
2,600 mAh Lithium polymer

OS
Android™ 4.4, KitKat®

Sensors
Accelerometer
Compass
Ambient light
Gyroscope
Proximity

The reactions on Google+ seem to range from astonishment, disgust and skepticism to enthusiasm, excitement and lust. So far there are more than 100 comments, and I'm sure that number will grow as more people see the announcement.

There are a number of reviews out for the HTC One (M8), here's a sample of three of them that might give you an idea of just what this phone is capable of doing:

From Laptop Mag:

The HTC One M8 is every bit as awesome as its predecessor and more. The metal design and larger screen are absolutely gorgeous, and the BoomSound speakers trounce the competition. The new Duo Camera adds some fun to the photo-taking experience, even if the image quality still trails the iPhone 5s. What's more, the new One's longer battery life is a big step forward, as is the phone's overall performance. We also appreciate the enhanced BlinkFeed feature.

That said, we're somewhat bothered by the number of features that HTC says we'll have to wait to download later. These IOUs include Fitbit BlinkFeed integration, Copy and Paste in the camera app and the enhanced battery saver.

Those issues aside, the new HTC One M8 is easily the best Android phone on the market, and it gives the iPhone 5s a run for best smartphone period.

More at Laptop Mag

From Forbes:

...it is clear one of the most desirable Android handsets just got even better. There are negatives: the M8 can’t compete with the LG Nexus 5 on price while the Samsung Galaxy S5 has the better camera (despite all the hype about UltraPixel) and the LG G2 incorporates a bigger screen in a smaller, lighter body.

Despite this the HTC One M8 is arguably the classiest Android handset on the market with its luxurious design and build materials, Sense’s subtle design cues and impressive camera and video innovation disguise UltraPixel’s continued lack of detail. For sheer value for money the Nexus 5 still has my vote, but would I buy the HTC One M8 over a Samsung Galaxy 5? Until I’ve had longer with both handsets I can’t say for sure, but based on first impressions HTC is edging it.

More at Forbes

From the Verge:

There are a lot of great Android phones on the market right now, but two stand out: the Nexus 5 and the new HTC One. The Nexus 5 is Google’s purest vision for Android, the One the platform's most mature and developed form. I desperately wish it took better pictures, and I’m reluctant to buy or recommend it until it does, but I like absolutely everything else. It’s fast, long-lasting, does everything a phone should, and does it all with totally unparalleled class and style. From motion gestures to the Dot View case, it has genuinely new, genuinely useful features.

I can still remember sitting at a red light, revving the A4’s engine and just listening to the car purr. I felt powerful. Invincible. I don’t know if my smartphone can ever make me feel quite that way, but the One’s a full step closer than any other Android phone out there.

More at The Verge

One thing is for sure, this phone is going to cause a lot of debate among Android users once they see the price. Would you buy an Android phone that costs $699? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

An interview with the developers of Peppermint Linux
Everyday Linux User has an interview with Shane Remington and Kendall Weaver, the developers of Peppermint Linux. Peppermint is a distribution that blends the cloud and the desktop together.

I recently sent an email to the Peppermint Linux team with a series of questions and what follows are the answers provided by Shane Remington (COO of Peppermint) and Kendall Weaver (CTO of Peppermint).

I would like to thank in advance Shane and Kendall for not only agreeing to answer my questions but also for the time and effort they have put into the Peppermint Linux project.

More at Everyday Linux User

Peppermint Linux

I did a review of Peppermint Four here in ITworld a while back. It's a very useful distribution if you enjoy using the cloud but also prefer to have access to a wide range of desktop Linux applications.

Peppermint is based on Ubuntu, but it uses the LXDE desktop. So it doesn't require an enormous amount of resources to run well. You can download Peppermint and run it in VirtualBox if you want to check it out. It's also a live distribution so you can simply burn it to a disc and boot to the disc to try it without installing it.

Movie players for Linux
TuxArena has a roundup of movie players for Linux.

This is an overview of 20 movie players available for Linux. Except the popular ones like VLC or Totem, I also overviewed several TV applications and several movie players for the terminal, which use ASCII characters for visualization, which is a really interesting option.

Most of the movies or videos included in the screenshots are taken from OpenCulture.com, a comprehensive online resource for free, legal movies.

More at TuxArena

Movie Players for Linux
Image credit: TuxArena

That's a pretty good list of Linux movie players, I'm sure some folks will find it quite useful. I tend to just go with VLC most of the time as it's my favorite video application. It does so much that I find I don't usually need anything else.

That's not to say that the other applications aren't worth checking out. There's some great stuff in that list. And you know what they say about variety, it's the spice of life. So do check out all of the movie applications as you may find something you like better than VLC.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views
of ITworld.

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