Will HTC finally move to onscreen buttons on the M8 (One 2014)?

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 27, 2014
htc m8 concept

M8 concept by Nikolai Prettner

Our favorite leak purveyor, @evleaks, claims the successor to the beautiful HTC One will feature onscreen buttons, a la stock Android.

@evleaks’ tweet is terse as usual, but if it’s accurate, we’re facing a significant moment. HTC, along with Samsung, was one of the few big Android manufacturers to persevere in using capacitive buttons on its devices. If the M8 ditches them in favor of a navigation bar, Samsung will remain alone on the barricades in its insistence to use a non-standard button setup.

Without doubt, HTC’s move to onscreen buttons on the M8 would spark complaints from traditionalists, who argue that having the back and button below the screen gives more screen real estate. But the writing’s on the wall – Google has long insisted OEMs should adopt the navigation bar, which helps standardize the Android experience, and with KitKat introducing immersive mode, there’s no excuse left for not adopting it.

Over the weekend, @evleaks also shared two of the default wallpapers of the M8 (click to enlarge):

htc m8 wallpaper (1)

htc m8 wallpaper (2)

Incidentally, just last week we’ve shared an HTC M8 concept (pictured above) that features an onscreen navigation bar. It remains to be seen if @evleaks is really on to something here, as we’re still many weeks away from the launch of the M8.

[poll id=”452″]

  • MasterMuffin

    Onscreen buttons are the future. Devices without bezels, necessary or not, are coming! Also I just like the fact that I can change what buttons I have :)

    • Shark Bait

      Absolutely!! Customisable + gesture support makes them loads more useful !

    • Xavier_NYC

      google edition of this might be epic.. Then again I could always root

      • MasterMuffin

        Then again I wouldn’t know, damn ‘murica only GPE

        • smokebomb

          You can’t buy a GPE phone and use whatever sim card you have? I thought they were unlocked like a nexus.

          • MasterMuffin

            Getting one is the tricky part. Yes there’s eBay etc. but…

          • Shaun Hammond

            If you really want a GPe version, just flash a GPe rom on it. That’s what I did, but I’ll probably go back to Sense when 6.0 comes out, or pick up the One (2014).

    • wat

      If there are no bezels then where will the front facing speakers go? Don’t tell me you want to lose front facing speakers.

      • MasterMuffin

        The screen will vibrate and make sound and stuff xD

        • Junon

          I prefer the speaker can display picture instead xD



      • Jayfeather787

        There are certainly a lot of you guys.

  • Kevin

    If the phone looks anything like the concept, (and has a decent camera) it’ll be my next purchase.

  • pauldrew18

    They could enlarge the overall screen size without having to size up the phone’s physical dimensions.. The onscreen buttons wouldn’t take much space at the bottom of the screen (I hope). Physically, HTC One was a big hit. I hope they just make improvements on the processor and camera.. 8MP Ultrapixel camera with OIS sounds good enough to me.

  • csharpner

    The great thing about Android is the choice in hardware. If you want onscreen buttons, you can have them. If you want real buttons, you can have them. I’m not in favor of forcing everyone to one option or the other, taking away the choice… like iOS.

    I strongly strongly strongly prefer real buttons (though I’d NEVER force my choice on everyone else). The reason I personally prefer real buttons is because they don’t take up precious screen real estate, never accidentally disappear nor are overwritten by apps or by rotating the phone. I’d prefer to move away from Samsung because of their eFuse, but if they’re the only one still providing real buttons, then either direction I go, I’m going to lose something really really important to me, and I’m not happy about it.

    • namesib

      Exactly. The amount of people on Android sites that want every device to be identical is worrying.

      • Cal Rankin

        It’s not quite that. I just want onscreen buttons, and would like a good phone from a decent manufacturer to deliver.

      • AussieGreek

        If the stock android geeks had their way the only choice we’d have would be the nexus.

        • namesib


    • MadVR

      Agree brother, if I allowed to choose, I prefer real physical button.
      Sadly, we have less and less choice nowadays :(

  • Balraj

    I like both lol
    But offscreen capacitive button will do
    No harm in that…
    Offscreen physical button is not that great…

  • MrJigolo

    Great. Onscreen keys are so flexible.

  • Luis

    I just hope the on screen buttons don’t take up that much screen size like the LG G2.

    I would also love for HTC to copy LG’s knock-on feature. That is a fantastic useful feature. I love it on my sis’ G2.

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      Have to say I’m a big samsung fan but that knock on feature is super nice. Wish all phones had it

    • Knock on is awesome, it should be everywhere.

  • AndroidBoss

    Hopefully it will and all other Android devices and tablets (Samsung) will have software buttons.

    • namesib


      • AndroidBoss


      • AndroidBoss

        It’s a fail to have non software buttons on tablets.

  • htcLOLZ

    HTC probably won’t, simply because going with onscreen buttons would be a sensible move.

    • smokebomb

      And they’ve made so many sensible moves in the last 2 years that they’re bleeding executives!

  • blairh

    Definitely prefer on-screen keys to physical or capacitive. Hopefully HTC wises up and follows the One Max route with the power/wake button on right side. Do this and the M8 should be amazing.

  • smokebomb

    I know I’ll regret getting a note 3 when the note 4 comes out with onscreen keys but I need a new phone lol. The move back to capacitive would actually make emulators easier to play. When I had a thunderbolt, I had the capacitive back button set as my R button for SNES and GBA games which made playing the games a hell of a lot easier than reaching all the way up to the top right or left corner of the phone to hit L or R.

  • dandroid13

    Same old HTCrap.

  • namesib


  • Replicant Jason Booth

    To call a major player in the smartphone game complete crap is very childish. All the great oems make mistakes from time to time. How would we ever perfect anything without taking risk?

    • htcLOLZ

      I’m confused. Who did you see calling a major player crap?

      • Replicant Jason Booth

        I noticed in a few comment sections that people have been saying HTC sucks, which is just not true. Do they have problems? Yes they do, but such? No not at all.

  • Memphis May [S]unjay

    Beautiful concept but they never come true.

    • Jayfeather787

      Most concepts never do.

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        That’s right.

  • Jayfeather787

    I would love onscreen buttons, but I honestly would not be surprised if they stuck with the capacitive buttons.

  • [A]dri[A]n

    That looks VERY sexy. It looks like a concept that would be very possible. Nothing unreal about the design. I’m not a fan of front facing speakers though. I feel that it adds unnecessary bulk to the footprint of the phone, like the HTC One. The HTC One would be much more compact without the front facing speakers. But any who! Looks very nice :)

  • lovehtcya

    Omg that concept photo would make me buy that phone in a heartbeat

  • ichuck7

    I really want manufacturers to get rid of the “settings button.” it’s not good to have to have to play a guessing game about which apps have hidden settings.

    I don’t like physical buttons but that’s my preference.

    • flippers

      If you don’t know that it’s called the “menu button,” there’s probably another reason why you don’t want it.

  • Kassim

    The only hardware buttons we need are power, volume rocker and a camera button.

    Forget a microSD card slot: with things like Meenova’s mini card reader and the inevitable higher base storage capacities, dedicated camera buttons are far more desireable!

  • Noel

    Long been an advocate for onscreen buttons for HTC devices…so it will be very welcomed. Now HTC and Google pls make the GPe of the M8/ HTC ONE plus available to us as soon as it goes on sale.

  • Bouncer

    I just hope they learn to make a camera without purple fringing…really severe in the HTC One….promised fixes never happened.

  • Shamoy Rahman

    I think if HTC is moving to onscreen buttons. they should think of making the buttons hide like immersive mode in kitkat. Even though i have kitkat on my nexus 5, the buttons still dont hide when i play regular games like temple run or subwaty surfers. Developers must fix this soon. Another proposed solution can be for example if we have a 1920×1080 screen. Maybe we can add more horizontal pixels to compensate for the soft buttons like maybe a 2000×1080 display. All phones should move to onscreen buttons as a unifying feature but at the same time there should be features to compensate for the occupied space.

  • Epic Tea

    These manufactors need to pay more attention to the concept artists they have great ideas.