Our favorite leak purveyor, @evleaks, claims the successor to the beautiful HTC One will feature onscreen buttons, a la stock Android.
M8 will be the first HTC device with on-screen buttons.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 27, 2014
@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):
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.