HTC Teasing M7 Smartphone's Feb. 19 Release

HTC will introduce a smartphone, rumored to be code-named the M7, Feb. 19. Expect some metal and a focus on the camera.

HTC is doing what it can to build intrigue around the smartphone—popularly referred by all but HTC by its code name, M7—that it's scheduled to introduce at a New York City event Feb. 19.

The Taiwan-based smartphone maker has Tweeted the date, posted a countdown clock on its site and been dropping hints—while insisting its lips are sealed for now.

On Feb. 13 @HTC Tweeted, "75% of all the elements on the periodic table are metals." On Feb. 14 came the Tweet, "On average, a person blinks 16 times per minute." And on Feb. 15 it posted a TwitPic of a camera lens.

"Okay ... So it's gonna have a sweet new camera, be made of mostly metal (aluminum) and have a Retina display?" Tweeted an HTC follower. Another asked if that was a hint at an "ultra pixel for the M7."

"We can see why you might guess that ... but we're not giving details just yet!" HTC responded.

While HTC has put out several strong devices over the last year—the Droid DNA, the One X and the Evo 4G LTE all performed well in eWEEK reviews—none was able to chip away at much market share in an industry dominated by the Apple iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line of Android devices.

HTC's Windows Phone effort also came and went with little attention.

In January, HTC announced fiscal 2012 fourth-quarter revenue of about $21 million, which fell below analyst estimates.

During the quarter, sales were poor enough that HTC lost its 10th-place spot on Gartner's list of the world's top-selling mobile phone vendors. While during the third quarter of 2012 it shipped 8.4 million phones, during the fourth quarter, it underperformed the new 10th-place holder, Motorola, which shipped 7.8 million phones.

For the full year 2012, according to Gartner, HTC controlled a 1.8 percent share of the market, compared with 2.4 percent a year earlier.

With the M7, HTC is hoping to turn things around.

"There will be sequential revenue momentum in 2013," HTC Chief Financial Officer Chang Chia-lin, said during a February conference during which executives warned that first quarter 2013 earnings would also be dismal. "We feel very strongly about our flagship product."

He added that HTC has also received "very strong feedback" from its operator and channel partners.

Tech site HTCSource reported Feb. 15 that the M7, after its Feb. 19 debut, will go on sale in Europe March 8 for about $880. Citing a source, the site added that the M7 will launch as the HTC One on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, with 32GB of internal storage, for $199.99 with a new two-year contract.

It added that a 64GB model will also be available, for $299.99, that the One/M7 will have front-facing stereo speakers and metal casing, and that it will be available in black or silver and white.

That at least a bit of metal is involved can be glimpsed in several five-second teaser clips that HTCSource said it "uncovered" in a folder named "m7teaser."