Ultrapixels? Karaoke? Where HTC's 'M7' could go next

HTC plans new audio and camera tricks for its upcoming flagship phone -- and the company's already given us a giant clue.

HTC teases new features in an infographic on its Web site. Click to enlarge. HTC

HTC's rumored M7 smartphone will usher in cutting-edge audio and photography features, if recent clues are an accurate indicator. A close look at an official HTC infographic teases a "new sound and camera experience" and provides hints of what to expect.

While the last line of the infographic might be the most fun to read, it is the lead-up that tells us where HTC is focused. HTC makes a point of saying that Apple did not change the image sensor size for the iPhone 4S in 2011.

What's more, the handset maker opines that it doesn't matter that the Nokia 808 PureView has a whopping 41 megapixels. Putting these two bits together, we could assume that HTC's smartphone experience won't be solely about megapixels.

Yesterday, tech site Pocket-lint said that HTC will employ "ultrapixel" sensors for the M7. Rather than a single 13.1-megapixel sensor in the smartphone, HTC will reportedly use three 4.3-megapixel sensor layers to create one image. Instead of giving users one large, average-looking photo, the ultrapixel technology should generate a crisper, more accurate representation.

HTC has released a number of devices over the last few years that involve some type of camera innovation. Standouts include the advanced shooting modes in the HTC Amaze 4G as well as the Video Pic and ImageSense technology introduced in the HTC One X.

The M7 should introduce new sound and camera features from HTC. Android Police

Most recently, the Droid DNA's front-facing camera is capable of much wider angles. It doesn't feel like a stretch to think that the M7 will feature all of these options as well as the rumored ultrapixel sensor.

Unfortunately, the infographic does little to show HTC's hand on the sound aspect, though Pocket-lint suggests that a new lyrics app will entice people to use the phone for karaoke.

Since acquiring a majority stake in Beats Audio, HTC has been pushing forward with better audio in smartphones. Early models included bundled headphones or earbuds, and more recent devices feature built-in amplifiers.

I would like to see HTC take a crack at using NFC for the M7, at least in the area of audio. It's a good guess we'll see new Beats by Dr. Dre BeatBox headphones this year, but I am hoping for more. Namely, a wider selection of less expensive products with enhanced features, maybe an external speaker or portable speakers, for instance.

Many of the new accessories and gadgets I saw at this year's CES featured NFC chips that enabled instant pairing or tap-to-play options.

HTC would be wise to create a new line of devices that can automagically connect to Beats by Dr. Dre products for a better listening experience that goes beyond the basic Bluetooth connection, perhaps an equalizer you can control from your phone, or an advanced party play list with tricks like fades and automatic mixing. Maybe, just maybe, HTC and Beats will create a Sonos-like line of speakers.

The HTC One X camera settings are impressive and comprehensive. CNET

Whatever it is that HTC does for the M7 and 2013 product line, I hope it has very obvious uses. What's more, it's vitally important for HTC not to oversell the smartphone with too many features. Tell us about the audio and camera and leave it at that; don't waste effort on trivial matters that will only confuse potential buyers. And, above all else, make sure the masses can afford it.

Is there anything specific that you would like to see HTC do for its upcoming line of Android smartphones? Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below.