HTC's Rumored M7 Ready to Battle Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sense 5.0

Everything we've heard so far about the rumored HTC M7 has us believing that this Android flagship could steal some serious Samsung thunder. The phone reportedly boasts a 4.7-inch 1080p screen with a class-leading 468 ppi, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB  of storage, plus a 13-MP camera. Now the M7's software has apparently leaked in a series of screenshots apprehended by Android Police. Get ready for Sense 5.0.

If the screenshots are legit, HTC has made several much-needed refinements to its Sense overlay for Android, starting with a more elegant lock screen. The time sits close to the five unlock shortcuts, four that go straight to apps and a dedicated lock icon for going straight to the home screen.

Sense 5.0 also seems to take cues from Windows Phone with its rectangular widgets. In the leaked screenshot you can see widgets for people, news and help and tutorials. We're assuming HTC will offer several other choices. Something tells us that Microsoft won't like the look of this layout, especially since HTC and Redmond were close partners on the Windows Phone 8X.

As Android Police notes, HTC has opted for an all-digital look for its clock, as opposed to the alarm clock-like aesthetic the company used previously. Just as Apple is reportedly moving away from cutesy skeuomorphic designs this year, it seems HTC is doing the same.

Of course, this is just a sneak peek of what Sense 5.0 could offer. One thing is for sure: in order for HTC to steal mind share and market share away from Samsung the company will need to prove that it can truly innovate on the software front. The sharing features inside the Galaxy S III--and the way they were marketed--went a long way towards propelling Samsung past all other Android competitors in 2012.

As far as the hardware itself goes, the M7 seems to sport a soft-touch black back and a Beats Audio logo minus the lettering for a cleaner look. The front of the phone features a front-facing camera on the right side and dedicated capacitive buttons beneath the screen for Back, Recent Apps and Home. We find it curious that the Home button is on teh right side instead of in the middle.

With Mobile World Congress in Barcelona just around the corner it won't be long before we see just how much potential the M7 has in the fight against the upcoming Galaxy S4 and Optimus G2. We can't wait to bring you all the details straight from Barcelona.