HTC One M8

And execs (publicly, anyway) seem pleased with 500,000 or so phones sold thus far

On Friday's podcast we talked a little bit about the HTC One M8 and just how many — or how few, if your cup tends to be more empty than full — HTC has sold in the month or so that its newest flagship has been available.

While HTC has declined to release specific sales numbers (no surprise there, as that sort of thing is a rare occurrence for any smartphone manufacturer — and HTC turned down our request today), we actually can get a pretty good ballpark estimation for just how many HTC One M8s are out there right now.

And we have Google Play to thank for it.

We've been talking about the HTC One M8 for what feels like forever, but it's only been on sale for about a month.

First, a little bit of context. The HTC One M8 was announced and was officially available on March 25, though in limited form. In the U.S., you could pick one up at Verizon, or order from the other carriers online. British retailer Carphone Warehouse began selling in stores at the same time as well. The other major U.S. carriers had to wait a couple weeks before getting the M8 in stores.

So there are a couple dates you could look at if you're counting how many phones have been sold since "launch." You could use March 25. Or you could use April 11. Or whatever other date you want, we suppose. Either way, figure a month and a half (give or take), and you're headed in the right direction.

HTC apps

The M8-exclusive apps just crossed the half-million download mark.

On to Google Play. You'll recall that starting with the M8, HTC has moved a number of applications out of the system of the device and into Google Play. Those are apps like the HTC Gallery, or for the new Dot View Case. Or the stub app for Zoe. And in those instances, we're looking at apps that are only available for the HTC One M8.

Google Play gives some rough numbers when it comes to downloads. Developers get specifics, but the public gets broad categories. You can see 5,000 to 10,000. And 10,000 to 50,000. And 50,000 to 100,000. And 100,000 to 500,000. And 500,000 to 1 million. And so on and so forth.

Last Friday, HTC's M8-specific apps were still in the 100,000-to-500,000 downloads range. Today, Monday, they've bumped up to the 500,000-to-1 million range. Let's split the difference between launches and call it April 5 to May 5, for simplicity. Using that half-million number as the baseline, that gives a sell-rate of around 16,000 phones a day, or around 113,000 phones a week.

Is that good? Is it bad? Depends on your expectations.

Jason Mackenzie and Peter Chou at the M8 event

The question remains: Is HTC finally on the right track to make money?

HTC's Jason Mackenzie (above left, with HTC CEO Peter Chou at the M8 launch event in New York City) told TechnoBuffalo in late April that "Out of the last five weeks of sales data that have crossed my desk, the two most recent weeks are beating the best weeks of One (M7) activations last year." In other words, early sales of the M8 were higher than the best sales for all but two weeks of the M7.

So it sounds like HTC so far is fairly happy with how things are going.

If you want to put things in a larger context, by one account the Samsung Galaxy S5 had a million phones in the field in 11 days. Now nobody expects the HTC One M8 to sell like the Galaxy S5, or the iPhone. But that's the sort of competition it's dealing with.

HTC's first quarter earnings call is early morning Tuesday U.S. time. Don't expect happy, shiny numbers. The M8 wasn't around long enough to impact that. But HTC also is expected to give unaudited numbers for April, which could give us a better idea if HTC is finally seeing the beginning of a sea change.