Thursday, 21 February 2013

HTC One: Raising the bar?

So, many of the rumours were true. HTC announced the new HTC One, and blimey, isn't it a gorgeous phone.

The outer shell is in keeping with HTCs recent 'unibody' addiction, but it is the first HTC made solely from anodised aluminium with the screen being made of Gorilla Glass 2. Too early to speculate on how tough it is but I'm sure some ridiculous tests will be blogged about soon!

Spec-wise, it was as expected. A 1.7GHz, quad-core processor with 2GB RAM to support. The screen is a stunning, bright full HD 4.7" beauty which received a lot of acclaim from the crowd in London. This screen offers an incredible pixel density of 468 ppi. Compared with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III which have pixel density of 326ppi and 306ppi respectively, this is quite incredible.

Now, what we didn't know!

Ultrapixel Camera
HTC have moved the bar on from megapixels to HTC's own 'ultrapixels'. HTC have put a lot of effort into creating a better camera and focusing less on the number of megapixels they can boast. Whilst a sensible decision, it will be interesting to see how this is relayed to consumers and how it impacts marketing of the HTC One. A concerted effort has been put into allowing more light into those photos that require it. HTC say that the camera allows for 300 times more light than its competitors - and this certainly seemed the case in practice. HTC have also followed the Nokia Lumia 920 by including image stabilisation to the rear camera, they've bettered this though by including image stabilisation on the 2mp front-facing camera as well.

HTC Sense 5.0 - what's new?

HTC have revolutionised the often criticised HTC Sense with the 5.0 included on the HTC One. The key part of this is BlinkFeed which I've described below, but if you're a fan of the traditional HTC layout that can be used as well.

Sitting on your homescreens is 'BlinkFeed', which looks similar to Windows OS live tiles, except it delivers a constant stream of customised information to you. This information is collected from all your social networks, but also from news channels and other sources of interest.

Inbuilt IR receiver
Not only that, but the technology, powered by Peel also doubles as a TV Guide. If not spectacular, this is something we've not seen in a phone before and is a clever addition from HTC.

'Boomsound' - yes, cheesy name but give it a chance. 
HTC have gone all-out to impress with the HTC One's speaker system. 'Boomsound' as it has unfortunately been named consists of dual frontal stereo speakers which also have built-in amplifiers and Beats Audio. It's difficult to understand how good these are without it in your hands but this clip should help:

[Link via PocketableTech]

HTC have taken a step further than competitors by announcing HTC Zoe - a 'live gallery'. This gallery takes photos and videos and remixes them into a montaged story that can be edited and shared on social networks. Images can also be thrown together into 3-second .gif like clips. Here's a good demo from an HTC rep (there's not need to watch all of it, just a taste):

How will the HTC One get on? Time will tell. Critically, it is a really exciting piece of kit. Some nice extras without bringing too much 'new' to the market but a top, top-quality phone that HTC have every right to shout about. Will it be enough to challenge the powerhouse that is Samsung, and their upcoming S IV, probably not. Not because the phone is likely to be poorer, simply that Samsung is a marketing powerhouse and have the success of the SII and SIII to fall back on. I don't think this should be regarded as a massive concern to HTC at the moment though. They are competing with Motorola, Sony and LG - the HTC One certainly competes well amongst within that crowd.

HTC have been bold with the product, they need to be bold with the marketing.

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