Following rival maker Samsung, HTC continues the smartphone flagship miniaturizing trend by unveiling a smaller iteration of the company's popular One. The new handset, simply called One mini, offers appealing hardware specifications in a package that targets a wider market audience.
The One mini packs a 4.3-inch Super LCD 3 panel with a resolution of 720 by 1280 (341 pixels per inch density). The device is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by an Adreno 305 graphics card, 1 GB of RAM and a non-removable 1,800 mAh battery. The smartphone ships with 16 GB of internal storage and no microSD card slot (therefore, users will be limited to the out-of-the-box capacity).
The magic is gone. As recently as mid-2012, rumors of a new iPhone was command performance -- bloggers and social networkers rushed every little bit of spec speculation to the web. A year later, has-beens are kings. Buzz belongs to the once high and mighty: HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Sony, each a former market-share commander. These companies are all something Apple, and even Samsung, is not: Hungry. Pride goes before the fall, they say. Pride brought down the big four (five, including BlackBerry), as their execs laughed off iPhone's launch in June 2007. They laugh again, as their companies bring truly innovative mobiles to market and Apple acts much as they did six years ago.
The fruit-logo company has a huge problem that is core to future competition. For nearly a decade, Apple benefitted from free-marketing, as enthusiast tech bloggers and reporters and over-eager Wall Street analysts and investors fanned the smallest flicker of rumor into raging fire. Now Android rises, like one of those robots in "Pacific Rim", to crush the iPhone monster. Meanwhile, Apple's humbled stock price gets less bang from rumors. CEO Tim Cook signaled three months ago that new "innovations" won't come until autumn -- and there are no leaks to rally the faithful against the horde of Android and Windows Phone infidels. The problem isn't bleeding market share -- a circumstance in most every market outside the United States -- but one of bleeding mindshare.
On Wednesday, US mobile operator Sprint announced that the new HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo will be the first Windows Phone 8 devices to join its portfolio. The two handsets arrive this summer in Sprint's online and brick and mortar stores.
"We know our customers are anxious to get their hands on these Windows Phone 8 smartphones, HTC 8XT and ATIV S Neo", says Sprint's Fared Adib. "Without a doubt, they will rival any smartphone on the market today". On a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the 8XT and the ATIV S Neo will be available for $99.99 and $149.99, respectively.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese maker HTC unveiled a beefed up version of its Butterfly Android smartphone, called Butterfly S. The new handset, which bears an uncanny resemblance to its six months-old predecessor, features improved hardware specifications and runs "Android Jelly Bean" (the iteration is not revealed at this point).
Similar to the Butterfly and other high-end Android smartphones, the Butterfly S packs a 5-inch Super LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a 440 ppi (pixels per inch) density. The handset is powered by a 1.9 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor (that is also found in the Samsung Galaxy S4) coupled with 2 GB of RAM and a whopping 3,200 mAh battery (by contrast, the Butterfly sports a 2,020 mAh unit).
Today, cross-promotion network AdDuplex sent me its latest Windows Phone report for June 2013 which, once again, places the Nokia Lumia 920 as the most popular device running Microsoft's tiled mobile operating system. The handset accounts for 12 percent of all Windows Phones, followed by the Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800 with 11.6 percent and 10.6 percent share, respectively.
According to the report, the Finnish maker is behind nine of the 10 most popular Windows Phones. The only non-Lumia entry in the top is HTC's Windows Phone 8X which takes the ninth place. The most noteworthy changes in the rankings comes from the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 620, which have managed to surpass older Nokia-branded Windows Phone to take the fourth and the fifth place, respectively.
More than two weeks ago I asked: "Will you buy HTC One?" Preliminary results are in, and many of you express intentions to get the smartphone. Last week, I expressed how much more I like the One than iPhone 5.
The unlocked One is backordered at HTC.com, while T-Mobile can't meet demand. Someone wants this smartphone, and it might just be you. Forty-five percent of respondents say they will get the handset "as soon as available", while another 11.5 percent "within 3 months". Buying polls like this one, and that includes those conducted by outfits like ChangeWave, only measure sentiment -- what people would like to do. What they actually do often varies for lots of reasons. Clearly there is lots of interest in HTC One.
Anyone moving up from a feature phone to smart one and considering iPhone 5 should look at HTC One. From a design perspective, both stand out for mostly metal enclosures, and they share similar design aesthetics. On T-Mobile USA, HD voice is available for both phones, too. Beyond that, their functionality couldn't be more different, because of screen resolution, physical size and overall interaction -- the latter more about operating systems than anything else.
I probably would chose the One over S4 but haven't used the Samsung. I reviewed iPhone 5 in September and one is in process for the HTC flagship. Simply stated: One is the best smartphone I have ever used. The device is so beautiful, the display equally so, that I want to hold and caress the device. Often. Social and news UI BlinkFeed changes how and how often I use a smartphone. More. More. More. The smartphone makes me happy in a way not since the original iPhone nearly six years ago.
The question is long overdue, particularly since I asked about Samsung Galaxy S4, the other major 1080p smartphone freshly released. After some delays, the One can now be purchased -- well, if you can find the thing -- and HTC is advertising rather aggressively. I've seen commercials in prime time, sometimes two in a row, throughout the week.
This afternoon, I hauled off to one of the two San Diego T-Mobile stores selling HTC One. Both are stocked out, but there was a live phone I could play around with. I toyed with ordering the smartphone from T-Mobile online late last night. Opportunity lost. The One is "out of stock" today. AT&T and Sprint also sell the One. Supplies are limited.
HTC One gets no respect, and that's not right. We've written stories up the river and down to the sea about Samsung Galaxy S4, and little about its rival. My colleague Mihaita Bamburic posts about the smartphone's arrival on T-Mobile USA next week, for example. But HTC One is available there today. We shouldn't mention the one and ignore the other.
HTC One is available in Glacial Silver color for $99.99 upfront, plus 24 $20 monthly payments, or $579.99 outright. For a limited time, buyers get a free car dock with their purchase. AT&T's upfront price is $199.99, or $599.99 outright. Sprint charges the same upfront, or $99.99 for those bringing a number from another carrier. Otherwise: $549.99.
I am thinking about doing one of my weird experiments, by switching to Windows Phone for 30 days. This would be cold feet for me. I asked Microsoft for a loaner in December 2011 and was promised a device but never received one. So with the exception of scattered minutes inside the local Microsoft Store, I have little experience with the platform. That's not right.
This morning, I emailed the PR person who helped me more than a year ago, but the message bounced; perhaps she moved on to another job. Meantime, while figuring out whom to contact, I have a question for those of you using Windows Phone: Why? For others choosing (or switching to) something else: Why not? Your responses will be excellent start to this journey.
The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission is investigating allegations that Samsung representatives posted fake reviews of rival HTC’s products online. Allegations of dirty dealing come from whistle-blowing site taiwansamsungleaks.org, which posted documents it claims are from a third-party marketing agency employed by Samsung.
The documents reveal a raft of allegedly fake posts on popular Taiwanese gadget websites, prompting the leaks site to describe Samsung’s tactics as "evil". The company is accused of hiring students to post negative comments about HTC smartphones.
AdDuplex, which touts itself as the "largest cross-promotion network for Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps", released a new monthly report which shows the Nokia Lumia 920 as the most popular Windows Phone device currently available. The handset holds a 14 percent market share among devices running Microsoft's smartphone operating system.
According to the report, the Lumia 920 dethroned the Lumia 800, "by a very small margin", for the title of the most popular Windows Phone device. The 920 was released worldwide in November 2012. The latter made its way onto the market one year earlier and also holds approximately a 14 percent market share among Windows Phone handsets, albeit slightly lower when it comes down to actual numbers.
Well, the rumors were false. Facebook didn't release a phone today, not that I'm surprised. There are reasons why we write so few rumor stories here at BetaNews -- they often are false. "We're not building a phone. We're not building an operating system", CEO Mark Zuckerberg said early this afternoon. But the social network has launched an OEM program for the new Facebook Home, which displaces the default Android start screen. HTC is first partner. Aptly named then, the smartphone is called HTC First.
Preorders start today, and the device will be available exclusively from AT&T, in four colors (black, pale blue, red and white), on April 12. Facebook Home, which also will be downloadable same day for HTC One X and One X+ and Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II, is First's default experience. Essentially, the social network becomes primary user interface on top of Android.
Jelly Bean may be the newest sweet in the family, but it is steadily gaining ground against its older brothers. Combined, Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 reached a 25 percent distribution level in the green droid realm, based on the number of devices accessing Google Play during the 14 days ending April 2.
Starting this month, Google has decided to alter how the data is collected. Google says: "Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers". Why? Because the company considers the new collection method to be more accurate and that it best represents "users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem".
On Tuesday, U.S. mobile operators AT&T and Sprint revealed important details concerning the availability of the HTC One. Starting Thursday, April 4, the device is offered for pre-order on AT&T, while Sprint subscribers have to wait another day. At both carriers sales start April 19.
Pricing is conservative, as on a two-year contract the HTC One in 32GB trim runs for $199.99 at both AT&T and Sprint, similar to the BlackBerry Z10 (on AT&T) or the 16GB Apple iPhone 5 -- both of which come with half the storage capacity. Available colors for the HTC One include black and silver. On AT&T, customers that pre-order the device also get an HTC Media Link HD wireless HDMI adaptor for free.