Apple has finally conceded that big screens are better, as its new iPhones offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. It has also finally conceded that a mobile operating system is better when it's more open, as iOS 8 supports third-party keyboards and inter-app communication. It's almost like Apple is saying that Steve Jobs was wrong while rival Android manufacturers and Google were right all along. Oh, the horror. How will Apple fanbois be able to explain this?
But, even as Apple is doing all these things, that some of us have already been enjoying for too many years to count, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still outclassed by rival Android flagships. In fact, the new iPhones are not much different than Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 3, and, as you may know, neither of the two is the latest incarnation in their respective series. Ouch!
Premium devices got most of the attention at IFA 2014, thanks to their cutting edge software and hardware. But there are some other interesting new products announced at the trade show which warrant a look. One of them is HTC's mid-range Android smartphone, Desire 820.
Desire 820 may not be as exciting as, for instance, Galaxy Note Edge is with its curved edge display, but it gives us a sense of what the future of Android hardware looks like. I'll give you a hint -- it's not 32-bit. Desire 820 is among the first smartphones of 2014 to be unveiled with a 64-bit processor, Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 615.
There's no question about it -- carrier exclusives are a bad idea. They hurt consumer choice, limit the chances of a device reaching its full market potential, and have a negative impact on the market shares of the vendor and the platform, just to name a few of the main negatives. This especially holds true for Windows Phone. After all, when did anything good come out out of a carrier-exclusive smartphone running the tiled operating system? Every time one comes out, many platforms fans, as well as reviewers, express their disappointed.
So when HTC One (M8) for Windows only turned up at Verizon at launch, it looked like the Taiwanese maker was setting itself and its new smartphone up for failure. Fortunately, that is not the case, as the Windows Phone 8.1 device will also be available at AT&T and T-Mobile, the latter of which just announced the upcoming availability. That's the good news. Now here comes the disappointing part.
Apple started the 64-bit smartphone craze in September 2013 with iPhone 5s. It was the first 64-bit device of its kind to reach store shelves and, even now, it continues to be unrivaled in this regard by competing flagships. That's because other vendors could only use 32-bit high-end processors from major chip makers like Qualcomm and Nvidia.
While that has yet to change, other 64-bit smartphones, targeting a less demanding crowd, are on their way as, today, Taiwanese maker HTC announces its first 64-bit smartphone, touted to bring "super-fast LTE connectivity at an affordable price point". It's called Desire 510.
Earlier today the first pictures of HTC One (M8) running Windows Phone 8.1 appeared on the web. The leaked images looked genuine, but we were waiting for official confirmation of the device before sharing the news, and the Taiwanese firm has just provided that.
The HTC One (M8) is one of the best -- if not the best -- Android phones available and the Windows Phone variant keeps everything that’s good about it, including the all-metal unibody design, tapered edges, and curved back, 5-inch 1080 by 1920 display, 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and Duo Camera setup.
All Windows Phone 8 devices are supposed to be compatible with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, but it looks like one of them, namely HTC's inconspicuous Windows Phone 8S, will be stuck running Windows Phone 8.1 going forward. That's a shame.
Due to what appear to be hardware incompatibilities, HTC has announced that the first major update for Windows Phone 8.1 will not be offered to its Windows Phone 8S users. The Windows Phone 8X flagship, which it introduced in late-2012, will, however, receive Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.
Today, HTC introduces a new smartphone in its premium Android lineup. Called J butterfly, the device features similar specs to the One (M8) flagship, but without making use of the latter's 4 MP UltraPixel main camera, employing a 13 MP unit instead. Pixel fans, rejoice!
That said, J butterfly retains the Duo Camera technology HTC baked in One (M8). It allows the smartphone to capture depth information to achieve a bokeh effect in photos, which is typical of DSLRs. On the front, there is a 5 MP camera, that is also taken from One (M8), designed for selfie-lovers. So far, J butterfly is shaping up to be what some had hoped One (M8) would be.
In a matter of months, a rumbling schism has developed in the Android camp. On one side sits HTC, churning out gleaming handsets of jaw-dropping design ingenuity. On the other sits Samsung, which seems content to slather everything in plastic, too busy beefing up its smartphones' specs to turn its attentions to ground-breaking design.
LG occupies the hallowed middle ground between the two, having packed impressive specs into a well-crafted handset. The LG G3 is the flagship weapon gunning for the Android top spot against Samsung and HTC -- and we have to say it's putting up quite the fight.
Taiwanese maker HTC is now, undoubtedly, at the pinnacle of timely Android upgrades. It was among the first to announce and deliver KitKat, and now it is stepping up to the plate once again by revealing its Android "L" plans.
HTC says all of its One (M7) and One (M8) smartphones will receive Android L within 90 days of getting the final bits of code from Google. That means both unlocked and mobile operator-branded versions of its two most-recent flagships; One (M7) -- as the original One is referred to by HTC now -- arrived more than a year ago, while One (M8) was launched in late-March, 2014.
HTC has taken to Twitter to have a dig at Android competitor Samsung’s design flaws when it comes to the latter’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone.
The US Twitter account of the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer posted a picture that pictured its HTC One M8 next to a lineup of three different colored plasters along with the slogan "Introducing the cure for bad design".
HTC has been extremely busy recently in terms of unleashing handsets upon us. Over a period of just a few weeks I have reviewed the flagship HTC One M8, the smaller format HTC One mini 2, and the HTC Desire 816. Now, with barely a pause for breath following those last two reviews, here comes the HTC Desire 610.
Styled by HTC as a good value, entertainment-focused handset, the Desire 610 costs around £235. It shares a lot of design features with its more expensive, higher specified cousin the Desire 816, which will set you back close to £300. So, if you need to save money but like what the Desire 816 has to offer, is this handset a good buy?
Microsoft could renew its partnership with HTC in order for a more diverse range of handsets to be available on the Windows Phone platform.
Nick Parker, head of Microsoft’s OEM division, told a packed press conference at Computex that HTC could soon be back in the Windows Phone fold, according to CNET.
HTC has stolen a lot of limelight recently with its flagship handset the One M8 and its smaller One mini 2, and you could be forgiven for thinking that these two are just about all the phone maker has in its range. But in fact the Desire range continues to go strong, and a couple of handsets announced earlier this year have recently popped up for review. I’ll be covering the Desire 610 soon, but today’s review handset is the Desire 816, a large format phone on sale for around £300 which ticks quite a lot of boxes.
The Desire 816 doesn’t have the startlingly good build quality that its top-end cousin the One M8 boasts. The body is unashamedly plastic, and my white review sample had a shiny white plastic back which, while not removable, is quite clearly a separate section. You can see the join where it meets the matte sides of the phone so clearly that it’s almost embarrassing for HTC.
HTC has been praised numerous times for making its two most-recent flagships, the One and One (M8), out of metal. That is because this material gives such smartphones a premium look and feel that is actually worthy of the asking price. And, in the Android world, it sets the company's flagships apart from the myriad plastic-clad competitors. Metal is undeniably good. Except when it is not.
The use of metal adds to the cost of HTC's smartphones, which makes them less attainable for many, if not most, consumers. So, to give them a chance to experience the One (M8), albeit on a budget, HTC has taken out the metal and replaced it with plastic. Meet the new One (E8).
It's quite a trend now for handset makers to produce a big phone, then produce a smaller version of it and call it 'mini' or, in Sony's case, 'compact'. The idea is to piggy-back on the features that a flagship, top of the range phone offers, and bring down the overall size for smaller hands, and the overall price for smaller budgets. So, the new HTC One M8 has been joined by the HTC One mini 2, just as the original HTC One was joined by the original, er, HTC One mini.
You will have spotted an obvious difference in naming between the new flagship and the new mini. HTC isn't helping itself here, but it clearly wants us to view the two handsets as close relations, so let's forgive, forget and move on.