HTC might have jumped the gun today, ahead of the official unveiling of the new One flagship. The Taiwanese maker just released a number of branded apps on Google Play, meant to bring new features quicker to its Android devices, one of which confirms the soon-to-be-announced smartphone and the availability of a Google Play Edition.
The app in question is called HTC Gallery. According to its description, it "provides you with a range of fast and easy ways to locate your photos", and looks like a replacement for Android's built-in Gallery app.
HTC may be upping the ante by releasing quality smartphones and quickly rolling out Android updates, but the company's not-too-distant past, riddled with less than stellar support, is still taking a toll on its reputation, with sales of the latest smartphones underperforming compared to those of main rivals. The lack of trust is certainly an issue which HTC has to overcome.
The company seems to have found a resolution. To give more credence to its commitment of becoming a trustworthy vendor, HTC has unveiled a new program which is meant for the One, One Max and One Mini, that promises extended software support, accidental damage coverage and other perks like lots of free cloud storage and back-up services.
HTC is a brand that has fallen from the lofty heights it enjoyed just a few years ago. Today, the company releases fourth quarter earnings and the figures do not make for particularly happy reading.
On the positive side of things, the results show HTC managed to break even -- this is good news having suffered losses throughout 2013. It's not great news as profits stand at just NT$0.31 billion, but it's certainly better than a loss.
Nexus smartphones and tablets have developed a cult following among enthusiasts mainly due to Google's ability to deliver updates to the latest versions of Android in a timely manner. The software also has little to no customizations over the code that is available in AOSP, unlike that of many devices that have been offered throughout the years by Android vendors, such as HTC and Samsung. Android enthusiasts often refer to Google's distributions as "pure Android", even though that is no longer the case exactly with the new Nexus 5, that has introduced a launcher not officially found on any of its siblings (or available in AOSP for that matter).
Nexus devices were also supposed to usher Android vendors into releasing smartphones and tablets that adhere to the design guidelines established by Google. This is one area where the search giant's brand has failed to become a trendsetter, as the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung continue to apply their own vision on how their Android handsets should look at the software and hardware levels. Remember how physical buttons were supposed to go away from the front of Android devices? Well, they are still alive and kicking even in 2014 and even on tablets (even though there were clear signs pointing to slates only adopting on-screen keys). It could, therefore, be argued that the Nexus ethos has already ran its course and it is time for Google to move on. So should Google move on?
HTC could be banned from selling its One mini phone in the UK if an appeal against a court ruling fails. Judge Richard Arnold has ruled that several HTC handsets could be removed from sale after a court battle with Nokia over patent infringement claims. HTC has already lodged an appeal against the ruling which has the potential to block the sale of other HTC phones -- although the HTC One managed to escape the ruling.
Nokia had claimed that some of HTC's phones included chips for which the Finnish company owns the patent and back in October the High Court in London found this to be the case. This latest ruling is the next step in Nokia's legal battle, but it is not yet clear whether a ban will definitely be put in place -- this depends on the success, or otherwise, of the appeal.
Even though just a little over a month has passed since Google released the Nexus 5, and even less since Android 4.4 started rolling out to compatible devices, KitKat has already made its way into the Android distribution charts. It is a very impressive achievement considering that it took the third Jelly Bean iteration more than twice as long to enter the charts.
Based on the number of devices accessing Google Play in the seven days ending December 2, the three Jelly Bean iterations continue to dominate the Android landscape with a whopping 54.5 percent share, up from 52.1 percent a month before. Android 4.1 is the most popular distribution, running on 37.4 percent of all registered devices. Its growth is barely noticeable, up from 37.3 percent in early-November.
A total of six Android devices from Samsung and HTC have been delisted by Futuremark after suspicions were raised about their performance in 3DMark benchmarks. Although no specific details are given about why the handsets were removed, concerns surrounded the performance of particular phones.
It comes after Samsung code appeared to detect the presence of benchmarking software and seemingly increased GPU frequency to achieve higher results. A new version of the Android app implements the delistings.
As some of you may know, Taiwanese maker HTC is among the first Android vendors to reveal its KitKat upgrade plans, shortly after Google launched the new mobile operating system. The company's US arm announced, in mid-November, that the code for the Google Play edition of the One is finished and sent to the search giant to commence the roll-out.
A little over a week after, the HTC One Google Play edition is now finally receiving Android 4.4 KitKat via an over-the-air update (hit the link to download the file). The OTA file comes in at a hefty 305 MB and will upgrade your device to build KRT16S, which is the latest one available as of today (the same build version was just rolled-out to some Nexus devices in the first post-KitKat update).
Of all top Android manufacturers, HTC and Motorola seem to be among the least likely players to release timely Android upgrades. Prior to the One and Moto X neither of the two has actually been quick to announce immediate roll-outs nor reassuring plans to do so for the foreseeable future. Yet here we are today with both HTC and Motorola doing just that. Interesting how their strategies have changed.
HTC's US arm has announced that the North American models of the HTC One will receive the Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade by the end of January 2014. This estimate also includes the Verizon version, which has yet to even get Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. HTC, however, says that this situation will not affect its plans.
With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
Fans of smartphones with larger displays have a new reason to celebrate as HTC takes the wraps off the gigantically-screened HTC One max. The new 5.9-inch device joins the HTC One and HTC One Mini, creating quite a family of choice.
The One max is without a doubt the daddy of the group, and in addition to the larger screen it also features HTC Sense 5.5. Just like the One, the One max has an all-metal (well, mostly) body.
According to a new report by Bloomberg, Microsoft last month reached out to HTC to see if the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer would be interested in adding Windows Phone as a second OS to its Android handsets.
The story claims Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, suggested "cutting or eliminating the [Windows Phone] license fee to make the idea more attractive" to HTC. The Taiwanese firm makes the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, but reportedly has no plans for further devices running the tiled OS.
This continues with the smartphone craze as two new Android devices are announced for the USA -- the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy Mega. Both devices aim to fill a need and are defined by their size.
Verizon subscribers who are in the market for a free, on-contract smartphone now have two more options to choose from, as the US mobile operator just lowered the price of the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 928 from $99.99 to zero, when purchased alongside a two-year agreement.
It is worth noting that the Windows Phone 8X and the Lumia 928 join the likes of the LG Lucid, Pantech Marauder and Samsung Stratosphere II in being offered for free alongside a two-year contract with big red. Unlike the HTC and Nokia-branded devices, none of the other three handsets are high-end smartphones.
Starting tomorrow, most Windows Phone 8 devices will be unable to sync Gmail calendar and contacts entries though new connections, as Google officially drops support for Exchange ActiveSync in its consumer-oriented email service. The search giant initially revealed that EAS would be ditched after January 30, but decided to give Microsoft a six-month reprieve, which ends today, to give the company time to implement CalDAV and CardDAV (the two protocols required for calendar and contacts sync, respectively) support in its tiled smartphone operating system, before finally pulling the plug.
New handsets, like the Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020, already ship with the Windows Phone 8 version (known as GDR2) which adds CalDAV and CardDAV support. However, the necessary update has yet to be rolled-out to the majority of older smartphones, like my Lumia 920 for instance (according to user reports, it is available on the unbranded HTC Windows Phone 8X), a delay which potentially affects most Windows Phone 8 users, if device market share is of any indication.