HTC unveiled its newest flagship device Tuesday in an event held jointly in New York City and London. The updated HTC One has brand new specs, features, and an updated design.
The updated HTC One has a 4.7-inch full 1080p HD display made of Gorilla Glass, keeping it on par with competitors like the iPhone 5, which uses Apple’s Retina Display, and the Samsung Galaxy S3, which has a 1280 x 780p Super AMOLED display. The design of the phone is actually a little thicker than the original HTC One, but the device thins out at the edges to less than 4mm.
For hardware improvements, the HTC One refresh features a “revolutionary new camera” with both front and rear lenses that users can switch between by simply swiping the screen. HTC avoided using the term “megapixels” when discussing the HTC One’s camera, opting to call it an “UltraPixel” camera, which HTC claims gather 300 percent more light than other smartphone camera sensor.
The HTC One comes with front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers, on the top and bottom of the phone. HTC said the front-facing speakers provide truer stereo sound. The sound is only expanded by Beats Audio, which has been implemented into the HTC One as well. The device also has two microphones to capture “clear, high-quality” audio.
HTC’s flagship device comes with the Android Jelly Bean 4.2-based operating system running out of the box and is faster than its predecessor due to a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM. The new Android-derived OS also has a new music player that connects to cloud storage services and a visualizer that displays the lyrics of the current song playing, capitalizing on the devices’ new speakers and microphones.
In addition, the HTC One has a new feature that TV enthusiasts will especially enjoy. The phone doubles as a universal remote control and mirroring app – so even if you do lose your remote in the depths of your couch, the HTC One can essentially replace your remote, and even beam multimedia from your device to the screen.
Some of the best features on the new HTC One are featured prominently in the device. BlinkFeed is a new way to conceptualize and interact with the home screen. Instead of the standard app layout, the HTC One shows a grid of images, which automatically updates with news and images from friends, using social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and the world, with 1,400 partnerships with content providers like the Associated Press, ESPN, and MTV. Mashable compares the new feature to Flipboard, the popular app with a similar layout. The constantly updating home screen is a fresh take on something that most users take for granted.
Another new feature is the HTC Zoe, which documents HD video and photos simultaneously. The HTC Zoe takes videos and photos and creates highlight videos, and many noticed similarities between the HTC Zoe and Blackberry’s new feature on its Z10, StoryMaker. StoryMaker lets users make a video presentation using still photos and videos, and allows for filters as well.
The HTC One is packed with competitive features and specs, but can the device compete with industry leaders like the iPhone 5 or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, which may be unveiled next month? The original HTC One, which was released last year, earned great reviews but had poor sales figures. Eldar Murtazin noted (in a tweet announcing the purported arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S4) that last year, HTC One sales were hurt by the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S3, and predicts it will happen again. If HTC manages to figure out how to convince consumers that it's offering quality products, it could cut into Samsung Galaxy S4 sales, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been highly anticipated and is reportedly packed with new features too. Thanks to the close release date between the two devices, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One will undoubtedly be compared by both critics and consumers.
Ian Kar is a reporter from International Business Times, where this piece first appeared.