Tech Biz

HTC One: Chinese and Japanese Offerings Better Than Western Version

Though late, Chinese and Japanese versions of the hit smartphone include microSD slots.

By J. T. Quigley for

The HTC One is a major new player in the smartphone market, easily stepping up to the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 in terms of performance, quality, and aesthetic appeal. In fact, many bloggers and consumers have asserted that the HTC One is the best phone available right now.

With an aluminum chassis, patented “BoomSound” dual front speakers, built-in Beats by Dre audio, and the so-called “UltraPixel” camera; the HTC One is already packed with premium features that have boosted its reception among the smartphone elite.

The face-off between the gadgets has inspired Samsung fans to unleash a major rallying cry in defense of their beloved S4: touting the microSD slot and replaceable battery that come standard with the South Korean flagship.

While no iteration of the HTC One will sport a replaceable battery, both the Chinese and Japanese versions will support microSD cards up to 64GB. HTC claims that this feature wasn’t included in western markets due to space issues, related to the differing size of internal radio bands. Touting the capability to easily boost storage could definitely raise the One’s appeal in the Asian market, but is HTC capable of meeting demand in the first place?

The HTC One was supposed to begin its global rollout in March, ahead of Samsung’s flagship S4, but instead arrived at the same time or later. The One was released in China on April 26 (the same day as the Chinese S4) after global shipping delays blamed on slow camera production and lackluster marketing. However, the “J One,” as it is referred to in Japan, didn’t start shipping until June 3 – nearly two weeks after the latest Galaxy’s Japanese debut.

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In addition to the microSD slot, the Chinese version of the One will also sport dual SIM card slots. The Japanese offering will include FeliCa, a NFC-enabled “smart card” system from Sony that serves as a popular electronic wallet for Japanese consumers. Both iterations will have a removable back cover, accessed by a latch release that replaces the micro-SIM tray on other models, which is cut from the same piece of aluminum as the main section of the phone.

The HTC one will be available on all major Chinese carriers, but the J One will only be offered on Japan’s KDDI au. While KDDI au has the second largest subscriber base in Japan, it has the smallest market capitalization among Japan’s top three carriers. Perhaps the exclusive J One will help the company edge up against rivals Docomo and Softbank.

Google has also announced a stripped-down stock Android version of the HTC One (alongside a similarly stock version of the S4), which will be available from the Google Play store from June 26 in the U.S. There is no word on an Asian release.

You can read The Diplomat’s comparison of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 here.