On Tuesday, hundreds of journalists and analysts gathered in the German Gymnasium, Pancras Road, London, for HTC’s big reveal. Rumours were rife that they would be revealing the M7 but HTC shocked the world and opted to invest in a new,unfamiliar and risky title, the HTC One.
HTC has revealed their latest flagship in the smartphone market and having attended the launch, I have to say it's marvellous. The design team went above and beyond to produce a handset that could rival that of market titans, Samsung and Apple, with revolutionary new features, 4.7 inch-1080p display and slick all-aluminium finish.
In today's market it's not enough to just improve on specs; companies are forced to look for innovative new features that cater for the consumer which are otherwise unheard off. The HTC One does just that, leap-frogging the iPhone 5 and Blackberry Z10 with a creative, attractive and unique focus on delivering and generating content.
Holding the phone in my hand, the architecture felt like a marvel in its own right. A powerful Snapdragon quad-core processor drives an ultra megapixel 4.7-inch display, 2.1-megapixel front-facing lens, 2GB of RAM and the Android 4.1 OS. The HTC One also comes with 2,300mAh Li-polymer battery compared to the smaller 1,800mAh battery of the Blackberry Z10 which promises up to 15 per cent greater lifespan.
The OS is layered with the latest version of Sense UI and allows users to vertically scroll through a home screen of tiles with a focus on big, clear images and deviation away from cluttered apps and widgets. HTC has also formed an agreement with Aol, the American global brand company, to produce what they call 'BlinkFeed' whereby users are able to access up to 1400 content sources directly to their phones with full social media integration delivered straight to your homescreen in something that looks akin to a Facebook feed.
The home screen does well to focus interactive content readily to the user; the layout is simplified and filled with large, clear images which look surprisingly sharp in person. The black version does well to distract your attention from the speakers, camera, and sensor cluster but it's the silver that really screams smartphone the first time you see it.
Apart from having what is undoubtedly the smallest full HD display boasting up to 468 pixels per inch, the HTC One also comes with two stereo front spacing speakers and internal amplifier fully integrated with 'BeatsAudio' to deliver a clear audio experience known as 'BoomSound'. The combination is an industry first coupled with a new music player, which now displays lyrics when available to open the door for the visual music trend.
While Sound Hound did this before, the feature is now integrated into the Sense platform.
'HTC Sense' cleverly monitors the call volume and adjusts itself according to the level of noise around the caller to ensure a crisp reception whilst Sense TV makes full use of the phone's built in infrared to allow users to control the television with the app presenting the current list of programs as tiles which allow for easy navigation.
Perhaps the most exciting feature is the introduction of 'Zoe' or the photos-in-video concept. HTC has done away with the regular snapshot and now allows users to take short high res videos every time they take a picture. The user is then able to scroll through a series of static images that best capture the moment or simply compile his/her own 'highlight' package which can be easily uploaded and shared.
The phone is all metal and less that 4mm thick with a slick aluminium finish. It's light, 143g, and is tapered around the back and sides making it easy to handle and unbelievably comfortable in the palm of your hand.
The clever but bold strategy could work wonders for the company as the majority of consumers begin to make the shift to high-end affordable devices. Worldwide release of the HTC One is expected mid March and in South Africa in April.
To ensure greater success, HTC will need to be more proactive with its own marketing whilst successfully developing the 'One' brand and the company name. The design and interface already sets it apart from much of the 'Android generation' and with more carriers committed to a single smartphone than ever before, the HTC One looks extremely promising and certainly stands out as one of the most attractive smart phones the world has ever seen.