HTC is kicking off the start of Android phone season. The Taiwan-based company announced its latest flagship Android phone, the HTC One. "We think it's time to shake things up in the smartphone space," Mike Woodward, President of HTC America said. "We have decided to come out and reinvent the smartphone."
Of course, HTC hasn't completely reinvented what the smartphone looks like but according to Woodward, the One is a complete shift for the industry, built around how people use their phones now. "We have re-architected the phone around how Generation Feed behaves," Woodward said. Woodward and HTC say Generation Feed is those of us who look down at their phones constantly, staying connected with news and friends.
HTC's Android phones have always been known for their top-of-the-line hardware parts. The phone is made entirely of aluminum, according to Woodward, who said it took two years to make a good all-metal phone. It also has a large 4.7-inch, 1080p screen, which is flanked vertically by two speaker strips. The phone is fast too, due to its quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM.
Where the One stands out from other Android phones on specs is with its camera. "Generation Feed grew up with a camera in their pocket, but the pictures that they take are not always great and they're not always outside," Woodward said. HTC has ditched megapixels for an ultrapixel camera. "An ultrapixel is twice the size of a megapixel -- it lets in 300 percent more light," Woodward says. "We paired that with dual-axis stabilization. This is different than letting a shutter open."
HTC says the new technology should allow you to take much better low-light shots without having to use flash, which often makes for flat, blown-out images. A shot without a flash and a shot with the iPhone didn't match it. Nokia has focused on similar low-light settings with its Lumia 920 PureView cameravi.
HTC has paired that camera hardware with some new software features. It has livened up its gallery and allows you to take three-second videos when you take a photo. HTC calls this sort of video or photo a Zoe; the camera takes one second of video before you hit the shutter button and then two seconds right after, giving you photos that "come to life." HTC says you can share Zoes with anyone via a URL.
HTC has always added its own flare to Android with its Sense software. While HTC backed off from tweaking Android too heavily in its previous phones, it has begun to think of Google's software entirely differently with the One. The phone is based on the latest version of Android (Android 4.2 or Jelly Bean), but HTC says that the majority of Android users only use one home screen instead of the three provided by Google.
"We found that widgets and home panels aren't that well understood, so we wanted to simplify that," Woodward said. Called Blinkfeed, the home screen on the One is now a grid of news or a newsfeed of your social media accounts and news accounts. "The idea is in a blink of an eye your phone is constantly refreshed and your phone is constantly alive. That becomes your home screen," Woodward said. The feed can be customized and if you don't like it, you can choose to put your Blinkfeed on another pane and use a regular Android home screen.
In addition to the Blinkfeed and redesigned user interface, HTC has added features like a Sense TV, which works with an IR blaster in the phone to turn the phone into a remote control for your TV. The One will be offered by 180 carriers in 80 countries over the next few months. It will be available in the US at T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T. HTC would not confirm the pricing, but said it would be competitive.