HTC Aims To Take on Apple and Samsung with Flagship HTC 10
A new flagship handset from Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC looks to become the newest entrant into the competition for high-end mobile devices. With a next-generation camera, top-of-the-line processor, better battery life, and the potential to expand its storage capacity to 2 TB, the HTC 10 will easily be part of the conversation about the best smartphones along with Apple's iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S7.
The body of the HTC 10 is carved out of a single piece of aluminum and its 5.2-inch curved-edge Gorilla Glass display blends directly into the body. Meanwhile, the company has gone all in when it comes to audio quality, with re-engineered Hi-Fi speakers that seem designed to capture the hearts of even the pickiest audiophiles.
Software and Hardware Improvements
The HTC 10 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 2.2 GHz quad-core processor with 4 GB of RAM and enhanced 4G LTE. The handset will come in 32 GB and 64 GB models, although users will be able to expand that to up to 2 TB thanks to the microSD card slot.
Video and audio both look like standout features on the phone, which boasts 4K video capabilities along with 24-bit stereo Hi-Res audio recording. Besides the Hi-Res audio, the handset features a headphone amp that delivers twice the power of a conventional headphone amp, the ability to scale up from 16-bit to 24-bit audio, and high performance digital to analogue conversion, the company said.
HTC is also highlighting the software improvements it has made with the latest model. In addition to running Android 6 Marshmallow with HTC Sense, the company said the smartphone’s apps will launch twice as fast as its previous models. The display also promises to be more responsive to users’ finger movements, making navigation easier and faster. The company said it has also reduced the amount of bloatware and pre-loaded apps to further streamline the user experience.
Too Late to Market?
But Boris Metodiev, research manager, Mobile and Connected Devices, 451 Research, told us he doesn’t believe that the new HTC competes with the iPhone, but with the other premium Android smartphones, mainly the ones from Samsung, LG and Huawei.
"Problem for HTC is all three companies already released their flagship devices, and HTC 10 won’t be available before May," he said. "For example, Samsung Galaxy S7 has been on the market for couple of months already. Once a consumer gets a new premium device, he's unlikely to switch in the next few months, either because he already spent a lot of money on it, or because he is tied to a contract."
Metodiev said this time HTC was much bolder making changes compared to the last two iterations of its flagship device. One of the major disappointments with HTC One M8 and M9 was that they were too similar to their predecessors. And although undoubtedly still good smartphones, they didn’t give consumers enough reasons to upgrade or switch to them, he said.
"Refreshed design, better camera and longer lasting battery are all great improvements that will resonate well with consumers," Metodiev said. "The HTC Sense interface is simplified, without the clutter, much closer to a stock Android. HTC seems to have fixed most of the things that were wrong with the previous version. Still, without a groundbreaking innovation, launching later than its competitors, and lacking their marketing resources, it’s unlikely that HTC 10 will reverse the fortunes of the company."
The new phone also comes with a new layout, called Freestyle, that abandons the fixed grid layout for apps in favor of a more customizable design. “You can get creative by dragging icons, stickers and widgets anywhere you like,” the company said in a statement. “Layer them, group them, link stickers to apps or get rid of screen icons altogether, the choice is yours.”
Like the latest iPhone models the HTC 10 incorporates a fingerprint sensor that the company said can recognize a user and unlock a phone in as little as 0.2 seconds. Battery life has also been given a boost over earlier models, up to 30 percent greater and capable of providing up to two days of use on a single charge. The HTC 10 can also recharge up to 50 percent of its battery in as little as 30 minutes, the company said.
In the U.S., the HTC 10 will be available from Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, which will announce colors, availability and pricing. In addition, HTC is offering an unlocked edition on its Web site that will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks. The unlocked edition is available for pre-orders beginning today, with shipping in early May. The unlocked edition comes in glacier silver and carbon gray, and costs $699.
Image Credit: Flagship HTC 10 phone image, pictured above, via HTC.