HTC has unveiled its new flagship smartphone, HTC One. The phone features a zero-gap aluminum unibody and introduces several features, including BlinkFeed, Zoe, BoomSound, and a new version of HTC's Sense overlay.
BlinkFeed is at the center of the new HTC One experience. BlinkFeed essentially turns the home screen into a single live stream of information that is relevant to the device owner. That information includes social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, and news and photos.
HTC is tapping into more than 1,400 media sources with more than 10,000 articles a day from the likes of AOL family, ESPN, MTV, Vice Media, CoolHunting, Reuters and many others. The idea is to save time by avoiding having to open separate apps to get in the know.
"People today immerse themselves in a constant stream of updates, news and information," said Peter Chou, CEO of Taiwan-based HTC Corp. "Although smartphones are one of the main ways we stay in touch with the people and information we care about, conventional designs have failed to keep pace with how people are actually using them."
"The design and build quality of the HTC One appear to be top notch," Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, told us on his way back from the New York launch event. "They do have some unique software features around the camera and the home screen.
"And in terms of specs, this is definitely as good or better than anything else on the market. The real question is whether consumers will ask for it."
Greengart said that last year, when HTC launched the One X, it was arguably the best Android phone on the market -- but many consumers bought the Samsung Galaxy S III instead.
"Samsung is investing a fortune advertising the Galaxy line, and they have effective ads," Greengart said. "So the combination of ubiquitous and effective ads along with having extremely bright displays that Samsung builds itself has made Samsung the other big brand consumers ask for when shopping. It's been Apple and Samsung."
The HTC One is expected to hit the shelves in late March at AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Pricing was not announced.
With cameras becoming more popular on smartphones, maybe HTC can win some attention with its latest innovation. The HTC One comes with what it calls an UltraPixel Camera.
The camera lets users shoot high-resolution photos that come to life in three-second snippets of video. Dubbed Zoes, these snippet photos and videos can be displayed in a gallery of motion memories. Zoe can also auto-create highlight films from an event using photos and videos set to music with cuts, transitions and effects.
This is made possible with the camera, which includes a sensor with what HTC calls UltraPixels that gather 300 percent more light than traditional smartphone camera sensors. This new approach also promises low-light performance and a variety of other improvements to photos and videos.
Meanwhile, an ultra wide-angle front-facing camera supports 1080p video capture. And multi-axis optical image stabilization for the rear camera also helps make video footage smoother. The camera also makes possible enhanced 360-degree panorama, time sequencing and object removal.