HTC is in sore need of a blockbuster handset -- and it hopes the Droid DNA does the trick. The Droid DNA is available exclusively through Verizon Wireless and will hit retail stores on Nov. 21 for $199 with a two-year contract.
The Droid DNA promises technology that rivals the latest HDTVs. HTC is billing it as the first smartphone to feature a true 1080p HD super LCD 3 display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection. The Droid DNA offers 440 pixels per inch on a 5-inch screen -- far more than Apple's Retina display.
"It's no secret that people depend on their smartphones more and more every day, which rightfully raises expectations for performance, speed, and design," said Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC. Mackenzie suggested that the new device meets current market demands with the HD display, latest quad-core processor, and Verizon's 4G LTE network .
We asked Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, for his quick review on the Droid DNA. He told us it has a screen that almost defies superlatives.
"It's bright and colorful and you cannot see the pixels. You'd need a jeweler's loupe. There are so many little dots packed in per inch that there's just no way to see them all. That means text looks razor sharp and if you get a high definition video, basically you have an HDTV in your hand," Greengart said.
Of course, at five inches the phone may not find favor with consumers that have smaller hands. That said, Greengart has seen consumers with small hands look at even larger phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S III or even the Galaxy Note II phone-tablet , with its 5.5-inch display.
"The big upside for HTC is that Verizon is calling this their flagship Droid phone and they are using the Droid brand, and that typically means that they are going to be advertising heavily and Verizon has an enormous advertising budget," Greengart said. "In the past we've seen when Verizon heavily advertises a phone that phone tends to sell well. HTC has benefited from that in the past."
The Droid DNA uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, which features a quad-core 1.5-GHz CPU and high-performance GPU. The phone also sports a full 2 GB of RAM so consumers can use multiple apps at the same time. Meanwhile, HTC Sense 4+ and Android 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean, lets consumers customize features on the device and put their most important content front and center.
The Droid DNA has a camera with fast image capture and good images even in low light. The camera is 8 megapixels and features a wide-angle lens, five-level automatic flash, backside illuminated sensor and fast autofocus. A feature called HT VideoPic lets consumers capture video and still images at the same time. Hold down the shutter button and the camera takes multiple photos at up to four frames per second.
The smartphone also includes a 2.1-megapixel, ultra-wide angle, front-facing camera that allows more to be captured in self-portraits, and up to four people for group shots. Auto Portrait works to make it easier for consumers to take photos of themselves and their friends with automatic face detection and a countdown timer.