HTC aims high with latest One flagship; pushes into wearables

01 MAR 2015
HTC pic pg2

Recovering vendor HTC debuted its latest flagship device, One M9, as it looks to win some of the smartphone limelight from Android market leader Samsung and its Galaxy S6.

With both devices set to reach the market in coming weeks, alongside a raft of other new devices unveiled here at Mobile World Congress, competition among vendors will be fierce.

In terms of design, the product follows an evolution path from the original One M7 smartphone, which was announced in 2013, through last year’s One M8.

This time out the finish has a subtle two-tone colour element. “We’ve taken inspiration from jewellery sectors, for example luxury watches”, Graham Wheeler, director of commercialisation product management at HTC, told Mobile World Daily.

Options available will be dual-tone silver and rose gold, single-tone gunmetal grey, single-tone gold and dual-tone gold and pink.

One M9 features a number of enhancements around the key use cases – pictures and video, and sound.

In the former category, HTC has shifted away from its not universally popular “ultrapixel” technology in the main camera to a more traditional 20MP camera.

But ultrapixels live-on in the front-facing camera, which is more likely to be used for arms-length selfies and low-light indoor shots.

“We’ve looked at how people are using cameras, and how tastes are changing in terms of what people are doing with their mobile photography,” Wheeler said.

New on the audio front is Dolby sound processing for both the integrated speakers and headphones.

The device has a 5-inch full-HD display, compared with quad-HD on Samsung’s Galaxy S6 line.

In terms of software, the device runs a new version of HTC’s Sense user interface, Sense 7, which has a focus on user customisation and personalisation.

Wearable launch
HTC also announced its first wearable product, although at the moment it is focused on the US market, following a partnership announced earlier this year with sportswear company Under Armour.

The wearable, called HTC Grip, is said to offer more accurate tracking, for example using GPS for outdoor walks rather than the more traditional pedometer (which is still supported for indoor use). It can also be connected to other devices such as heart-rate and cadence monitors and via Blueooth LE.

HTC Grip works with any recent iOS or Android device.

Details of an international launch were not revealed, although Wheeler hinted that this is likely to take place in line with the US-focused sportswear company’s plans.

“It’s a strategic, longer-term partnership,” he said.

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Steve Costello

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