HTC speculation mounts ahead of portfolio update

HTC speculation mounts ahead of portfolio update

08 OCT 2014

HTC was the subject of a flurry of rumours, ahead of a US event scheduled for later today.

As usual, different sources had slightly different takes on what was a core theme – improved imaging capabilities. With the event tagged “Double Exposure” by the vendor, this is hardly a great leap.

According to Engadget, the vendor is developing a smartphone with twin 13MP cameras to enable high-resolution selfies – it also apparently has a front-facing flash to this end.

It has been referred to as Desire Eye, and also features a 5.2-inch screen, quadcore Qualcomm processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

Another widely-cited option is another One (M8) variant, possibly called One (M8) Eye.

Again, the focus is on the camera, which is likely to see a more traditional 13MP sensor added to One (M8), in place of the “ultrapixel” camera used currently. It would retain the “duo camera” feature of the original, intended to capture depth information.

This specification would effectively put it on a par with HTC’s Butterfly 2, but with a metal body – Butterfly 2 has a polycarbonate shell, more akin to HTC’s One (E8).

While One (M8) has been largely well-received, the camera has seen mixed reviews.

Perhaps less likely is the unveiling of the anticipated One M8 Max, a replacement for the current One Max phablet.

This long-rumoured device would feature a 5.9-inch screen with 2K resolution (compared with full HD in the predecessor). Other specifications are high-end: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, and category 6 LTE support.

The camera specifications indicate it will continue with HTC’s ultrapixel sensor, although upgraded over One (M8). Alternative sources have suggested a traditional 18MP sensor instead.

But the fingerprint scanner included in the earlier device is apparently now omitted.

Also expected is the launch of an “action camera” competing with products from GoPro. While this has been widely reported, it is not clear where HTC feels it can differentiate, especially with GoPro set to introduce a new low-cost product to the range.

Re/code echoed earlier reports that HTC had planned to launch a wearable before opting out of this market, citing Jason Mackenzie, head of HTC Americas, who said: “It ended up just not being ready.”

The report also indicated the same reason for the shelving as the earlier speculation: that HTC was unable to find a way to differentiate from other products being brought to market by rivals.

“We’ve seen a lot of general purpose wearables come to market. There’s not a strong reason to wear one every day,” said Drew Bamford, head of the HTC Creative Labs team.

And the revolving door at HTC seems to be showing little sign of slowing, with the latest exit being Mike Woodward, president of global emerging devices.

The executive, who joined from AT&T in 2012, has now moved to Amazon, Bloomberg said.

The company has also appointed David Chen as the chief operating officer for its smartphone business.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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