The rumors were true: HTC has been working on a new flagship phone with a 1080p display, and we got to see it in Tokyo today. It’s the HTC J Butterfly, and it’s set for a release this December on AU / KDDI. A follow-up to the previous HTC J, the Butterfly uses the same red and black color scheme and Rhyme-inspired skin, though this time it’s running on top of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Inside there’s a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, and an 8-megapixel camera.
The real attraction, though, is the 5-inch full HD Super LCD 3 screen — it’s truly a sight to behold. The Super LCD 2 seen in HTC’s previous flagship One X was arguably the best panel on the market, but we think its successor is the new champion. Color reproduction is excellent, the 440ppi resolution is astonishing, and the J Butterfly’s curved glass makes the image look like it’s melting off the side of the phone. It doesn’t feel overbearing in the hands, though; the phone’s 9.1mm thinness and slim bezel make it surprisingly compact, and we found it was easily pocketable.
While this is a Japan-specific model and almost certain to stay that way, HTC reps told us that this display will be making its way into other phones around the world. If the J Butterfly is anything to go by, you should start to get excited.
We’ll have hands-on video of the HTC J Butterfly soon.
HTC confirms Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for One X, One XL and One S, includes AT&T, T-Mobile and Rogers models
Remember yesterday’s rumor from down under about Jelly Bean coming to select HTC One handsets? Well it’s now fact. HTC has just confirmed that the One X, One XL and One S will be getting upgraded to Android 4.1 at some point in the (hopefully near) future. Here’s the company’s statement:
“We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android. At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”
We’ve also learned that in addition to the aforementioned global models, carrier versions of the One X and One S for AT&T, T-Mobile and Rogers will also be receiving Jelly Bean. No word yet on timing, or whether the One V, EVO 4G LTE and Droid Incredible 4G LTE are included in those update plans.
Android 4.0 (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich) is the prettiest, most intuitive version of Google’s mobile OS yet, but hardware manufacturers still insist on dirtying it up. Android skins are inevitable, but who does it best? See for yourself.
In each of the comparisons, below, HTC will be on the left with its Sense 4.0 skin; Motorola will be in the middle, with an unnamed skin (previously MotoBLUR); Samsung will be on the right with its latest implementation of TouchWiz. For your reference, here’s a gallery of the same screen running stock Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
At the top of this post is the Android 4.0 homescreen, as interpreted by HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Each of them has a bottom row of four icons, and they’re all swappable (thank jeebus). All of them also support scrollable widgets, which is very handy. The only major difference among them, really, is that Samsung puts the Apps icon on the far right instead of middle by default. Samsung and HTC let you pinch to see all homescreens, however, and Moto doesn’t. Between that and aesthetically pleasant time/weather widget that’s been Sense’s hallmark, HTC gets the win.
All three skins offer lockscreen shortcuts to jump straight to different apps, and music controls are available without the need for a password. Both handy features. HTC requires that you drag the unlock icon down to a circle below, which rises up to meet you, which isn’t totally intuitive. Its four shortcuts are mirrored from the shortcuts on your homescreen, which is either convenient or not depending on personal preference. Motorola doesn’t let you choose which shortcuts you have at the lockscreen, which is lame. Samsung is nice and clean-looking, but you have to go deep into the settings to set your shortcuts. Also, because a swipe in any direction unlocks your phone, TouchWiz is prone to more accidental unlocks. Or maybe just use a PIN! We’re calling this one a tie between Samsung and HTC.
Each skin gives you multiple options for sorting your content, though with slightly different takes. HTC’s is apps-only; if you want to sift through widgets, you have long-press the homescreen. Motorola leaves ICS pretty well alone here, including both apps and widgets, plus sorting. Samsung includes apps and widgets, though with fewer sorting options. Also, TouchWiz doesn’t include a shortcut to Google Play for downloading more apps. Moto and Sense both do. Point: Motorola.
Samsung takes the win here. Why? HTC is a bit bright, and more importantly, doesn’t include a shortcut to Favorites. Motorola’s got its own problems; if you want to open the dialer, it switches you over to a separate app. Samsung has everything in one place, plus the neat trick automatically dialing a selected contact just by lifting your phone to your ear. Noice.
Speaking of dialers, Samsung wins this one, too, for the exact same reasons it won Contacts.
HTC’s native camera app is not only intuitive and easy to use, but it’s also highly customizable; that can be a difficult line to walk. Motorola’s is nicely laid out, but also very intuitive; it’s just a bit more bare-bones. Samsung (which wouldn’t let me screencap while the camera was open for some reason) has a customizable layout, which is nice, but the menu is actually a bit more cumbersome to navigate. They’re all good, but HTC gets the nod for being the best of both worlds.
HTC’s calendar app is head-scratchingly bad. Not only does the monthly view show no information, but there’s no weekly view option at all. What the hell were they thinking? (UPDATE: You can enable a weekly calendar in Sense 4.0, but it’s buried in the settings. Thanks, slickdylan!) Moto’s calendar app is quite good. Easy to navigate, easy to change which calendars are displayed. Samsung surpasses them both, though. As you can see, the information density is just way, way higher than on Sense or Moto. Not only can you see more info on the individual days, the little itinerary at the bottom is rather useful.
HTC and Moto are pretty much identical, and very close to stock, which is just dandy. Samsung, though, has a handy set of toggles (which it’s been implementing since the early days of TouchWiz). Need more info? Swipe right. Simple, clean, efficient. We love that, but we wish they were customizable, as you’ll never use most of them, and it’s missing a few options—like screen brightness—that seem like they would’ve been no-brainers. Still we’ll give Samsung the edge.
So Which Is Best?
To be honest, it really all boils down to personal preference. HTC has the edge on looks and intuitiveness. Samsung packs in more functionality, but holy crap is it busy. Motorola is very sparse and simple, but there’s a lot to be said for sticking close to stock ICS.
HTC might be over selling it a bit with the top secret stamp, and the foot note sort of indicates that your next One device wont be interpreting Fido’s barks. So, really, that only leaves one logical conclusion — HTC is working on a voice control app. It shouldn’t come as any surprise if you’ve been paying any attention to the mobile landscape these past few years. Google kicked off the party with Voice Actionsand Apple gave the speech recognition tech some personality with Siri. Now Samsung has S-Voice and LG has Quick Voice… what’s a Taiwanese manufacturer to do? Presumably make your own speech-driven virtual assistant. When will it debut, what will it be called? Who knows, but judging from the image above it seems safe to assume that HTC’s new tool will be delivered as software update to at least some existing handsets.
Update: HTC tells us that it never intended to hint at a new voice service — the image was just the punchline to a week of pet-related smartphone tips it featured on Facebook.
Whether you travel a lot, have to deal with spotty coverage or straight up lead a double life, HTC has a new dual-SIM smartphone for you with the Desire V. The handset is a first of its kind from the company for its European audience, which is said to debut first in Ukraine at a cost of 3,800 грн (approx. $470). The Desire V is an Android 4.0 smartphone with Sense 4 and is based on the Qualcomm MSM7227A SoC. Its spec sheet is quite decent, which includes a 1GHz CPU, a 4-inch WVGA display and a 5-megapixel camera. You’ll also find 512MB of RAM, and while the phone offers just 4GB of internal storage, it also includes a microSD card slot and 25GB of storage through Dropbox. Only one SIM will support data connections, however, as the latter is limited to GSM/GPRS connections — still fine for voice, but keep that in mind. You’ll see the Desire V hit the streets next month, which’ll give you enough time to get your affairs in order (or disorder, as the case may be).
HTC is having a tough year. Patent disputes have caused shipping delays, lawsuits have been filed by major competitors Nokia and Apple, sales targets for the current quarterwere just slashed, and now former best-bud Microsoft is taking its ball and going home.
Bloomberg is reporting today that Microsoft will not allow HTC to license Windows 8 for tablets.
Apparently the Redmond giant fears that HTC is selling too few devices to matter, and lacks sufficient experience in building tablets. This has to be a heavy blow for the Taiwan company, which will now potentially lose ground to hometown rivals Asus and Acer, who are among the companies producing more than 20 new tablet devices running Windows 8 on Intel silicon, and other manufacturers using ARM chips.
How swiftly do the giants fall. After growing sales more than 400 percent and tripling its share price since 2010, HTC has had difficulty competing with Samsung and Apple in the smartphone and tablet markets. Its one-year stock chart looks like an Olympic moguls course, with a little ski jump hill in the middle.
(via Yahoo finance)
Microsoft and HTC used to be exceptionally strong partners, partnering on Windows Mobile devices in the 2000s — at one point accounting for as much as 80 percent of all WinMo sales – and recently with Windows Phone models, for which it is still featured in the Windows phone marketplace.
At this very early point, the lack of Windows 8 availability may not be a huge factor for HTC: Android is after all a much more popular platform. Microsoft’s actions may just be driving a temporarily down-on-its-luck partner into the Google camp.
HTC insiders can only hope that their company will be able to reverse course and start to generate some positive momentum.
Thought Sony’s E3 2012 presser would be about a next-gen console? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but that doesn’t mean there’s no news on the PlayStation front, as Sony’s just informed the world that the PlayStation Suite has been renamed PlayStation Mobile. Not only that, but it’s opening PS Mobile tothird-party Android manufacturers, and as was rumored, HTC is the first handset maker not named Sony to get certified — meaning that you’ll soon be able to get your PlayStation on using the Taiwanese outfit’s hardware. Unfortunately, we don’t know when HTC will debut its first such handset, nor when other Android makers will get in on the action, but it’s nice to see Sony finally start to share the gaming love.
It’s a rite of passage for newly released Android überphones: the inevitable root. Just one day afterSprint managed to get its flagship device out of customs and into subscribers’ hands, comes a one-click solution for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X users. By running a simple script compiled by XDA member Zedomax, EVO 4G LTE owners will be able to install both busybox and superuser hassle-free, giving them the admin privileges required for nearly unrestricted tinkering. Bear in mind, this underground workaround won’t unlock that HTC bootloader, so a future filled with custom ROMs is still slightly out of reach. Ready to claim mastery of your device? Then click on the source below for the requisite downloads and hand-holding video how-to’s.
Whether you’re looking to replace a damaged screen, swap a battery, or just make damn sure that the warranty of your HTC One S is void, DirectFix can help with its latest teardown video. This is the first time that we’ve seen a detailed inner peek at the smartphone itself, and those who appreciate fine craftsmanship are sure to dig this one. To get deep within the phone, you’ll need a nylon spudger, a Torx T5 and precision Phillips screwdriver, along with steady hands and — if the display’s adhesive isn’t cooperating — a hairdryer. Once the handset’s back cover is removed, it becomes quite easy to see how the battery pack dominates the inner space, which is complemented up top by a blue plastic shield that includes the lens cover and protects the main board. From there, many fragile connectors must be removed before the display can be separated from the handset, which is attached with adhesive. Naturally, putting the phone back together can be a bit tricky in its own right, which makes it quite a shame that YouTube videos can’t play in reverse.
HTC gave us a quick session to play around with its latest handset, the Desire C. No, it’s not part of the consolidated One series, nor is the company revealing precisely what that “C” stands for — heaven forfend it’s “cheap.” While a humble 320 x 480 touchscreen and 600MHz processor might not set many smartphone obsessives’ hearts a’ racing, it still manages to eke out a HTC Sense-skinned Android 4.0 UI — no mere feat, in our opinion. A 5-megapixel camera and expandable microSD slot are some other welcome specifications and it’s all wrapped up in an attractive matte finish — you can take your pick form black and white in the UK. Catch our quick video run-through of the sub-$300 handset right after the break.
(We mentioned in the video that the phone’s running on a 6Mhz processor — which is clearly madness. Just to reiterate, the Desire C runs on a 600MHz single-core processor.)
The phone felt slightly fuller in the hand compared to the recent glut of sub-10mm devices, measuring in at just under 12mm thick, but like Palm’s HP’s now defunct Pre range, it’s a very comfortable fit in the hand. This was the NFC model and weighed in at precisely 100g (0.22 pounds). The 3.5-inch screen was bright, although noticeably grainier than HTC’s more premium models. While a five-megapixel camera sounded like a boon, we were forewarned that it’s of the fixed-focus variety. Despite that, it came with the same filter effects and dual-capture features seen on the likes of the One S. Despite the weedy processor and 512MB of RAM — specs that echoed the ghosts of smartphone past — it kept up with our swipes and several apps launched without much waiting around. The multitask button is also in attendance, with an interface similar to the One V: that is, more stock Android 4.0, less Sense sparkle. We were pleasantly surprised with the handset and it could strike a chord with phone buyers that fondly recall the larger, original Desire. However, there’s no news just yet on the device making a trip over to the western side of the Atlantic.