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HTC at MWC 2012: One Smartphone Suite and Sense 4.0 UI

HTC One SmartphonesHTC realizes that it needs to overhaul its entire line of phones, but is it doing what it needs fast enough and is it being instituted as widely as it needs to please the public? Of course, the company line is to glamorize it as an already achieved success, but reality proves otherwise. This reality can be seen in the so-called “new” HTC phones for 2012: One S, One X and One V which were announced at MWC 2012.

Head of UK marketing for HTC, James Atkins tried to justify the slow and inconsistently applied changes, “We are still a young company and everything in our market is changing so quickly.” Is this a statement or an excuse? After all, HTC made a rather meteoric rise from white label to the top Android phone. But it slipped, yielding to Samsung and would rather forget this entire time period and start afresh.

Their talk sounds like they want to change their sales pitch, though they crouch it in terms of “talking to consumers”. We all know it’s BS that simply means they have lost touch with their clients’ anticipations.

What HTC physically lost was its uniqueness. They capitalized on making Android user-friendly, but Android adapted and made that aspect of HTC irrelevant. Android is now quite user-friendly. Taking into consideration the proliferation of Android apps and their accessibility expanding with the growth of the Android market, HTC lost additional advantages over other Android phones. HTC became a hindrance to the advances made by Android, rather than enhancing it.

In 2011 HTC went overboard by integrating HTC Sense too widely, stealing the beauty of Android from their phones, such as the Incredible S, the Desire S, the Sensations, and the Wildfire S. On top of this, HTC had lost its creativity in design. Every HTC phone was starting to look the identical.

What the pubic expects of HTC phones in 2012 is that it will lighten up on the HTC Sense obfuscations of Android and that they create more variety in their designs. At MWC 2012, HTC announced One series of smartphones, smartphones that  might not achieve these goals, but they get part way there. HTC Sense 4.0 is a little more open-minded toward Ice Cream Android 4.0. With the One S, One V, and the One X, the user finds the HTC Sense a little less intrusive, but not by much.

In spite of the new line of products, you can expect certain things to remain the same. The HTC Sense will continue to customize Android. The company still defends its position of overlaying Sense. Graham Wheeler, director of commercialization product management tried to downplay Sense’s intrusions, “Sense 4.0 should enhance, rather than detract from Android 4.0.”

There is a dedicated button for the recent apps view in Ice Cream Sandwich, among the three capacitive buttons. The look has changed, even though swipe closing still functions. But the nice thing Sense 4 does that ICS 4 still doesn’t is auto rotate to landscape when in recent apps view.

One area Sense has cleaned up is the dock or favorites tray. This is much more similar to ICS now. Gone is the immovable personalization button. Now you have four spots for favs aside the apps tray icon. This alone can radicalize your approach to using your HTC smartphone, though it took HTC 3 years to get to this point in its evolution.

Forget covering up precious home screen real estate with favorites. Even placing a folder in the fav location will convert it to a pop-up list that can hold other shortcuts. This will maximize the use of your locations.

The tentacles of Sense, though, reach deep into Android. You’ll find out as you play with it. The more you use Android on HTC, the more changes you will uncover. In fact, Sense 4.0 itself looks rather similar to the previous version. In fact, Sense 4.0 sometimes completely ignores the Android color scheme of blue and black. The visuals revert to a clear HTC egoist outing. If you were hoping HTC would diverge from its past significantly, visuals will let you down.

The three areas in which HTC One’s have excelled have been camera, audio, and design. When compared to what comes with Android 4, the Sense 4.0 camera application is superior. Dedicated buttons allow you to flip between video and stills without skipping a beat. Even so, if you are in the middle of recording a video, you can snap off some stills with the camera button. Burst mode is activated naturally by pressing firmly on the shutter button and holding. HTC’s dedication to a superior camera is obvious from the f/2.0 lens ratio, the backlit sensors, and the autoflash detection.

As for audio, Beats is now included with all of the One phones. Not only that, Beats Audio is now applied to all applications throughout the phone. Whatever you are using to listen to music or video, you will experience the Beats Audio improvements.

The designs are good for the One family of phones, but they might not divert far enough to make a mark. The capacitive buttons seem to be here to stay. In the One S you find the 1.5GHz dual-core CPU powering a unit with its 4.3” display. And yes, it is Super AMOLED.

As for the ultralight One X, it is carved out of polycarbonate and it’s the first HTC phone that comes with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor(clocked at 1.5 GHz). There is also One XL phone variant, which features LTE and a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon Dual-Core processor.

Then there is the One V, forged with the unibody design and as classy as any HTC phone. The design might ring a bell-HTC Legend. Unfortunately, One V comes with 1 GHz single core processor, so it’s a low end smartphone.

We’ve all seen how exterior design does not make the success of the phone. Consider the Samsung Galaxy, with its fantastic interface. A great design simply makes the phone disappear. Although HTC does everything right with these phones, the fact that Android is still masked and there is little advancement from what came before may spell far less success than HTC hopes for.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Samsung Galaxy S III comes with a new design and a faster processor | It's a Gadget

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