HTC today announced a promotional plan that will allow consumers to finance the cost of the HTC One smartphone over a period of 24 months. The device is being offered at the full retail price, and thus comes unlocked (GSM only) and without a carrier contract. It is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. Customers with good credit can order the One through HTC's web site for no money down and then make 24 payments of $25, totaling $600 over two years. The model comes with 32GB of storage and Android 4.4 KitKat installed.
Google announced that the Play Edition versions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 should receive the Android 4.4 KitKat system update in the coming days. The Play Edition versions don't have HTC's Sense nor Samsung's TouchWiz user interfaces, respectively. Instead, they run a stock version of Android, like Nexus devices.
Verizon Wireless quietly made the HTC One max handset available online and in stores today. Verizon is asking $299 for the max with a new two-year agreement or $25.22 per month with the Verizon Edge plan. The full retail price of the One max is $599.99.
HTC recently indicated via its official Twitter account that it plans to update the Verizon version of the One to Android 4.3 by the end of the year and then to Android 4.4 by the end of January. All other versions of the One will receive Android 4.4 by the end of January, too. HTC also indicated that it will update the Droid DNA to Android 4.4 and Sense 5.5 by the end of the first quarter, pending carrier certification.
FreedomPop today announced the availability of a new device, the HTC EVO 4G. FreedomPop is selling the EVO 4G for $99 with no contract. FreedomPop also said that it will accept a broader range of old Sprint devices on its network with its "bring your own phone" option. FreedomPop is an MVNO that uses Sprint's network. Rather than use traditional voice, FreedomPop's voice calls are sent over the data network through VoIP technology. FreedomPop offers 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data free each month, and recently introduced a plan that includes unlimited texting and calling for $10.99 a month. Earlier this year FreedomPop announced that it is transitioning from Sprint's WiMAX network to Sprint's LTE network, but it is so far offering only one LTE-capable product (a mobile hotspot). FreedomPop said that it will offer LTE-capable smartphones later this year, though price points will be closer to $200. The EVO 4G uses WiMAX.
Virgin Mobile today announced the availability of the HTC Desire. The Desire includes features first seen on the HTC One, such as Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5.0, BlinkFeed, and HTC Zoes. The Desire has a 4.5-inch qHD display; 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM; 5-megapixel camera with back-side illumination and 1080p HD video capture; dual front speakers with BoomSound; and an embedded 2200mAh battery. It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and support for microSD cards up to 64GB. The Desire (known in some markets as the Desire 601) can be purchased today for $279. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts.
Sprint today announced that the HTC One max will be available online and in stores beginning Friday, November 15. Sprint is charging $249.99 for the One Max with a new two-year contract or $25 per month with Sprint One Up.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Google, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. Rockstar alleges that the companies are violating its patents. Google, in particular, stands accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Specific details about Samsung, HTC, and Huawei's infringements weren't immediately specified. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents. Google and others attempted to buy the same patents won by Rockstar. "Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," read a portion of the lawsuit.
Jimmy Lai, a wealthy businessman in Hong Kong, has acquired a 2% stake in HTC. Though Lai's new ownership position in HTC is small, the Wall Street Journal reports that Lai is outspoken. "It's no secret that Mr. Lai is active in the Taiwan market and no secret he has opinions," said Mark Simon, Lai's spokesperson. Lai is a media mogul who founded Next Media Ltd., which publishes newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Journal suggests that Lai's interest in HTC could lead other investors in the ailing company to seek changes in the how it is managed. HTC CEO Peter Chou has come under fire in recent months due to the company's poor performance. It recently reported its first-ever quarterly loss as a public company. Lai believes HTC still has potential. "HTC is undervalued and there is an opportunity for growth," said Simon.
HTC today said that it plans to update the HTC One to the latest version of Android in the months ahead. "We're all excited about Google's Halloween treat and plan on breaking off a piece of that KitKat bar for the HTC One. In North America, we'll deliver Android 4.4 with Sense 5.5 for the HTC One within 90 days, and the HTC One max and the HTC One mini will follow." Google plans to update the HTC One Google Play Edition to Android 4.4 KitKat in the next few weeks.
Sprint today announced Sprint Spark, its next-generation networking technology that will make use of all three Sprint spectrum bands to boost mobile broadband speeds to 50-60Mbps. "Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Sprint said it will deploy Spark in 100 of the country's largest cities over the course of the next three years, but five markets are launching Spark today: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. Sprint expects 100 million Americans will have Sprint Spark or 2.5GHz coverage by the end of 2014. Sprint Spark gives tri-band devices the ability to actively hand-off data sessions between its three spectrum bands. Sprint says this helps boost both speed and capacity. The devices first to include Sprint Spark are the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 mini, and the LG G2. All three handsets will reach stores November 8. The two Samsung phones will receive a system update shortly after they go on sale that will activate their tri-band services, while the G2 will receive the same update in early 2014. The Mega will cost $199.99 with a contract or $19.59 per month with Sprint One Up; the GS4 Mini will cost $99.99 with a new contract or $16.67 per month with Sprint One Up; and the G2 will cost $199.99 with a new contract or $22.92 per month with Sprint One Up. Sprint also said that the HTC One max will be available "soon." It will cost $249.99 with a new contract or $25.00 per month with Sprint One Up.
HTC is considering whether or not to have other companies build its phones. HTC has spoken with several companies that run production facilities, including Hon Hai Precision and Wistron, about taking over some of HTC's manufacturing needs, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing sources familiar with HTC's plans, the Journal says the company is looking for ways to save money as its cash flow weakens. HTC has always manufactured its own hardware because it owns various factories in Taiwan and China. Most of HTC's competitors, save for Samsung, outsource device manufacturing to other companies. The Journal also said that HTC might sell some of its plants. In a separate report, Reuters said that HTC has already idled several of its manufacturing facilities. Reuters reporters who visited an HTC facility outside of Taipei saw that it was shuttered. The facility in question handles about 20% of HTC's manufacturing capacity. When asked about the shuttered plant, HTC Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho said, "Like any manufacturer, we do volume planning to optimize our lines, our manufacturing, and production facilities. Whether we are operating those facilities depends on market demand and our own expectations. When you have less demand you work with less facilities to optimize your costs. When you have demand, or bigger growth, you definitely have to activate all these facilities." Ho also said the company has no plans to sell its manufacturing plants.
T-Mobile today said that Android 4.3 may be downloaded and installed on the HTC One. The update adds features to the base Android operating system, as well as to HTC's Sense user interface. It can be downloaded and installed via Wi-Fi.
HTC CEO Peter Chou has shifted some of his management responsibilities to the company's chairwoman, Cher Wang. In a statement, HTC explained, "At this crucial time, it is important for HTC to remain focused. That means that Peter is focusing on creating the best products and ensuring the best execution across the company. He has invited Cher to participate more in certain areas such as operations, sales and marketing. With Cher's involvement Peter will have more time to focus on product innovation. Peter remains the CEO with full and final decision-making responsibilities." HTC has seen its share of the smartphone market drop over the last two years and recently reported its first-ever quarterly loss as a public company. HTC said the change in Chou's responsibilities will be temporary, but left the timeframe open-ended.
Sprint today confirmed that it will offer the HTC One Max to its customers later this year. Sprint didn't say exactly when the device would become available, nor how much it will cost.
Sprint today announced Messaging Plus, a cloud-based messaging service that connects Android and iOS devices across carriers. The application, which is powered by Jibe Mobile, lets smartphone owners send text, instant, and group messages; share photos and videos; and conduct live, two-way video chats. Sprint says the service lets Sprint customers connect with any mobile device in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Once Sprint customers have installed it, they will be able to invite their friends and family to download it -- even those who are using service from other network operators. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. It is compatible with the HTC EVO 4G LTE and One; the Apple iPhone 4, 4S, and 5; and the Samsung Galaxy S III, S4, Victory, and Note 2. Sprint said that it will be included with most Android smartphones moving forward.
HTC today announced the One Max, an over-sized Android smartphone that looks to compete with Samsung's Galaxy Note 3. The One Max, as the name implies, is a larger version of HTC's flagship smartphone, but offers a unique fingerprint scanner on the back. The scanner can be used to unlock the device as well as launch specific apps. The Max has a 5.9-inch 1080p HD display with HTC's signature aluminum design and dual BoomSound speakers. The phone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, with each core clocked at 1.7GHz. The phone offers 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory with additional storage supported via microSD cards. Like the One and One Mini, the One Max includes an UltraPixel camera with back-side illumination, HTC's ImageChip, and HTC's Zoe shooting mode. The user-facing camera is 2.1-megapixels and has a wide shooting angle. The One Max has a bevy of sensors, such as gyro, accelerometer, proximity, and ambient light; as well as myriad connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI via MHL. The One Max supports a wide range of cellular data networks, including LTE 4G networks of Sprint and Verizon in the U.S. The HTC One Max runs Android 4.3 and ships with Sense 5.5, which is HTC's user interface software. Unlike the One and One Mini, the Max has a removable back cover that provides access to the memory card slot and SIM card, but not the battery. The device hits select markets later this month. U.S. network operators have not yet announced plans to carry the One Max.
Wi-Lan today announced that it has resolved its patent-related suit with BlackBerry. The company sued BlackBerry over Bluetooth and LTE patents, which it alleged were violated in devices such as the BlackBerry Bold, Pearl, Storm, and Torch. Though terms of the agreement were not made public, BlackBerry has agreed to license some of Wi-Lan's patents. Wi-Lan has filed similar suits against Apple and HTC.
AT&T today confirmed that it is delivering the Android 4.3 system update to the HTC One. In addition to upgrading the operating system, the update adds Instagram to Blinkfeed, lets users lock the camera's focus, improves the gallery, makes improvements to Zoe, and adds the ability to include widgets on the lock screen. The system update can be downloaded and installed over the air.
HTC is one week away from announcing a new smartphone that has a fingerprint sensor, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing sources familiar with the company's plans, HTC will debut a device called the HTC One Max, a larger version of the HTC One, on October 15. Apple's iPhone 5s is the only other major smartphone to include a fingerprint sensor. In addition to the fingerprint sensor, the One Max will have a 5.9-inch display and an Ultrapixel camera, as well as Sense 5 features such as Blinkfeed. The One Max, like the One and One mini, will run Google's Android operating system. HTC did not confirm any of the details in the Journal's report.
HTC announced via Twitter that the Sprint variant of the HTC One will gain access to the Android 4.3 system update beginning today. In addition to improving the base OS, the update also adds features to Sense, including Instagram integration and video highlights in Blinkfeed.
HTC is hoping to avoid an import ban that may be levied against its flagship devices thanks to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC found HTC guilty of infringing on two Nokia patents last month. The initial ruling was made by an administrative law judge and will be revisited by the entire panel in January. If the panel upholds the initial ruling, HTC might be prevented from importing devices such as the One and One Mini. Unfortunately for the HTC, the violation has to do with hardware and not software. According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, HTC is working with its chipset vendor, Qualcomm, to create a hardware-based workaround. HTC has only said that it "will keep its alternative plans ready to ensure no business disruption." The Journal also suggests that HTC might settle with Nokia rather than retool its hardware. The patents in question pertain to how phones transmit and receive phone calls.
FreedomPop today announced the availability of its first smartphone. It is selling the HTC EVO Design for $99 without a contract. The smartphone, though several years old, can access Sprint's CDMA and WiMAX networks for data and voice services. FreedomPop is not selling new smartphones; instead, the EVO Design has been refurbished and loaded with FreedomPop's software. Rather than use traditional voice, FreedomPop's voice calls are sent over the data network through VoIP technology. FreedomPop offers 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data free each month, and today introduced a plan that includes unlimited texting and calling for $10.99 a month. FreedomPop is an MVNO that uses Sprint's network. In August, it announced that it is transitioning from Sprint's WiMAX network to Sprint's LTE network, but it is so far offering only one LTE-capable product (a mobile hotspot). FreedomPop said that it will offer LTE-capable smartphones later this year, though price points will be closer to $200.
HTC today announced that it is selling its remaining stake in Beats Audio. The company invested $300 million in the headphone and audio company several years ago, and used Beats' technology in its phones. HTC had hoped the partnership would help it sell more devices. HTC sold half its stake last year for $150 million, and today is selling off the rest for $265 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the relationship between Beats and HTC soured over strategy and investment priorities. Beats is actively seeking new investors as it looks to charge into new markets. Meanwhile, HTC can use the cash due to its declining device sales and on-going capital expenditures. HTC did not say if it will continue to use Beats Audio technology in its phones.
The U.S. International Trade Commission today ruled that HTC violated two smartphone patents owned by Nokia. The patents in question pertain to how smartphones transmit and receive data. The ITC's action today is an initial ruling made by an administrative law judge. The full panel will not review this initial decision until January 2014.
HTC has agreed to license certain wireless patents held by MobileMedia Inc. As a result, MobileMedia today said it would drop its patent enforcement action against HTC and its affiliates.
HTC recently announced the Desire 601, a smartphone that falls into the middle of its range of devices. Here are our thoughts.
HTC today announced two new handsets, the Desire 601 and the Desire 300. These phones enter the middle of HTC's range and will target overseas markets to start. Both devices offer some of the features first seen on the HTC One, such as Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5.0, BlinkFeed, and HTC Zoes. Some shared features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and support for microSD cards up to 64GB.
- Desire 601: The 601 has a 4.5-inch qHD display; 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM; 5-megapixel camera with back-side illumination and 1080p HD video capture; dual front speakers with BoomSound; and an embedded 2200mAh battery.
- Desire 300: The 300 steps down to a 4.3-inch WVGA display; a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM; a 5-megapixel camera with WVGA video capture; and a removeable 1650mAh battery.
HTC is developing a mobile operating system specifically for the Chinese market, reports The Wall Street Journal. The operating system is expected to have deep ties to web services and apps that are popular in China, such as Weibo. HTC is undertaking the effort, according to the Journal, to improve its market position in China. HTC began selling devices under its own brand name in China only as recently as 2010. The move is meant to help HTC improve its ties with the Chinese government and Chinese businesses as much as it is to sell more handsets to Chinese consumers. It is not clear whether the OS is something HTC built entirely from scratch or if it is based on an existing platform, such as Android or BrewMP. Prototypes of the OS are already being tested. The OS, which has been under development for about two years, is expected to launch by the end of the year. HTC did not comment on the Journal's article. HTC is not alone in developing its own operating system. Samsung, for example, worked on both Bada and Tizen.
AT&T today announced that it will begin selling the HTC One mini smartphone on August 23. The One mini will cost $99 with a new contract or $21 per month with AT&T Next.
Beats Audio is seeking alternative sources of funding in order to buy out its partner HTC. Beats wants to drop HTC, says the Wall Street Journal, because it is interested in pursuing new product lines and the companies no longer see eye to eye on strategy. In 2011, HTC bought half of Beats Audio for $300 million. HTC saw it as a way to add appeal to its devices, while Beats saw it as an opportunity to expand its brand. A year later, however, Beats bought back half of HTC's investment for $150 million, leaving HTC with a 25% stake in the headphone maker. According to the Journal's sources, Beats hopes to find a new investor in the coming weeks. There's no word on whether or not such a change in ownership would affect the presence of Beats Audio software on HTC's devices.
Verizon Wireless today announced via Twitter that its variant of the HTC One will be available beginning August 22. Verizon is selling the One for $199.99 with a new contract. The One has been available from other major U.S. carriers since April.
AT&T is now delivering a minor system update to the HTC 8X. The update, known as Windows Phone GDR2, adds several new features to the 8X. The update improves the performance of Internet Explorer, XBox Music, and Skype on the 8X, as well as adds an FM radio, and Data Sense. The update can be installed over the air.
C Spire Wireless today announced the immediate availability of the HTC One on its network. The One comes with 32GB of storage, costs $199.99 with a new contract, and is compatible with C Spire's LTE 4G network.
Sprint today announced that a red version of the HTC One will be available online and in stores beginning Friday, August 16. It costs $199.99 with a new contract. Sprint is still offering the black and silver versions of the One. Sprint said that between August 16 and August 30, it is offering a buy-one, get-one free deal on the HTC One. In addition to the new shade, Sprint is offering the NextRadio interactive FM radio application to the One and EVO 4G LTE. NextRadio acts like a streamed internet radio station, but instead of pulling data over the network, uses the built-in FM radio to capture music. The radio requires the use of headphones, which serve as an antenna. The NextRadio app will be preinstalled on select devices moving forward. It is also available for download from the Google Play Store for free.
HTC has modified its business operations in the U.S., reports the Wall Street Journal. According to an email obtained by the Journal, President of Global Sales Jason Mackenzie will now lead HTC America. Mackenzie was previously responsible for HTC's U.S. operations for about a year before taking on his global role in 2011. The U.S. has historically been HTC's strongest market, but CEO Peter Chou indicated that other markets will soon surpass the U.S. Further, Mike Woodward will lead a newly established business unit called Emerging Devices, which will be responsible for developing new HTC products as well as managing global distribution plans. The changes are effective immediately, and follow several high-profile departures within the company earlier this year.
HTC today introduced the One mini, a smaller version of its flagship smartphone that offers many of the same high-end features with only a handful of trade-offs. The One mini sports an aluminum design that's similar to the full-sized One, but it reduces the size of the screen from 4.7 inches to 4.3 inches, and from 1080p HD resolution to 720p HD. The mini offers the same UltraPixel camera with backside illumination, Zoes, and dedicated ImageChip that are found on the One, though it loses optical image stabilization. The One mini has a 1.6-megapixel user-facing camera that can capture 720p HD video. As with its larger brother, the mini has a sealed battery, but it has been reduced to 1800mAh in order to fit into the smaller footprint. The mini has no microSD card slot, but it comes with 16GB of storage built in. The mini is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 series processor, which is paired with 1GB of RAM. Connectivity includes 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, and GPS, but there's no NFC. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and the same version of Sense 5 and Blinkfeed found on the One, and also has stereo BoomSound speakers. The One mini supports various HSPA+ and LTE bands, and is scheduled to reach world markets later this quarter.
The HTC One mini is just what it sounds like: a shrunken version of HTC’s well-regarded flagship One. The mini is smaller in both stature and cost. As with Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Mini, a smaller, cheaper phone requires compromises in some areas. But HTC took a slightly different tack, keeping some of the best features of the One intact in the mini version. We spent some time with the mini, comparing it with the competition. Read on for our first impressions.
HTC, Sony, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent did not infringe on four Wi-Lan patents, according to the patent-licensing firm. Wi-Lan sued the four companies for infringing on a handful of its wireless patents, but a Texas jury cleared all four firms in the case. Wi-Lan expressed disappointment in the outcome. Patent-licensing firms often use litigation to generate income. Wi-Lan filed similar litigation against BlackBerry late last year.
Sprint today announced that the HTC 8XT, its first LTE 4G Windows Phone 8 device, will go on sale beginning July 19. It will cost $99.99 after $50 mail-in rebate with a new agreement.