HTC today said several U.S. carriers will soon offer its Desire 530 smartphone. The stand-out feature of the Desire 530 (announced earlier this year) is the unique "micro splash" effect applied to the polycarbonate rear shell. Essentially, small paint dots appear to be sprinkled on the plastic. HTC says no two Desire 530s will have the same pattern. Beyond the appearance, the Desire 530 includes a 5-inch HD screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and Android 6.0. The main camera has an 8-megapixel BSI sensor and includes tools such as burst shot and panorama. The 5-megapixel front camera includes Auto Selfie and Voice Selfie modes for easier picture taking. T-Mobile says the phone will go on sale July 13 for $160. Verizon has yet to announce its pricing and availability. HTC plans to sell an unlocked version of the Desire 530 online for $179 beginning later this month.
Verizon Wireless today said customers can trade in an old flagship smartphone for up to $300 off a new flagship smartphone. The promotion is limited to certain handsets. For example, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6, and S6 edge/edge+; HTC M9; Apple iPhone 6; and LG G4 and V10 are eligible to trade-in for $300. The phones must be in good working order and good cosmetic condition. Other phones traded in will receive a lesser amount to be determined by Verizon. The program also requires customers to activate a new line, upgrade, or switch to Verizon and then purchase a new device on a monthly payment plan. Customers can use the $300 toward the Apple iPhone 6S or 6S Plus; HTC 10; LG G5; Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and Note 5; and the Moto Droid Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 .(Customers interested in the Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 are allowed to trade-in phones with broken screens.) Verizon suggests customers perform the trade-in at Verizon's stores, where credit for the value of the trade will be applied immediately, but the company is also offering the promotion through its web site. New customers will receive the $300 via a gift card, while existing customers will be given an account credit. Verizon's didn't say how long the trade-in program will run.
HTC has begun pushing a minor update to unlocked variant of the HTC 10 smartphone. According to the change log, the update adds the latest security patches, fixes some bugs, and improves system stability. The update clocks in at 304MB and should be downloaded over WiFi. It is free to install and use.
Verizon Wireless said it will discontinue its $2.99 Visual Voicemail service come July 8. All customers who use the Visual Voicemail app will be transitioned to Verizon's free, basic voicemail service. Verizon says customers won't lose their existing voicemails, but may need to make room in their voicemail inbox, as well as reset their voicemail greeting. The list of phones impacted by the change is significant, including old and new models from BlackBerry, Casio, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Pantech, and Samsung. Verizon did not say why it is discontinuing the Visual Voicemail service.
HTC's Mo Versi said via his Twitter account that the Verizon Wireless variant of the HTC 10 will receive a maintenance update that improves several aspects of the phone. The release chiefly boosts the camera's performance, including the autofocus feature. The update also tweaks performance and solves several bugs. The maintenance release will be pushed out over the air. HTC already delivered this same update to the unlocked/global variant of the 10.
AT&T today added a handful of new handsets to a buy one, get one free offer the carrier has had in place since February. The extended BOGO promotion now applies to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Microsoft Lumia 950, the HTC One A9, and the Kyocera DuraForce. The other handsets already included in the offer are the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S6 Active, and Note 5; and LG G5 and V10. The offer lets new and existing customers buy one phone at full price and receive a second one for free. The two handsets must come from the same manufacturer. AT&T says both phones must be purchased via its AT&T Next installment plan. The first phone can be a new line or an upgrade, but the second phone must be a new line purchased with an AT&T Next 24 plan (req's 30 payments). Both phones must be added to a qualified plan, such as Mobile Share Value, which starts at $70 for two lines. Customers will need to pay sales tax on the two phones at the time of purchase and may need to make several monthly payments on both before AT&T credits up to $650 for the second phone spread out over the 30 months. The offer is available through June 30.
HTC today said some of its phones will be updated to Android N. The devices include the HTC 10, One A9, and the One M9. These are HTC's more powerful, high-end handsets. HTC didn't say when the update might be pushed out.
AT&T will begin distributing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to its variants of the HTC One M8 and One M9. HTC's VP of Product, Mo Versi, shared the news via his Twitter account. The update brings the two phones inline with the software seen on the HTC 10. The update will be pushed out over the air, which should be downloaded via WiFi. AT&T customers who own the M8 or M9 can check for the update through the settings menu.
The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint from Creative Technology / Creative Labs that accuses eight different smartphone makers of infringing on patents. The ITC is prepared to look at phones made by BlackBerry, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and ZTE. Creative Labs says these companies are violating a patent related to media playback on mobile devices. The ITC did not say when it might make an initial ruling on the matter. Companies often use the ITC as a venue to settle trade disagreements because the ITC has the power to institute import bans.
Sprint today said the HTC 10 will reach its stores on May 13. Sprint is not offering a lease option for the HTC 10, as it does for Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy S phones. Instead, Sprint will finance the phone for 24 months with payments of $26. An unlocked version of the HTC 10 is already available for sale directly from HTC.com for $699. The phone includes a 5.2-inch quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 12-megapixel camera, fingerprint sensor, and high-quality sound. It runs Android 6 Marshmallow.
Verizon Wireless today said it will begin accepting preorders for the HTC 10 on April 29. Verizon expects the phone to launch in early May and has not yet provided pricing details for the phone. Verizon is giving consumers the opportunity to test the HTC 10 in retail stores, also starting on April 29. Verizon says the 10 will include its HD Voice service and WiFi Calling. The phone includes several Verizon offers, such as three free months of HBO Now, credit for handset trade-ins, and ETF payoffs for customers who switch to Verizon. An unlocked version of the HTC 10 is already available for sale directly from HTC.com for $699.
The HTC 10 may be the first Android smartphone to ship with support for Apple's AirPlay protocol, but HTC is adding the feature to its older handsets, too. HTC has updated its HTC Connect application for devices such as the One A9, M9, and M8. With the updated app aboard, these older phones are now able to stream audio content to AirPlay connected speakers. HTC is licensing AirPlay from Apple. HTC Connect supports a wide range of streaming protocols, including Chromecast, DLNA, and Miracast. Consumers who own HTC phones can update HTC Connect for free from the Google Play Store.
Alongside the 10 smartphone, HTC today announced the Ice View Case. This case is similar to the Dot View Case, but makes big improvements in usability. HTC said it found the Dot View Case offered limited resolution and, worse, was practically unreadable outdoors. The company reimagined the case with a semi-transparent front surface that can take advantage of the full pixel count of the underlying display. HTC 10 owners can see and answer incoming calls, skip tracks, and take pictures without opening the case. HTC didn't say how much the Ice View Case will cost.
HTC showed off its 2016 flagship smartphone today. The HTC 10 takes all the characteristics we've come to appreciate in HTC and amps them up. The 10 is not a complete rethink, but it's enough of a refresh that the 10 is a compelling option in a world awash with Galaxies and iPhones. The HTC 10 is a metal-clad warrior looking for a fight. Here are Phonescoop's first impressions of HTC's latest handset.
HTC and JBL today announced a pair of headphones optimized for the HTC 10 smartphone. What's unique about these headphones is they are among the first to use the USB-C connector, rather than standard 3.5mm headphone jack, to connect with the HTC 10. Since they use USB-C, the JBL Reflect Aware C headphones are able to provide active noise cancellation without internal batteries; they draw power from the HTC 10 itself. Users can customize the level of background noise so they may remain aware of their environment. The headphones are sweat-proof and come with three sport ear tips and three regular ear tips. The cables are reflective to improve user visibility at night. The headphones will include a power pack so they may be used independently from the HTC 10. HTC did not say when the JBL Reflect Aware C will go on sale, nor what they will cost.
The HTC 10 smartphone, which runs Android, is the first to officially license Apple's AirPlay media streaming technology. The phone ships with a wide range of media streaming protocols as part of its HTC Connect software feature, including Google's ChromeCast, Qualcomm's Miracast, DLNA, and DisplayPort. AirPlay is one of the options in HTC Connect, which can be accessed quickly with a three-finger swipe. HTC said its AirPlay license allows the 10 to stream audio to AirPlay-connected speakers. Apple hasn't said if other Android phone makers plan to offer similar functionality.
HTC today announced the 10, its flagship handset for 2016. This Android phone carries forward an aluminum design, for which HTC has become known, and makes big improvements to the camera, software, and other core features. The 10 is milled from a single block of metal and includes exaggerated chamfers along the edges to help set it apart visually from competing models. The 5.2-inch quad HD screen is covered in 2.5D glass that curves where it meets the metal. HTC stepped up the camera to 12-megapixels. The camera can launch in 0.6 seconds, has an aperture of f/1.8, and includes optical image stabilization, laser-assisted focus, and two-tone flash. The user-facing camera rates 5-megapixels and also includes an aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the freshest version of Sense from HTC. Importantly, HTC is committed to reducing app duplication on its devices and has dropped a handful of its own apps (calendar, calculator, browser, gallery) in favor of Google's. The 10 also drops some Google apps (camera, messenger) in favor of HTC-made apps. HTC made changes to BoomSound, as well. Rather than offer two full-range speakers that deliver stereo sound, HTC separated the speakers into their tweeter and woofer components, located in the earpiece and along the bottom edge, respectively. HTC claims this arrangement delivers superior sound quality, even if it's not stereo. At the same time, HTC added software that allows people to create individual sound profiles that can be paired with the optional set of earbuds. Other hardware features include a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and support for 2 TB memory cards. The 10 relies on a USB Type-C connector and includes the same fast fingerprint sensor found on the One A9. The HTC 10 packs a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and advanced power management functions that HTC says delivers two days of battery life. The HTC 10 will be available in silver, gold, gray, and red. HTC said Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless plan to sell the phone in the days ahead. Each carrier will announce pricing individually. Separately, HTC plans to sell an unlocked (for AT&T/T-Mobile) and bloat-free version of the 10 from its own web site. The unlocked version will be available in silver and gray. It costs $699 and includes one year of Uh Oh Protection against cracked screens and water damage.
Cricket Wireless today said Best Buy has agreed to sell the prepaid carrier's phones and services at some 1,000 stores around the country. The ZTE Fanfare and HTC Desire 625 are available from Best Buy's web site starting today, and will reach Best Buy's retail stores over the next few weeks. Best Buy will also sell a Cricket Wireless SIM card starter pack for those who want to activate their own phones. Cricket will expand the selection of smartphones sold at Best Buy stores over the next few months. With the addition of Best Buy's retail stores, Cricket said its phones and services are available at some 10,000 retail locations across the U.S. Cricket's plans start at $40 per month.
Microsoft has begun making Windows 10 Mobile available to older smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft first expected to release the platform in November or December of last year, but pushed the update to the first quarter. The new operating system is available to the Lumia 430, 435, 532, 535, 540, 635, 640, 640 XL, 730/735, 830, 930, and 1520. Owners of these phones must first download the Upgrade Advisor app from the Windows Store and accept the terms and conditions of the upgrade. Once this proactive step is taken, the phone is prepared for Windows 10 and Microsoft will deliver it as an over-the-air update. Microsoft hasn't said if handsets other than this initial batch will be able to install Windows 10 Mobile. There are some significant omissions, such as the Lumia 520, 920, 1020, 1320, HTC One M8 for Windows, and the Lumia Icon. The refreshed platform makes improvements to Cortana and Office, and puts the mobile experience in line with Windows 10 desktop machines.
HTC has cancelled plans to add support for Verizon's LTE network to the One A9 smartphone. The unlocked phone does not include CDMA and was expected to be Verizon's first LTE-only handset. "HTC is committed to providing the best experience for all of our device owners. Following extensive testing, we are unable to support the Verizon network with the Unlocked HTC One A9," said the company in a statement provided to Droid-Life. HTC says Verizon customers who ordered the unlocked One A9 can return it for a refund and 20% discount on any phone sold by HTC. Customers are urged to contact HTC Care to discuss options.
..HTC’s One series is growing with the One X9, a high-end but not-quite-flagship phone announced today at MWC in Barcelona. It’s a lot like the recently-launched One A9, but a bit larger. The One A9 was well-received, but looked a lot like the iPhone. The One X9 addresses that point, and bumps up the screen size to 5.5” for phablet overs. One major sticking point is that it’s not entirely clear if there will be a U.S. version. Regardless, we spent some with it. Read on for our report on what it’s like in person.
HTC’s Desire series has been updated for 2016 with three new models. Smartly, HTC has designed just two bodies based on screen size, but is offering that smaller style with both entry-level and mid-range guts. The new Desires will feel familiar to anyone that’s seen a Desire from the last two years, yet they have some interesting new innovations in both technology and design. Read on for our hands-on impressions of the Desire 530, 630, and 825.
Verizon Wireless today said it is providing the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to a handful of phones, including the HTC One M9, LG G4, and LG G3. For the M9, Marshmallow brings Android Pay support, customizable notifications, Google Now On Tap, Doze, bug fixes and other improvements. For the G4, Marshmallow adds WiFi Calling in addition to the standard upgrade list for Android 6.0. The G3 will see a straight update to Android 6.0 without added feature from Verizon. Verizon said Marshmallow is pushing out over the air starting today. It may take several days to reach all devices.
HTC and Keeper Security today announced a new partnership that will see the latter's password manager added to the former's handsets. Keeper Security lets smartphone owners maintain and manage their disparate usernames and passwords for apps and web sites. The tool can suggest passwords, or store passwords created by the end user. Keeper Security is a secure app and will walk users through the signup process when people first boot a new phone. HTC said Keeper (free or premium) will be available on select HTC models beginning later this year.
Cricket Wireless is looking to entice people to switch to its network by offering discounts on a number of smartphones. Beginning January 22, consumers who port their number to Cricket can buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 for $399.99, a savings of $100 over the normal retail price. Cricket is making similar discounts, ranging from $20 to $50, available to a dozen other devices, including the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 ($109.99), ZTE Grand X Max ($99.99), HTC Desire 626s ($89.99), and Microsoft Lumia 640 ($79.99). The promotion runs for a limited time. Cricket's service plans start at $40 per month. Wireless carriers are competing for customers fiercely. With most Americans already carrying a smartphone, the only way for carriers to score new customers is to steal them from rivals.
Nextbit announced the Robin last year, but the company is using CES 2016 to re-introduce the phone just ahead of its launch. This phone focuses on optimizing on-board storage using the cloud. The hardware was crafted by a former HTC designer, so some of its characteristics are rather familiar. Here are our first impressions.
Under Armour and HTC today announced UA HealthBox, a $400 box containing a suite of health and fitness hardware designed to work with the UA Record app for Android and iOS. The core device is the UA Band wrist wearable, which tracks basic heart rate and activity. It's designed to be worn 24/7, tracking both daily movement and sleep cycles. A more advanced, accurate heart rate monitor is included and designed to be worn during workouts and sport activity. As first reported by Phone Scoop over a month ago, the UA Scale — measuring both weight and body fat — is also part of the kit. It uses Bluetooth to identify the UA Band of the person standing on the scale and Wi-Fi to upload the data. The UA Record app collects and combines info from the hardware with food intake information entered by the user, to provide a complete health picture. The UA Band is similar to the HTC Grip device announced almost a year ago, but sacrifices GPS for a sleeker, smaller design that lasts longer between charges and can be worn 24/7. The new UA Band is encased in rubber and sports a thin white OLED display; it's controlled by touch gestures and a single physical button on the side. It also has an adjustable strap. The UA HealthBox can be pre-ordered immediately. It will go on sale January 22nd online and at UA Brand House stores in major U.S. cities. It will be available more widely later in Q1, including at third party sports retailers and internationally.
HTC representative Mo Versi said the unlocked variants of the One A9 and M9 will see system updates arrive in the next 24 hours. The A9 will be updated to Android 6.0.1, while the M9 will be updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. HTC hasn't said when carrier versions of these handsets will receive the same updates.
HTC is selling the Desire 626 for $149 today, which is $30 off the normal price, as part of its Holiday Hot Deals promo. The company is also offering 40% off all accessories while supplies last. The Hot Deal is available until the end of the day, Dec. 8.
HTC today said it has extended one of its Black Friday deals through January 7. Customers who trade in their current handset can get the One A9 for as little as $0 with a qualifying trade. The One A9 normally retails for $499.
HTC and Under Armour are collaborating on a scale, according to documents seen on the Bluetooth Special Interest Group web site. The Bluetooth SIG revealed a product named "UA Scale" with a description that reads "HTC and UA provide a Bluetooth scale to measure weight and body fat." The device has a Bluetooth 4.1 radio onboard, ostensibly so it can to connect to nearby smartphones and/or wearables. HTC announced a partnership with Under Armour earlier this year with the goal of introducing a range of connected fitness devices. A wearable, called the Grip, was expected to arrive before the end of 2015, but has been pushed out to 2016. Neither HTC nor Under Armour has said anything about the UA Scale.
HTC is offering online shoppers significant discounts today. Those who spend $650 or more at HTC.com can save 30%, those who spend $500 or more can save 20%, and those who spend $200 or more can save 15%. The sale is good for all products sold on HTC.com and runs through Midnight tonight.
AT&T and Sprint stores are now selling the HTC One A9. The phone's introductory price of $399 is no longer available, and HTC and its carrier partners are charging full price for the handset. AT&T is offering the One A9 for $17.34, $21.67, or $26 per month with its Next 24, Next 18, or Next 12 payment plans, respectively. Alternately, customers can pay $99.99 if they are willing to sign a two-year contract. Sprint is leasing the One A9 for $20 per month, financing it for $29 per month, or asking for $199.99 up front with a contract. The One A9 sports a premium metal unibody design with thin profile. Key features include 5-inch full-HD display, 13-megapixel camera, fingerprint reader, NFC, and memory card slot.
AT&T today said customers can place orders for the HTC One A9 smartphone starting today. The phone will reach stores Nov. 6. AT&T is offering the One A9 for $0 down followed buy monthly payments of $17.34, $21.67, or $26 with a Next 24, Next 18, or Next 12 plan, respectively. Alternately, the handset is available for $99.99 with a two-year contract. AT&T did not specify full retail pricing, though HTC is selling the One A9 unlocked via HTC.com for $399 through Nov. 6.
HTC today issued a statement clarifying that the announced $400 price for its One A9 in the U.S. is only a limited-time introductory sale price. On November 7, the price will jump to $500. The lower intro pricing is only for unlocked units purchased directly from HTC's U.S. web site. Full carrier pricing is expected to run closer to the $500 price.
HTC today said is will not launch a wearable with Under Armour this year as expected, and is now targeting early 2016 instead. The company first revealed the HTC Grip in March. In July, the company shelved the product in favor of other form factors. HTC now says those products won't make it to market before the year is over. "As we continue to develop the Connected Fitness platform and elevate our product offerings, Under Armour and HTC have decided to launch a fully integrated digital ecosystem of products early next year," said the company in a statement. "This global launch will provide the tools needed to help athletes of all levels track, manage, and improve their health and fitness. Our teams have done a remarkable job bringing these products to life and we're excited to share them with the public soon." HTC is using Under Armour's fitness platform to give its wearables life. Earlier this week, HTC announced the One A9, a new Android smartphone.
HTC said the unlocked One A9, announced today, will receive system updates from HTC quicker than most phones in the market. "This One A9 unlocked edition will provide you with every Android software update within 15 days of when Google first pushes to their Nexus line," said HTC's Jason Mackenzie during the phone's introduction. The One A9 is among the first phones to ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Google itself has only recently pushed the system update to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones. HTC has attempted to deliver Android system updates quickly in the past, but wasn't always successful. HTC is selling the unlocked One A9 directly via its web site for $399. U.S. carriers also plan to sell the device in early November, but carrier-branded variants will not be party to fast system updates.
The One A9 is HTC’s new flagship for late 2015. It replaces the One M9 in HTC’s current U.S. lineup. Although it’s a very high-end phone, it’s not really trying to compete with other flagships on cutting-edge specs and technology. Rather, HTC is aiming to create a flagship that competes on design. They’re also gunning for the iPhone, of course, and are following a similar strategy of focusing on design over specs numbers. The One A9 represents a few subtle but key shifts in strategy for HTC. How is the end result? Read on....
HTC today announced the One A9, a stylish handset that offers top-notch build quality and is among the first to ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The A9 takes HTC's design in a slightly different direction when compared to the One M9 and M8. HTC retained the unibody metal construction, but flattened out the rear surface, rounded off the side edges, and curved the glass display slightly to meet the metal frame. The A9 is slim and, thanks to the 5-inch full HD display, smaller than many of today's flagships. HTC is positioning the phone as a sub-flagship. Rather than rely on the fastest silicon from Qualcomm, the A9 runs an octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor (four cores at 1.5GHz, four cores at 1.2GHz) paired with 3GB of RAM an either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The A9 supports memory cards up to 2TB. The phone has a 13-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization, pro mode, timelapse capture, and Zoes. The front camera relies on HTC's UltraPixel design; both the front and rear can capture 1080p HD video. HTC added a fingerprint sensor to the front of the phone, which can be used to secure the handset or authorize Android Pay transactions. The phone has a non-removable 2150mAh battery that supports QuickCharge 2.0 and is forward-compatible with QuickCharge 3.0 for rapid charging. The device offers Dolby audio, but it doesn't have stereo speakers like some older HTC handsets. HTC added its own Sense 7.0 user interface to the Android 6.0 Marshmallow platform, though HTC says it is somewhat toned down compared to previous versions. The phone is available for order directly from HTC.com beginning today. It costs $399 and is sold unlocked and with Uh Oh Protection. HTC said U.S. carriers will announce pricing and availability separately. It will initially be available in gray and silver, with garnet and gold to follow.