HTC has recently pulled some of the core applications out of its Sense user interface and made them available separately through the Google Play Store. Both the Sense keyboard and Sense clock apps have appeared in the Play Store in recent days, which can now be updated independent from full OS upgrades. Google and Motorola have taken similar steps with some of their apps, such as their camera apps. HTC already offers a handful of other apps via the Play Store, including Gallery, Blinkfeed, Sense TV, and Dot View.
Verizon Wireless today announced it will sell the HTC One Remix beginning July 24 for $99 with a new contract. The One Remix is a rebranded version of the HTC One mini 2, which was announced earlier this year. The Remix relies on the same design language as the full-sized HTC One (M8), but is considerably smaller. The Remix features a 4.5-inch 720p display, 13-megapixel camera, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, and HTC Sense 6.0 with Blinkfeed. In addition to the contract price, Verizon will also offer the HTC Remix via its Edge monthly payment program.
Sprint recently announced that it is rolling out Wi-Fi calling to the HTC One and HTC One Harmon Kardon Edition. The Wi-Fi calling feature makes it possible to connect voice calls and send messages via local Wi-Fi networks rather than through Sprint's cellular network. International Wi-Fi calling will also be available in the coming weeks. It allows customers to make calls and send texts via Wi-Fi in more than 100 countries. Only a handful of Sprint's phones support Wi-Fi calling, but Sprint said more will be updated with the feature throughout the year. HTC One owners will receive the update over the next few weeks.
HTC has brought its Desire 610 mid-range phone to AT&T. The 610 brings high-end design and a few nifty features to a low price point. It's not perfect, though, and it does differ from the international version a bit. Read on for our first impressions with one.
AT&T tonight announced that it will offer HTC's Desire 610 on July 25 for $200 without a contract. The 610 is an affordable Android phone with a 4.7-inch display, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 8-megapixel main camera, front camera, 4G LTE, and a memory card slot. It sports a clean design inspired by the HTC One, but in high-quality plastic. Like the One, it features BoomSound dual front speakers and Zoe video functions. AT&T also offers Next pricing for the Desire 610, which runs as low as $8.34/month. At full price, it's available for both post-paid and GoPhone pre-paid service plans.
Google today said its Chromecast HDTV plugin device can now mirror the screens of nearby Android smartphones and tablets. With screen mirroring, anything that appears on the phone or tablet's screen will appear on the TV. The feature can be used to share photos or view/interact with apps on the big screen. According to Google, screen mirroring is available as a beta to Nexus devices and select phones from Samsung, HTC, and LG. Mirroring requires the Chromecast app version 1.7, which should reach the Play Store in the coming days. The Chromecast is a HDMI dongle that plugs directly into TV sets. Users can cast content, such as music and movies, from select apps to the Chromecast via Wi-Fi.
Facebook has disbanded the team that developed Facebook Home, its replacement home screen for Android devices. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the New York Times reports engineers assigned to Facebook Home have been reassigned to other departments within the company. Facebook launched Home in April 2013 along with the HTC First smartphone. Both were considered to be failures within weeks of launch, with poor uptake and negative reviews. Home offered an alternative home screen to Android devices that replaced the user interface with links to status updates, the camera, and other sharing tools. Facebook has not updated Home since January, but the app is still available from the Google Play Store. Earlier this year, Facebook released Paper, an app that repackages the Facebook Newsfeed into a more digestible digital magazine. Facebook did not comment on the Times' story.
Sprint today announced several new milestones for its network. To start, HD Voice is now available to Sprint customers nationwide. Sprint first launched HD Voice with the HTC EVO 4G in 2012 and now says 28 of its smartphones are capable of making HD Voice calls. Sprint today announced its LTE network has expanded to 28 new markets, and now reaches a total of 471 cities and 225 million people. Sprint expects to reach 250 million by mid-year. Sprint expanded the reach of Sprint Spark by three markets, including St. Louis, Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C. Sprint also announced the forthcoming availability of international Wi-Fi Calling on select smartphones. With Wi-Fi Calling, Sprint customers will be able to make calls and send texts via Wi-Fi in more than 100 countries around the world. Wi-Fi Calling will launch in a few weeks. Last, Sprint is prepared to deploy 8T8R radios in order to boost the coverage and the strength of its 2.5GHz spectrum. The 8T8R radios are being tested and will go live in Spark markets later this summer.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced a limited-time offer that drops the price of its entry-level smartphone plan to $25 per month. The Unlimited Talk and Text plan is available to select Android smartphones, including the LG Volt, LG Optimus F3, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, and several others. The plan provides unlimited domestic voice minutes and domestic messaging, but no data. Virgin says the devices all include Wi-Fi and can access data through hotspots. The idea is to give customers many of the benefits smartphones offer without the associated monthly cost. The plan is available to new customers only through September 2. Virgin is also offering a $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot plan that allows select handsets to act as mobile hotspots for up to five devices. The plan provides 250MB of data access and is compatible with the HTC Desire and EVO V 4G, iPhone 4s/5/5s, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Customers need to subscribe to Virgin's Beyond Talk monthly plan in order to use the $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot feature.
HTC today pushed out a small update to its gallery application for all devices running Sense 6.0. The app adds a toolbar for adjusting the strength of the blur tool in UFocus, which lets users dial in the exact effect they want. The app also expands the availability of the Dimension Plus and Pan 360 viewers to all Sense 6.0 phones. HTC Gallery is free to download from the Google Play Store.
ZTE today said it plans to push into the high-end smartphone market controlled by the likes of Apple, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony. According to Reuters, sales of ZTE's mid-range and entry-level handsets are strong, but margins are too thin. The company wants to use high-end handsets to help increase its margins. "We will make more and more premium smartphones," said ZTE's Zeng Xuezong to Reuters. The company wants to trade its image as a low-cost phone maker for one that rivals the current market leaders. "There is indeed a gap between the brand awareness of Chinese companies and those top global brands, and this is what our team is trying to build for consumers" with handsets such as the Nubia Z5, said Zeng. ZTE believes it can increase is worldwide sales from 40 million units in 2013 to as much as 100 million units by 2016. In the U.S., it is seeking to raise its marketshare from 6% to 10% by 2017 with the help of premium devices and by spending more money on marketing. Most of the ZTE handsets available in the U.S. are entry-level devices sold by prepaid or low-cost carriers.
HTC today announced the One (E8), a variant of the One (M8) that carries over nearly every feature other than the aluminum design and camera. The E8 replaces the aluminum exterior with a unibody polycarbonate shell that is far less costly for HTC to manufacture. The E8 also replaces the M8's dual-camera design for a simpler setup. The E8 uses a 13-megapixel sensor with pixels that are normal sized with back-side illumination and an aperture of f/2.2 - same as the One mini 2. The E8 has a 5-megapixel user-facing camera for selfies. The rest of the E8's hardware specs mirror those of the M8. It includes a 5-inch full HD LCD3 screen, stereo BoomSound speakers, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, and support for microSD cards up to 128GB. It packs a bevy of sensors, and includes NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/GLONASS, dual-band Wi-Fi, and worldwide LTE bands. The HTC One E8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6.0 and the newest version of BlinkFeed. It offers the Motion Gestures found on the M8, and is compatible with the Dot View case. The E8 will launch in select markets in June. Pricing in the U.S. is expected to be about $450 at full retail.
HTC's web site in China recently posted images of an unannounced device that resembles the One (M7) from last year. The phone has the signature BoomSound dual speakers, slim build, and shape of HTC's One series of devices and is referred to as the "HTC One" on the web site. The images show a single camera with flash on the back surface and a screen lock button on top, but few other details. The device will come in four colors: red, white, black, and blue. HTC has an event scheduled to take place in China June 3, and it is probable the unannounced web site will make its formal debut at that time.
HTC recently indicated that Verizon Wireless will begin pushing the Sense 6.0 system update to the One (M7) this week. The update brings the M7 in line with the software running on the M8. The unlocked variant, the developer variant, and the T-Mobile variant of the M7 have already been updated to Sense 6.0. AT&T and Sprint are both still in the process of certifying Sense 6.0 for their versions of the M7. According to HTC's update status web site, it is also still working to bring Sense 6.0 to the Verizon HTC One max and the AT&T HTC One mini. The Sense 6.0 update for the Verizon One M7 will be pushed out in waves.
AT&T today said it is delivering a small system update to its variant of the HTC One (M8) that adds the FitBit application, improves Bluetooth performance, and installs Extra Power Savings Mode. The update is free to download and install.
HTC today trotted out a smaller version of its flagship smartphone, fittingly called the One mini 2. This easier-to-handle handset offers all the good looks of its bigger brother, but not quite all the same features. Here are our first impressions.
HTC today announced the One mini 2, a follow-up to last year's One mini that adopts the design language and appeal of this year's HTC One (M8). The One mini 2 carries over some of the M8's best features, though it makes several distinct downgrades in order to meet HTC's price point goals. The One mini 2 is made from high-quality aluminum, but has a bit more polycarbonate filling out the frame to reduce manufacturing costs. It includes HTC's BoomSound dual-speaker setup on the front face, which produce stereo sound. The One mini 2 has a 4.5-inch 720p HD Super LCD 3 screen and a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. These are a step down from the 5-inch full HD screen and Snapdragon 801 processor found in the M8. The One mini 2 also loses the M8's dual-camera set up. Instead of using a 4-ultrapixel sensor, the One mini 2 uses a traditional 13-megapixel sensor with back-side illumination and f/2.2 aperture. The phone includes a 5-megapixel user-facing camera for self portraits. Both cameras can capture 1080p HD video. The One mini 2 loses the two-tone flash found on the M8, as well as the IR port for controlling home theater equipment. It runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Sense 6.0 with the new Blinkfeed app. The phone supports LTE in select markets, in addition to HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS. The battery, which is sealed inside, provides 2,100mAh of juice and the phone includes 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 128GB. The device will be offered in gun-metal gray, silver, and gold. HTC announced the One mini 2 at an event in the U.K., and did not say if the device will reach the U.S. AT&T was the only U.S. carrier to sell the One mini last year.
HTC has begun using other companies to build some of its devices, according toThe Wall Street Journal. The company has asked Taiwan-based Compal and China-based Wingtech to manufacture its mid-range Desire series phones. Outsourcing the manufacture of these devices is meant to help HTC cut costs. HTC has faced financial troubles for years, and posted losses in its two most recent financial quarter. HTC still makes its high-end One series devices in-house, where it has more control over processes. Apple has long outsourced the manufacturing of its iPhones and iPads to Asia-based corporations. Nokia has begun outsourcing some of its manufacturing, though Samsung and LG continue to make their own hardware. The Journal says HTC's moves reflect more active engagement of Chairwoman Cher Wang, who has stepped up in recent months to help CEO Peter Chou. HTC did not comment on the Journal's report.
Sprint today announced an exclusive version of the HTC One (M8). The HTC One harman/kardon Edition includes two sound processing technologies to improve music quality: Clari-Fi to improve the sound, and LiveStage to improve the stereo effect. The phone is bundled with harmon-kardon earbuds with phone controls, a $149 value. The phone also includes an FM radio. It comes in a champagne/black color. It will be available starting May 9th from Sprint as well as premium audio retailers such as Crutchfield. It will sell for $229 on contract, $30 more than the standard edition One.
HTC today indicated the company's head of design, Scott Croyle, is leaving. Croyle joined HTC's ranks in 2008 as part of the company's acquisition of the One & Co. design firm. Croyle is responsible for the designs of both the HTC One M7 and M8 smartphones, which have been lauded for their design. Croyle will slowly transition away from HTC to work on his own projects, but will still play a role in select efforts at HTC. Jonah Becker, who worked under Croyle, will assume most of Croyle's responsibilities, which include managing the company's San Francisco design studio. HTC also promoted Drew Bamford from the head of the Sense user interface to overseeing all HTC's software and services. The changes are effective immediately.
FreedomPop today announced that customers interested in its service can supply their own device if they so wish. The company already sells the Samsung Galaxy SII for $159, and today added the HTC EVO 4G to its roster for $119. If customers aren't interested in these phones, they can supply their own Sprint-compatible handset and activate it with FreedomPop. FreedomPop is an MVNO that uses Sprint's network. It relies on VoIP to route calls over Sprint's data network. FreedomPop offers 200 voice minutes, 500 texts and 500 MBs of data for free, and also has an unlimited voice and text plan for $4.58 per month. Customers can select from a handful of different data options.
HTC today published a dashboard that should help consumers understand where the Sense 6.0 software update is for their One (M7) and when it might it arrive. For example, HTC has already completed updating most versions of the One (M7) to Android 4.4 KitKat, and is currently in the process of "integrating" Sense 6.0 into the operating system. After the software is integrated, it will need to be certified by the carrier before it can be delivered to customers. This dashboard is for devices specific to the U.S., including carrier variants, and unlocked/Google Play Edition variants. It is meant to provide general information and not exact dates.
Verizon Wireless today made a system update available to the HTC One (M8). The update adds several minor features to the Gallery app, including a copy/paste function, and resolves a number of bugs, such as web connection errors and data syncing when the Dot Matrix case is attached. The system update is free to download and install.
HTC today made available a preview of its dual-camera software developers kit. The SDK will allow developers to tap into the two-camera setup on the HTC One. With these tools, they can create their own apps that take advantage of the perspective information captured by the second camera on the One. The SDK is free to download for all developers.
The CTIA Wireless Association today said a number of handset makers and wireless network operators have agreed to a basic framework that will eventually provide consumers with better anti-theft tools for their smartphones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is meant to deter theft while also giving phone makers and carriers room to innovate. All the companies agreed to implement a baseline anti-theft tool preloaded on (or downloadable to) all wireless smartphones manufactured after July 2015. This tool will let consumers: remotely wipe their data; render the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users; prevent reactivation without owner's consent; and reverse the inoperability of the device as well as restore the data to the device in the event it is found by the owner. Consumers will also be free to use whatever third-party anti-theft tools they wish in addition to those provided by the phone maker. All signatories will make the baseline anti-theft tool available with all its core features. The initial batch of companies signing the commitment include: Apple; Asurion; AT&T; Google; HTC America; Huawei; Motorola; Microsoft; Nokia; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless. Some of those who haven't signed include Kyocera, LG, Sony, ZTE. A number of lawmakers lauded the commitment, which arrives several months after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler mandated that wireless companies come up with such a solution or face regulatory intervention.
Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC America, today said via his official Twitter account that the company will update the One (M7) smartphone to Sense 6.0 by May. Sense 6.0 is what shipped with the this year's One (M8). It includes an updated version of Blinkfeed, new camera software, and other features.
HTC said the One (M8) should be available in carrier retail stores (AT&T, Sprint, etc.) around the country beginning today. It was previously only at Verizon stores.
Sprint today said it will update its Windows Phone smartphones, the HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo, to Windows Phone 8.1 this summer. It will provide more specifics closer to the availability date.
AT&T today said the Android 4.4 KitKat update is now available for the HTC One mini. The update can be downloaded and installed via Wi-Fi. In addition to the system update, the revised operating system adds Sense 5.5. Some of the improvements include: new user interface for the email app; lock screen access to the camera application; immersive viewing mode for media such as books, videos, and games; new clock interface; and more options for BlinkFeed. Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 5.5 is free to download an install.
HTC plans to release versions of its BlinkFeed and Zoe Camera applications that are compatible with Android devices made by other manufacturers. The news about BlinkFeed appeared in a footnote from the company's press release about the One. BlinkFeed is HTC's social reader app. It pulls content from social networks and news sources to create an ever-updating feed. According to HTC, BlinkFeed is fairly popular, and that's why it plans to extend its availability to other Android handsets. The company will release an API for BlinkFeed to developers shortly. HTC also confirmed to the Verge that it plans to make a stand-alone version of its Zoe Camera application available to other phones. Zoes are a combination of still images and short video clips. It is a feature built into the camera app of the One, One max, One mini, etc. HTC plans to release a Zoe app that lets multiple people collaborate and create lengthy Zoes that share the same time, subject, or event. The Zoe app will launch later this year.
T-Mobile today said that its variant of the HTC One will be available online and in stores on April 11. T-Mobile is asking for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $26.50.
Ciao, an MVNO that resells Sprint service, kicked off today with low-cost, no-contract plans. Ciao is offering monthly service options that fall in line with other Sprint prepaid properties, such as Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile. The entry-level plan costs $35 per month and includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text messaging, and unlimited MMS. The mid-tier plan costs $45 per month and adds 500MB of data. The top-tier plan costs $60 per month and boosts the monthly data allotment to unlimited. Ciao will soon, however, offer an unlimited smartphone plan that costs just $10 per month. The catch is that Ciao will install an app that displays advertisements on the lock screen. Ciao sells a single phone, the HTC EVO, for $199. Ciao Mobile is owned and operated by Ciao Telecom, which is based in Dallas.
HTC said today it will offer both Google Play and developer editions of the HTC One, in addition to the carrier variants. The Play Edition One will be sold directly from Google. It can be preordered beginning today only in silver. It will cost $699 and is sold without a contract. HTC believes the device will ship within 10 to 14 days. Importantly, HTC has made its camera API available to Google, so the Play Edition variant should be able to take advantage of the two-camera setup employed by the One for 3D shots. Google hasn't specifically said what it will do with the HTC camera API, however. The Play Edition will support quad-band GSM/EDGE, as well as HSPA+ in the 850/AWS/1900/2100MHz bands, and LTE in the 700/850/AWS/1900MHz bands (LTE roaming in the 1800/2600MHz bands). HTC itself is selling an unlocked developer edition of the One, also, which can be ordered from HTC.com beginning today for $649. It is a GSM model, though HTC didn't specify what 3G/4G bands it will support.
The HTC One can be purchased in the U.S. beginning today. The new smartphone from HTC will be available in Verizon Wireless retail stores beginning at approximately 1PM Eastern time. At the same time, the One will go on sale through the web sites of AT&T, Sprint, and HTC itself. T-Mobile is not offering web orders today. The One will not reach AT&T or Sprint retail stores until April 11, but can be ordered online today for delivery within several days. The One will become available from T-Mobile at some point in early April. The device retails for $199/$249, depending on the carrier, and has a full retail price of $649.
HTC today said it will offer developers APIs that hook into the new Blinkfeed application as well as the new camera on the HTC One. These APIs will let developers take advantage of the new duo-camera setup of the One, which can add 3D and other info to photos, to enhance their own apps. The BlinkFeed app has been improved in Sense 6.0, and the APIs should make it easier for One owners to seek out and add content to their feed. These APIs will be available to developers soon.
HTC today announced that it will release Sense 6.0 for existing One series phones (including the max and mini) this spring.
Here are some quick and dirty thoughts about the HTC One, which has an all-metal design, 5-inch HD screen, and a rewritten user interface.
HTC today announced the One, an update to its top-of-the-line smartphone for 2014. The new One uses more aluminum in its design and increases the screen to 5-inches with full HD resolution. The One features a two-camera design that lets users create 3D images and add other effects after the image has been taken. The main camera uses the same 4-ultrapixel configuration last year's device did, but uses a dual-LED flash, upgrades the ImageChip, and boosts the user-facing camera from 2-megapixels to 5-megapixels. The camera boasts an improved Zoe mode, HDT mode, the ability to take images using both cameras at the same time, as well as save camera presets for later. The One is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, which is accompanied by 2GB of RAM. The device will be offered with 32GB of storage in the U.S., and supports microSD cards up to 128GB. Despite the all-metal design, the HTC includes NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, and support for U.S. LTE 4G networks. In addition to the hardware updates, HTC revealed Sense 6.0, its Android user interface overlay. The new version of Sense makes it easier to add content to Blinkfeed and manage home screens; adds lock-screen gestures that anticipate what the user wants; simplifies the camera and video camera software; and improved TV guide/remote software. HTC says the battery is 40% bigger than last year's phone, and it comes with "extreme power saving" mode, which shuts down all but the most essential apps when the battery reaches 5% and still provides for another 15 hours of battery life. Along with the One, HTC announced the Dot View case, which is a wrap-around case for the One. The front of the case is speckled with dots. Using the case puts the phone into an alternate notification mode that will use the dots to display notifications for incoming calls and text messages. The Dot View cast will be available separately for $50. The HTC One bears a full retail price of $649 and will be available soon.
Google today formally introduced its effort to port Android to wearables. The company announced Android Wear, a version of the Android operating system that will start with watches and eventually move on to other form factors. Google's immediate vision for wearables - and watches in particular - include some basic functions. Google believes smart wearables should provide useful information when the wearer needs it, such as posts, social network updates, and messaging notifications. Google thinks wearables should be able to answer questions, such as "OK Google." Google's Android-based wearables will include Google Now, its voice-based assistant, for performing searches and issuing commands. Android Wear will give people a better way to monitor their health and fitness, such as help with exercise goals and provide fitness summaries. Last, Google sees wearables as the key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear will let users access and control other devices - music players, phones, TVs - through Google Now. Developers interested in Project Android Wear can sign up to participate in a preview. Developers will be able to customize their app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear, for example. Google said that more resources, including APIs, will be available to developers soon. Google also noted that it is working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung to create Android Wear-based watches, which should arrive later this year.
Google recently indicated that devices running Android 4.3 and older will not be allowed to make tap-and-go payments via Google Wallet. The change goes into effect April 14. Moving forward, Android devices will need to run Android 4.4 KitKat and up to make NFC-based mobile payments. Additionally, Google said mobile payments will no longer be possible from the Samsung Galaxy Note III, HTC Evo 4G LTE, and the Google Nexus 7 (2012). Google did not provide a reason for making the change.