HTC has indicated via its web site that the U Ultra, the company's flagship handset for 2017, will begin shipping on March 10. The $750 smartphone comes in black, white, or blue, and features a 5.7-inch screen, Snapdragon 821 processor, 16-megapixel camera, and personalized sound profiles. Software features include Android 7 Nougat with HTC Sense and HTC's new Sense Companion personal assistant. The phone is sold unlocked with support for AT&T and T-Mobile.
Google today said more wireless network operators and handset manufacturers will use Android Messages, its RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on their phones. (Android Messages was previously known as Google Messenger.) Some of the features of RCS, which is a global standard, include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts. It has been improved lately with more interactive tools, such as the ability to check into flights. Google says a number of brands plan to use RCS in order to enhance their own services and help spur adoption. Some of the brands include Walgreens, Baskin-Robbins, FICO, Gamestop, Sonic, Subway, and Time. Moving forward, the Android Messages app with RCS will be preloaded by LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, HMD Global, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony, and Wiko, along with Google's own Pixel and Android One devices. Further, Google was already working with carriers Sprint, Rogers, and Telenor, and today added Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe. Notably absent fro the list of phone makers is Samsung, while AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have also yet to commit. Phones with Android Messages on board will still be able to interact with Samsung handsets and those running on non-Sprint networks of course, but will lose the advanced features available via RCS. Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon haven't said if or when they might adopt Google's Android Messages, though T-Mobile and Verizon already use their own RCS-like messaging platforms.
HTC plans to exit the entry-level phone market moving forward and will instead focus its handset portfolio on high-margin devices. The company made the comments during a conference call with media to discuss its fourth quarter financial results. HTC said it will continue to sell and support entry-level phones that are already in the channel, but the company will reduce the total number of new phones to six or seven for the 2017 calendar year. HTC cited the high level of competition in the entry-level space as one reason for dropping low-cost phones from its lineup, as well as the slim chance it will be able to create profits from such phones. The company said it needs to focus on profitability in its handset business moving forward and will thus make only mid-range and high-end devices. HTC announced the U Ultra (pictured) and HTC U Play at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. These phones are expected to go on sale in March.
Verizon Wireless today announced a promotional trade-in offer that will give a free flagship-class phone to those who switch from other carriers. The offer requires users to select Verizon's new $80 monthly unlimited plan. It also requires a working trade-in that is fully paid off. Customers will need to port their number in from a competing service provider. Customers can then select the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, or LG V20. Verizon will provide up to $792 toward the cost of the phone spread out over 24 months. In order to get one of the above phones for free, switchers will need to trade-in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Note 5, LG G5, LG V20, or the HTC 10. Customers who have an older phone to trade, such as the Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G4, LG V10, or HTC M9, will need to pay $5 per month for the "free" phones being offered by Verizon. Verizon Wireless didn't say how long this promotion will be available.
HTC executive vice president Jason Mackenzie said today will be his last day with the company. Mackenzie has been with HTC since 2005. He spent the last year working at a global position, but previously served as the head of HTC's U.S. operations. Mackenzie did not say what his next move will be. His departure follows closely that of VP of Design Claude Zellweger, who recently accepted a position with Google's Daydream virtual reality team.
T-Mobile said its T-Mobile One plan now includes all monthly taxes, surcharges, and fees. The company still charges those fees, but they are rolled into the advertised price of the plan in order to simplify what customers see on their bills each month. For example, a family of four that signs up today will pay $40 per line, or $160 total, with no additional fees visible on their monthly bill. Those fees are now included in the total price. The news was first announced earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Trade Show. T-Mobile has been promoting it heavily via television commercials the last few weeks. In other T-Mobile news, the company's prepaid brand, MetroPCS, announced a free phone promotion. Starting today, customers who upgrade their phone, add a line, or get a new phone number can snag one of 15 different phones for free. Some of the options include the LG Aristo, Samsung Galaxy On5, ZTE Avid Trio, and Alcatel Fierce XL. Customers who port a number to MetroPCS will be able to pick a more expensive free handset, such as the HTC Desire 530, ZTE ZMax Pro, or LG K10. Last, MetroPCS is offering free data to those who sign up for its $50 plan. Typically, the $50 plan includes 5 GB of data. For a limited time, people who choose that plan will have access to 8 GB of data each month for at least a year. Additional 8 GB lines added to the same account will cost $30 per month.
HTC's Mo Versi today announced via Twitter that the late-2015 One A9 smartphone will be updated to Android 7 Nougat. HTC is pushing the system update to the unlocked variant of the phone first. The revised operating system will be delivered via an over-the-air update. HTC didn't say when carrier-branded versions of the One A9 will receive Nougat.
The HTC U Ultra and U Play are the company's new high-end phones, replacing the iconic HTC 10 and One series. They sport flowing 3D curved glass on the back, and high-end specs. The U Ultra also has a secondary touch screen above the main display. The U series also includes a learning AI assistant, as well as traditional HTC features like UltraPixel cameras, BoomSound Hi-Fi, hi-res audio, and HTC Connect for wireless media streaming. What are the U phone like in person? We checked them out.
HTC today announced its new flagship phone, the HTC U Ultra, along with a smaller version, the U Play. Both phones have a new design with colorful glass on the front and back, and a metal frame. The rear glass is fully curved at all four edges, a first. HTC developed a unique process called optical spectrum hybrid deposition" to give the glass multi-layered color. Available colors are: blue, white, black, and pink. The U Ultra has a 2-inch secondary touch-screen above the main display, much like the LG V20. New "HTC Sense Companion" software uses an AI to learn about you and offer intelligent suggestions. It can learn which are your most important contacts and apps, and only surface those notifications on the second screen. It can also advise you when to charge the phone if your schedule indicates you may run out of power before bedtime. (The battery rates 3,000 mAh.) The HTC Sense Companion will be on both U-series phones, as well as other new HTC phones this year. The U Ultra's Super LCD 5 main display measures 5.7 inches and has Quad-HD resolution. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4 GB of RAM. HTC gave the U Ultra four microphones that are always listening, and it can record "3D audio". The main camera is a 12-mgeapixel UltraPixel sensor, similar to the HTC 10 but with improved PDAF (focusing). A 16-megapuxel camera graces the front. Other features include 64 GB of internal storage, memory card slot, Android 7.0, Hi-Res audio, Cat. 11 LTE, fingerprint sensor in the home button, NFC, and Quick Charge 3.0. It has a USB-C port with USB 3.1, but no 3.5mm audio jack. The U Ultra is now available for pre-order from htc.com for $750, in an unlocked version that will work with the LTE networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. It will ship in early March. The U Play has the same design but smaller, with a 5.2-inch display, no second display, and a more modest main camera and processor. Other features are similar. HTC has not announced plans for a US-compatible version of the U Play.
HTC said the unlocked variant of its HTC 10 smartphone should receive Android 7 Nougat beginning today. The update is being pushed out over-the-air to the U.S. version of the HTC 10, which was sold directly by HTC online. Beyond Nougat, the update also installs the latest Android security patches from Google and provides other system enhancements. The update measures 1.1 GB and should be downloaded via WiFi.
HTC today announced the 10 evo, an international variant of the Bolt that will be sold in markets outside the U.S. The only significant difference between the Bolt and 10 evo is the latter's lesser support for LTE. It drops three-channel carrier aggregation and sticks to LTE bands more common in Europe and other markets. The HTC 10 evo is a unibody metal handset that boasts IP57 for protection against water and dust. It includes a 5.5-inch quad HD screen with curved glass, Snapdragon 810 processor with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 2 TB. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and a selfie light. HTC gave the phone a 3,200mAh battery and the USB-C port supports Quick Charge 2.0 for rapid power-ups. The phone does not include HTC's trademarked BoomSound stereo speakers, but it does ship with BoomSound Adaptive Audio headphones. The 10 evo ships with Android 7 Nougat and the latest version of Sense UI from HTC. It goes on sale later this month.
The HTC Bolt is a mishmash of HTC's two best phones with a handful of unique features tossed in to give it some additional appeal. Under-the-hood specs such as three-channel carrier aggregation and a Snapdragon 810 push this unibody handset faster than many others. Here are our first impressions of this one-off for Sprint.
HTC and Sprint today announced the Bolt, the first smartphone to ship with support for three-channel carrier aggregation (3xCA) for Sprint's LTE Plus network. The HTC Bolt can aggregate three 20MHz LTE channels to improve wireless performance. Sprint claims theoretical max downloads via 3xCA can reach 450Mbps, but expects real-world speeds to be under 300Mbps. While the Bolt will be the first handset to ship with 3xCA active out of the box, Sprint said earlier this year the HTC 10 and 9, LG G5, and Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are all 3xCA-capable — they need only a software update to turn the functionality on. The HTC Bolt is a unibody metal handset that boasts IP57 for protection against water and dust. It includes a 5.5-inch quad HD screen with curved glass, Snapdragon 810 processor with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 2 TB. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. It has phase-detection autofocus, optical image stabilization, dual-LED flash, and 4K video recording. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and a selfie light. HTC gave the phone a 3,200mAh battery and the USB-C port supports Quick Charge 2.0 for rapid power-ups. The phone does not include HTC's trademarked BoomSound stereo speakers, but it does ship with BoomSound Adaptive Audio headphones. The headphones include microphones and work together with on-board software to fine-tune the EQ based on the owner's ear and surrounding environment for the best-possible sound. The phone ships with Android 7 Nougat and the latest version of Sense UI from HTC. The HTC Bolt reaches Sprint stores today (Nov. 11) for $25 per month for 24 months with an installment plan.
HTC today announced the Desire 10 series, a re-imagining of its mid-range handsets. Both the Desire 10 pro and Desire 10 lifestyle feature metal designs with matte finishes and gold highlights. Other shared features include 5.5-inch screens with Gorilla Glass, memory card support, and microUSB. The phones run Android 6 Marshmallow and include the latest version of HTC Sense for customizing the user interface.
- Desire 10 pro: The more upscale of the two phones has a full HD screen and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 3 or 4 GB of RAM and 32 or64 GB of storage. The main camera includes a 20-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and laser-assisted focus, while the front camera has a 13-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and a selfie panorama mode. It has a 3,000mAh battery.
- Desire 10 lifestyle: The lifestyle drops the display resolution to 720p and trades the MediaTek processor for a quad-core Snapdragon 400 with 2 or 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The main camera includes a 13-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and laser-assisted focus, while the selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.8. It has a 2,700mAh battery and BoomSound stereo speakers.
HTC today announced the One A9s, a less-expensive follow up to last year's A9. The A9s is a mid-range device that makes use of HTC's signature metal chassis design, but it dumbs down the specs a bit. The phone features a 5-inch 720p HD LCD screen and an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 2 or 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage. The main camera has a 13-megapixel BSI sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and RAW photo support. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with beauty mode and full HD video capture. Other specs include a 2,300mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.2, fingerprint sensor, BoomSound for the 3.5mm headset jack, and CAT6 LTE. HTC said the One A9s will be priced affordably. It will be sold worldwide, including in the U.S.
HTC revealed via its Twitter account that it plans to update some devices to Android 7.0 Nougat later this year. The unlocked HTC 10 will be first to receive Nougat at some point during the fourth quarter. HTC will follow that with the unlocked One M9 and unlocked One A9, but it didn't specify timing for these two phones. The carrier versions of all three of these devices will also see Nougat down the road, but again HTC didn't provide specifics. The news walks backs HTC's initial promise to provide Nougat to the HTC 10 within 15 days of Google's Nexus-branded devices (which received Nougat on Aug. 22). The company didn't explain why it isn't sticking to its earlier commitment.
HTC today said U.S. consumers can order the red or gold HTC 10 smartphones from its web site. The limited edition colors were announced earlier this year for select markets. This marks the first time they are available to U.S. buyers. Customers can get the phones for $100 off, or with a pair of noise-cancelling JBL headphones for a limited time. The devices are available for preorder online, but HTC didn't say how soon they will ship.
A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.
The FCC has approved two new handsets from HTC that may be bound for Google's Nexus program. The FCC documents don't confirm much other than the model numbers and radio support, but they do leave a few clues as to the devices' potential. In a letter to the FCC, HTC says the user guide "will be made publicly available on Google's web site (support.google.com/nexus) at the time the product is commercially released." This strongly suggests the devices will be Nexus-branded phones. The FCC confirms the devices will support a variety of LTE bands, as well as hearing aids and CDMA networks — key factors for use in the U.S. The documents do not clarify why there are two different model numbers. Neither HTC nor Google has confirmed any such devices are in the works.
Sprint today said it has achieved peak download speeds of 295Mbps using three-channel carrier aggregation on the HTC 10 smartphone. Carrier aggregation pairs together multiple segments of spectrum to improve speed and capacity. The company has already deployed two-channel carrier aggregation in 237 markets around the country. It markets this service as LTE Plus, offering 100Mbps downloads to nearly two dozen devices. The company plans to offer 200Mbps service once it deploys three-channel carrier aggregation, though it declined to specify when that might be. The HTC 10 is one of several handsets that supports three-channel carrier aggregation, which binds together three spectrum bands. Sprint will enable three-channel carrier aggregation on supported devices (HTC 10, HTC 9, Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, LG G5) through a software update one the technology has launched.
Verizon Wireless has followed T-Mobile in making the HTC Desire 530 available for sale. The stand-out feature of the Desire 530 is the unique "micro splash" effect applied to the polycarbonate rear shell. 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. Verizon is selling the phone for $144 at full retail or $6 per month on a payment plan.
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.