[Rumor] HTC M7 to be released at "HTC One"

HTC’s One X+ (but it could be the HTC One also)

HTC is getting ready to launch that flagship that’s for so long been known as the M7 – until the latest rumor has surfaced. The latest news from HTC is that the new device could actually be known simply as the “HTC One.”  This would put it in line with previously released devices like the One X, One S, and the One X+ – however; this might end up confusing consumers, as all these other devices were released before this newest one.

To top it off, the M7 most closely resembles the recently released Droid DNA, released on Verizon, and if Verizon gets the M7, its unclear why the Droid DNA would have ever been sold to begin with.  It’s no secret that around here, the 2 Tech Geeks are puzzled by HTC’s business strategies of late, most notably with the battery technology they put in their phones.  In any event, HTC has a long road ahead of it if they want to get back into the smartphone race…does anyone think the rumors of the M7 device are the way they do it?

*Source:  BGR

[News]Verizon to officially announce HTC DROID DNA tomorrow, November 20th release date likely

Verizon will officially announce the HTC Droid DNA tomorrow at 11:00 EST in New York.

The technical specifications for the DNA are as follows:

HTC Droid DNA
Release Date: November 20th
Carrier(s): Verizon
Price: $199.99 on contract
CPU/GPU: Quad-Core Snapdragon S4 Pro/Adreno 320
Screen: 5″ Super LCD-3 (RGB) 1920x1080p
Camera: 2.1MP(Fr)/8MP/1080p@30fps
Memory: 2GB
Storage: 16GB/32GB
SD Card Slot: No
Battery: Non-Removable/2500mah

The rumored November 20th date seems to be confirmed based on the post to the right from Verizon’s official Google+ page.

Many potential buyers will be cross shopping the DNA with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.  The DNA has a slightly better CPU and GPU, is made of more premium materials, and has a much higher resolution screen.  It also has a smaller non-removable battery though.

The Note 2 has a larger screen, a bigger/removable battery, an SD card slot, S-Pen and some cool proprietary features like multi-window.

If the battery holds up the DNA is a very compelling device, but I have my doubts and that’s why I’m still leaning towards the Note 2.

What do you guys think, Note 2 or Droid DNA?

[News]Verizon announces Droid RAZR HD and MAXX HD for October 18th. Both officially overpriced.

Verizon has confirmed the Droid RAZR HD and MAXX HD will both launch on October 18th.  The RAZR HD will be $199.99 on contract, while the RAZR MAXX HD will be $299.99.

These prices are what I expected when I wrote our holiday buyer’s guide, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that both phones are overpriced.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (GSIII) can be had for as little as $49.99 on contact and matches the RAZR HD and MAXX HD in virtually every department.  In fact, the Galaxy S III has more RAM (2GB vs. 1GB), a slightly larger screen (4.8″ vs. 4.7″) and the same dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor.

The only advantage the RAZR HD and MAXX HD have are bigger batteries.  This would be a big deal if the GSIII was a battery hog, but it’s not.  The GSIII will easily get the average user through a day and the $149.99 price difference versus the RAZR HD and $249.99 versus the RAZR MAXX HD will buy a lot of spare batteries just in case.

If you’re a Verizon customer that’s in the market right now do yourself a favor and buy the GSIII at a discount.  You won’t regret it.

(For the record over the next two months the Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC Droid Incredible X and the LG Optimus G/Nexus are all also being released on Verizon and would warrant a look.  For more info on those go here.)

[Op-Ed]What is Motorola doing?

On September 5th Motorola announced their newest flagship phones the Droid Razr HD and the Droid Razr MAXX HD (along with the mid-level Droid Razr M).  Both have a dual-core S4 processor with an Adreno 225 GPU, a pentile matrix 4.7″ 720p HD display (you can find my feelings on pentile matrix screens here), on-screen buttons, a kevlar back plate, 1 GB of ram, 32GB of internal storage, an SD card slot, and an 8MP camera.  The only difference between the two is the capacity of the battery (2500mah for the HD, 3300mah for the MAXX) and a very slight bump in thickness for the MAXX (9.4mm vs. 8.4mm).  Motorola didn’t announce a release date and simply said both phones “will be out before the holidays.”  As I sat at my computer watching the press conference all I could think was what is Motorola doing?

(Photos courtesy of motorola.com)
Neither phone is bad per se, but rather 6 months or so late to the party.  The HTC One X sports the same processor, a better screen, the same 1GB of ram, a better camera and was released back in May.  Ditto for the Samsung Galaxy S III except it has a pentile matrix screen similar to the Razr HD and an extra 1GB of ram.  It was released in June.  In essence Motorola announced flagship phones that were at best equal to what the competition had released 5-6 months earlier.
Motorola seems to be hanging its hat on larger battery capacity being the most important factor to buyers.  While this is indeed one of the most important factors for potential buyers, the days of LTE phones draining a battery in 4-6 hours like the HTC Thunderbolt are long gone.  The introduction of the 28nm Krait S4 processor with an integrated LTE modem on board has lead to a massive increase in battery life.  The One X and Galaxy S III both have no problem making it through a day of normal use.
Even if Motorola is aiming for the battery conscious buyer, why introduce both the Razr HD and the Razr MAXX HD?  The difference in thickness between the two is less than 1mm and most consumers probably wouldn’t even notice.  Given the significant difference in capacity why would anyone opt for the Razr HD?  
Is this enough of a difference to justify two separate models?
(Photo courtesy of pocketnow.com)
The only reason I can think of is price.  My guess is that Verizon prices the Razr HD at $199.99 and the Razr MAXX HD at $299.99 on contract.  Why anyone would pay that for either when they could pick up a Galaxy S III for $149.99 or an iPhone 5 for $199.99 is completely beyond me.  That’s not even taking into consideration options like the Galaxy Nexus for $49.99 or the forthcoming slew of amazing phones that will be out before the end of the year on Verizon including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 ($299.99), the HTC Droid Incredible X ($199.99 or $299.99), and the LG Optimus G ($199.99) all of which feature superior specifications including quad-core processors, 1.5-2GB of ram and true RGB 720p or 1080p screens.
HTC Droid Incredible X
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
LG Optimus G
(Photos courtesy engadget.com)
Motorola doesn’t make bad products, but they also don’t make compelling ones.  Their history with consumers isn’t great and they have some ground to make up in the reputation department (a topic for a separate article).  Their phones are solid and feature nice materials but they are constantly behind the competition in key areas like screen quality, ram, and especially cameras.  Packing huge batteries into their phones is novel, but isn’t enough to battle the big boys.  The competition is fierce and releasing yesterday’s flagship at today’s price isn’t the way back to profitability.