[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

[Rumor] Next "superphone" from HTC to come in Feb?

HTC’s One X/One X+

Its not even the end of the year, and already juicy rumors are flying around that interweb about how HTC is trying to up their game after the Droid DNA’s launch.  The newest rumors have HTC looking to launch a new superphone (codename M7) sometime in the first quarter of 2013, and man are the rumored specs on this guy crazy.  Can you imagine the One X’s successor with: 1.7GHz quad core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, either a 4.7 inch or 5.0 inch 1080p display using their new SoLux technology, a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, and a 2300mAh battery powering it all.

HTC’s really slick unibody construction would give it the look and feel of the already beautiful One X series, but with much beefier internals.  If this bad boy comes to Verizon (no carriers rumored as of yet) I’m going to give it a strong look as my next phone.  Alas, we are still in just the rumor stage as of yet, but February is the early target date of release so far.  You know we will keep our ears to the grindstone for any more details.  Stay tuned.

*Source:  Geek.com

[News]HTC announces the One X+ and One VX exclusively for AT&T

This morning HTC officially announced the One X+ and One VX exclusively for AT&T.  Both phones are due out in November.

The One X+ is a refresh of the One X and comes with a 4.7″ Super LCD-2 720p screen, a Tegra 3+ quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 64(!)GB of standard on board storage and a larger 2100mah internal battery.

The One VX sports a 4.5″ qHD screen, a 1.5ghz dual-core S4 Snapdragon, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of standard on board storage, an SD card slot and a 1810mah internal battery.

It’s too bad both phones are limited to AT&T because the One X+ would be an excellent Samsung Galaxy S III alternative if it was available on other networks.   HTC needs to figure out a way to get their phones on all the major U.S. carriers if they want to be competitive.

HTC ONE X+
Release Date: November
Carrier(s): AT&T
Price: $199.99 on contract

CPU/GPU: Tegra 3+ 1.7ghz quad-core/Tegra 3+

Screen: 4.7″ Super LCD-2 (RGB) 1280x720p
Camera: 1.3MP(Fr)/8MP/1080p@30fps

Memory: 1GB RAM

Storage: 64GB
Battery: Non-Removable/2100mah
Outlook: A very nice update to the already excellent One X.  The One X+ has flagship specs, more standard storage than any other smartphone (64GB!), a larger battery and is still the best looking Android phone available.
HTC ONE VX
Release Date: November
Carrier(s): AT&T
Price: $99.99 on contract
CPU/GPU: Dual-core Snapdragon S4 1.2ghz/Adreno305
Screen: 4.5″ Super LCD-2 (RGB) 960×540
Camera: 1.3MP(Fr)/5MP/1080p@30fps

Memory: 1GB RAM
Storage: 8GB
Battery: Non-Removable/1810mah

Outlook: A good looking mid-tier phone reminiscent of the One S.  The One VX has a powerful dual-core Snapdragon S4 with an updated Adreno 305 GPU.  The One VX looks to be an excellent option for the casual smartphone user. 

[Op-Ed]HTC is back to making great phones, so why are they still struggling?

HTC ruled Android phones in 2010.  They started the year off by releasing the Nexus One and then followed that up by releasing the Droid Incredible on Verizon in April and the Evo 4G on Sprint in June.  The Droid Incredible and Evo 4G in particular received significant advertising support from their respective carriers and were massive hits.  It seemed like HTC could do no wrong and the record profits they turned in seemingly every quarter reinforced this notion.

Then 2011 came around and HTC’s fortunes changed dramatically.  HTC starting falling behind the competition in a number of crucial areas.  Performance benchmark scores, battery life, reliability and stability all seemed to lag behind the competition.  The proprietary skin HTC put on Android called “Sense” was continually getting more system intensive and started negatively impacting the speed of the devices it was on.  On top of all that, Samsung released the Galaxy S II and dramatically raised the bar for Android hardware.

(Photo courtesy of almostlikeeverything.com)

Looking back at the phones HTC released in 2011 it’s hard to say that any of them were terrible.  However almost all of them could be described as underwhelming.  The Thunderbolt, Sensation, Sensation XE, EVO 3D, Vivid and mid-range models like the Incredible 2 and female targeted Rhyme all seemed to fade away quickly and quietly (or in the case of the Thunderbolt maybe not so quietly).  Reviewers liked the phones, but complained about bad battery life and noted how HTC had fallen behind in screen quality.  They tried differentiating their phones by adding features like Beats Audio, but features like Beats didn’t seem to resonate with consumers.  The HTC design aesthetic had also grown stale.  Their phones were virtually indistinguishable from one another and were heavier and thicker than the competition.  Can you tell the difference between these three completely separate models on completely different carriers?

(Photos courtesy of htc.com)

At the end of the 2011 HTC released the Rezound on Verizon.  The Rezound got lost under the massive hype of the Galaxy Nexus and the massive marketing behind the Droid Razr, but was an excellent phone in its own right.  It had the best screen and camera of the trio and also had an SD card slot the others lacked.  The battery life was at least equivalent despite having the lowest capacity.  HTC also gave users the ability to unlock the bootloader through their development site.  The phone was still quite a bit thicker than the others, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.  

As 2012 rang in, how would HTC respond to the rise of Samsung and their own sagging market share?  The answer came with the announcement of the HTC One line at the Mobile World Congress in February.  HTC announced a trio of new smartphones: the low-range One V, the mid-range One S, and the flagship One X.  The One S and One X were stunners.  The One S had a super thin body (7.9mm!), a dual-core Krait S4 processor, and a 4.3″ qHD Super AMOLED screen.  The One X featured a super thin (8.9mm) Polycarbonate Unibody with a 4.7″ RGB Super LCD 2 screen, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor (dual-core Krait S4 in the U.S.), and 1GB of ram.  Both phones also featured a dedicated camera chip called ImageChip that HTC claimed greatly improved image quality.  Finally, both phones featured the newest version of Sense (4.0) which was much less of a resource hog and a generally “thinner” skin.  
The designs were a huge departure from what HTC had been doing and both were gorgeous.  Almost a year later the One X is still one of the best looking phones on the market. 
(Photo courtesy of htc.com)
So, HTC learned its lessons from 2011, introduced fantastic products for 2012 and triumphed, right?  Well, not quite.  T-Mobile got the One S in April.  The One X was released by AT&T on May 6, 2012.  Verizon passed on the One X and eventually got a heavily modified One S variant called the Droid Incredible 4G LTE in July.  Sprint got a heavily reworked version of the One X that they called the Evo 4G LTE in June.  The Evo 4G LTE variant added in an SD card slot, a removable battery, and a lot of questionable design choices.  They took one of the most beautiful phones on the market and gave it a bizarre two tone gloss/matte backing with a red kickstand in the middle.  
(Photo courtesy androidguys.com)
While all these different variants were slowly trickling out, Samsung unleashed the Galaxy S III on May 3rd. A single version of the GSIII was released on all major carriers on June 21st and it has sold over 20 million units worldwide.  Meanwhile the One series has been a sales disappointment and is now getting price drops to move inventory.  Obviously the Galaxy S III was a major improvement over the One X and that’s the reason it was so much more successful, right?  Well, actually no.  Both screens are 720p, but the RGB Super LCD-2 unit on the One X is superior to the 720p pentile Super AMOLED unit on the GSIII.  The cameras are both 8mp and are pretty equivalent.  Battery life is similar.  The GSIII has an SD card slot and a removable battery, neither of which the One X has.  The GSIII also has 2GB of ram while the One X has 1GB.  The dimensions are similar.  From a materials perspective the One X makes the GSIII feel and look cheap.  
Both phones are excellent products and choosing between them could easily come down to user preference. So why has the One series disappointed while the Galaxy S III soared?  Distribution.  Samsung was able to get all the carriers to release an identical product a month and a half after it was announced.  HTC announced the One series in February and it took them 5 months to get something on every carrier.  The only stock variants of One series phones on U.S. carriers are the One X on AT&T and the One S on T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint got heavily messaged variants that were both inferior to the design they were based off of.  
The One X is a fantastic phone and it’s a shame it only made it to one carrier intact.  Under different circumstances it could have (and probably should have) been a massive hit.  
Over the next couple months it looks like HTC will unleash a One X + (featuring a quad-core Tegra 3+ processor) and a 5″ 1080p quad-core monster that may or may not end up being a Nexus phone. Going forward HTC needs to handle releases like Samsung (and Apple) does.  Get one version of their phone released on all carriers within a month or two of announcing it.  If consumers get to compare the new HTC phones against other Android handsets, I believe they compare favorably.  Consumers will buy great products given the chance, and HTC is back to making great products.
(Photo courtesy droid-life.com)