The February 19, 2013, HTC event was like no other. The event was streamed live from two locations simultaneously, London and New York, with each stage having slightly different speakers and feature highlights. The HTC event kicked off with Jason McKenzie, President of HTC, on stage where he started by talking about HTC’s values and the new ways that people are using smartphones. McKenzie introduced the new incremental improvement to HTC’s phone lineup, the HTC One. This is an aluminum phone with a big screen and a new HTC home screen. The phone spots dual stereo speakers with two capacitive buttons. According to Jason, the dual speakers offer “sound quality that’s so good you won’t know it’s a phone, a revolutionary camera that will change the way you take pictures.”
Jason went ahead and introduced a new experience called BlinkFeed. This allows you to stream your social updates, news and other information on to the home screen. This is sort of similar to Flipboard. According to HTC, it has partnered with over 1,400 content providers to provide information for the BlinkFeed feature. ESPN was mentioned as one of the bigger partners with Ed Erhardt, the President of global customer sales and marketing at ESPN, being invited on stage to talk about the partnership. According to Ed, the new version of HTC is aligned with what ESPN wants to do; allowing sports fans to view their content at any time and from anywhere.
(Photo Credit: HTC)
Jason Becker, the Design Director at HTC, expounded on the power of BlinkFeed by saying that it “re-imagines the phone by turning your home screen into a live feed.” He said the feature was built with snacking in mind. It is designed to let you check updates while at the grocery store, in an elevator or waiting in line. The feature can be customized and personalized to show your topics and areas of interest. A new feature, the BoomSound, was also introduced, which includes two front-facing speakers and a powerful amp to deliver stereo sound. To enable you take full advantage of this new feature, HTC developed a new music player which pulls lyrics and song info from the cloud. The capture feature has also been enhanced with HDR recording that includes two mics for undistorted audio recording.
The new Sense feature automatically adjusts the call volume when you are somewhere noisy so you can hear the person on the other end. The SenseTV feature comes with a smartly integrated IR blaster to control your entertainment center. It is integrated into the phone’s power button. To switch between the front and rear camera, you only need a swipe on screen and you are done.
AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong, was next on stage in London as one of the content partners. He started by saying, “For years, people have been misled about what is important in a camera – what matters is not pixel count, but pixel size. Bigger pixels let in more light, its simple physics.” A video clip was then shown that showcased the new camera tech from HTC called the UltraPixel camera. This technology offers videos with 300 percent more light and ghostless HDR. According to AOL, its content offering will include content from TechCrunch, Engadget and Huffington Post, all of which seemed like a simple content distribution deal.
The HTC Zoe feature was also shown which includes short video clips with HTC’s own proprietary format. Scott, HTC’s lead designer, was up on stage in London talking about the new HTC Sense and BlinkFeed together with demos of the features. Zoe offers a lot of flexibility to a shot with such features as the ability to grab stills, remove blinking people among other things.
HTC One will be available in 80 countries with 185 carriers across the globe and includes the largest partner rollout ever. It will start shipping in late March at 32GB and 64GB capacities. HTC wrapped the event by introducing a new trade program that allows customers to preorder and turn in their current phone to get up to $100 off the new HTC One phone.