Better late than never? It would seem HTC wasn’t able to move through the verification process to meet their September deadline on updating all of their One phones to Google’s current version of Android Jellybean, but those of you on AT&T will finally start seeing update notifications soon!
Among the various improvements, users will see improved camera performance (hopefully a fix for some of the low light problems some users face) and new focus options for video. We’ll also see improved quick access to controls in the notification tray, so no more going to your settings menu to turn WiFi on and off.
The update should roll out auto-magically, but if you’re really impatient, you can start spamming the software update setting throughout the day. Maybe it’ll work for you?
Now HTC… When can we start talking about KitKat updates?
I kid… I kid… But no really when? [Said while doing ‘grabby hands’]
(via AT&T Blog)
A friend of a Verizon employee posted this pic of the up coming HTC One Max in the Android Central forums. According to Jeremy, his mysterious pal has confirmed the One Max will have a finger print scanner and a removable back plate. Looks to be some decent competition for the Galaxy Note 3, especially with BoomSound in tow.
What I’m really happy to see, is this doesn’t appear to be a Droid. The last larger screened phone HTC released was a carrier exclusive to VZW in the USA, dubbed the Droid DNA. This image shows us a phone which very much follows the design language of the One and One Mini, meaning HTC is moving towards the same kind of device branding that Samsung and Apple have already figured out. Consumers will no longer be confused by seeing One’s on one carrier and Evos/Droids on another.
Of course, Verizon did still have to slap their weird checkmark logo right on the face of this otherwise beautiful phone. Right where the HTC logo would’ve been too. Kind of a slap in the face. Here’s to change?
(via Android Central)
What we do know, is Dr. Dre and Mr. Iovine are looking to seriously expand the reach of the Beats brand to include more pro gear, speaker systems, in-car audio, and more consumer electronics. Maybe we could see Beats branding on other phones, tablets, and tech like we did back during their HP partnership.
What we don’t know, is why the pair of producers parted ways with HTC. We can speculate that the Beats brand is becoming a vanguard for a new crop of consumer designer audio, developing consumer mind share that rivals companies like Bose. Unfortunately HTC hasn’t been able to boost its own image in the world of smartphones. While delivering critically acclaimed handsets, they still haven’t cracked the consumer nut yet, with sales of their flagship and mid-range phone lagging.
HTC announced the sale should be finished by end of year, and that Beats will still be a valued partner, but we don’t know what this new relationship will resemble. While Beats is a popular brand, HTC has partnered with other audio companies in the past, like Dolby for the HTC Surround.
(via NASDAQ.com, pic via Billboard)
They say good things come in small packages…
I was a big fan of Ultrapixels on the HTC One, and now they’re making an appearance on the One Mini.What’s missing however is optical image stabilization. Let’s take a look at some samples and see if the One Mini camera can hang with other mid-range handsets.
Man. HTC just can’t catch a break here.
Last week, shares fell almost 5% on the news that HTC only pulled in $443 million this August, which is down 45% from a year ago. It seems that the critically acclaimed One and One Mini handsets aren’t quite motivating consumers to part with their cash. Investor confidence is also a little shaken by news of high level executives leaving the company. Some of those execs under investigation for allegedly leaking company secrets. In all, not a great position for the phone maker to be in given how competitive the phone landscape is.
The one resource HTC most likely needs to turn around its market image is likely the one most difficult to come by: Time. HTC’s recent moves have largely been celebrated by tech pundits. The HTC One marks the first handset by the company which isn’t hamstrung by carrier branding. Even the older One X was billed as the “Evo 4G LTE” on Sprint, diluting HTC’s presence. Future HTC phones will likely not be plagued by this consumer confusion.
Also, we recently saw the first fruits from HTC’s $1 billion ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. and “Hipster Troll Carwashes”. This is a long term brand identity move, which should net positive results, but HTC is also in need of some short term sales to help boost confidence internally and with potential customers. They need evangelists and fans who will tout the company line, and be a grassroots first line of attack when new handsets are released.
Recent moves have been smart, HTC is trying to build a presence on sites like Reddit, and they’ve been more active on social media sites. It’s a tough road to build that kind of loyalty however. Their 716,000 Twitter followers are nothing to sneeze at, but pale in comparison to Samsung’s 4.4 million, and comparing recent tweets, actual engagement with likes and retweet action mirrors those follower numbers.
So while their long term strategies look sound, this isn’t a market known for patience, and that magical recipe for pairing good products and actual sales has been eluding numerous companies of late.
See my hands on reviews for the HTC One and the HTC One Mini.
Benchmarks really can’t tell you how a phone will perform in real world situations, but they can show relative performance between devices. Android seems to be entering a phase of “efficiency”, with mid-range phones utilizing dual-core processors. Even the Moto X, which stands as a premier handset for Motorola, only uses two cores to get the job done.
Let’s take a look at how the HTC’s Mini performs in a number of synthetic benchmarks against its big brother One and an older handset running similar internals.
If you’re checking out HTC Phones on AT&T, you’ll notice something a little curious. Firing up the One Mini you’ll see it’s running Android 4.2.2, which is a newer version of the operating system than the flagship full-sized One which is currently rocking 4.1.2. One of the biggest changes in the update can be seen on the right. The notification tray quick toggles for things like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.
The update for 4.2.2 is already live in the UK, much to the chagrin of some One customers in the USA. Support for Android handsets has always been a dicey conversation. The relationship between Google, manufactures, and carriers can often delay support to end users. This support gets even more contentious when some phones are updated but others are not.
Apparently the Verizon version of the One will ship with 4.2.2 pre-installed. President of Global Sales Jason Mackenzie took a couple minutes to respond to some of the comments on Twitter.
Minor though it may be, it does include some nifty usability improvements like that aforementioned notification tray update. When pushed on the timing of this update Mr. Mackenzie replied:
And hopefully that’s what we’ll see. The changes between 4.1 and 4.2 and 4.3 weren’t substantial enough for Google to even change the name of the update. They’re all called “Jelly Bean”. Yet this still gives customers the impression that some are being left out in the cold. That they aren’t getting bug fixes and patches. Not a great feeling to have when you supposedly have a premier handset.
As I’m currently using the AT&T HTC One, I’ll be following up on coverage as soon as some kind of update reaches us.
I like the One Mini a lot. I think you’ve largely succeeded in bringing a nicer experience to the mid range Android ecosystem. The fit and finish are outstanding, and in many ways it out shines its bigger brother One. There are a few things I’m going to be critical about when I wrap up my review, but honestly there aren’t any severe deal breakers here. It’s a great little phone.
You know what is bothering me about the HTC One Mini however? Your advertising for the phone.
You remember two sentences ago, when I said it was “…a great little phone”? The problem is, it’s not THAT little. In fact it’s ever so slightly bigger than the Moto X. This wouldn’t be a problem by itself. The phone IS smaller than the original One, so you have every right to call it the “Mini”. I guess I’m just a little disappointed to continue seeing press pictures of the Mini like this on your official HTC site:
Nice! That makes the Mini look like it’s a tiny wunder-phone. A Mighty Mouse here to save the day from all of these gargantuan mini-tablets! Huzzah!
Unfortunately reality look more like this:
Yeah… See that’s not what you showed us it would be. That’s actually pretty close in size to the original One. This is the problem with forced perspective and Photoshop. Moving the Mini in front of the One would actually make the One appear to be smaller as it would be slightly farther away from the “camera”. To recreate the size difference you showcase I actually had to move the One closer to the camera:
I know, I know a LOT of tech has to be crammed in there like a 4.3″ 720p screen and those terrific Boomsound speakers. I get it. But you didn’t have to lie to us.
Ahem, I mean, you didn’t have to exaggerate the differences in size for dramatic effect.
Click here to watch my video first impressions of the HTC One Mini.