Last year, HTC wowed the world with the release of the HTC One M8, a smartphone that had everything you could ask for and then some. So this year, HTC had to deliver something more if it wanted to impress everyone. HTC has risen to the challenge and delivered not one but three exciting, ambitious, and revolutionary new products that we predict will place it as a strong competitor to the current era market leaders, Samsung and Apple.
The announcement came on an eventful Sunday in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, which saw other top companies promise us some gorgeous this year too.
HTC Ups the Ante
Exciting Times Ahead
HTC first announced the HTC One M9, which is the updated version of its flagship HTC One M8. The phone features several software updates and minor cosmetic changes, which we will discuss later in the article. The other two products were the Grip fitness tracker, a wearable smart watch, and Vive, a gaming headset that we think you should be excited about.
HTC One M9
The HTC One M9 is not a complete overhaul of the HTC One M8, as you might think. Instead, HTC has opted to keep what’s working and change what’s not, which is not a bad strategy. The HTC One M9 looks very similar to the HTC One M8, except with an altered back that will help you grip it better and a scratch-resistant coating that should protect it from, well, scratches. Size-wise, the HTC One M9 is the same size as the M8 (5 inch screen). This time, the HTC One M9 will be available in several different tasteful colors, namely silver and gold, gunmetal grey and gold and a deep pink, which should be a welcome announcement for those of you who complained about the lack when HTC One M8 was announced.
Size-wise, the HTC One M9 is the same size as the M8 (5 inch screen). This time, the HTC One M9 will be available in several different tasteful colors, namely silver and gold, gunmetal grey and gold and a deep pink, which should be a welcome announcement for those of you who complained about the lack when HTC One M8 was announced.
Specs wise, the HTC One M9 is a significant improvement over its predecessor. It has a top-tier octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, an Adreno 430 CPU for the graphics, a gigantic 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB with a micro SD card). The HTC One M9 also has a better camera (20 MPs) and a slightly bigger battery.
The most significant improvements come in the form of software though. The HTC One M9 will feature a set of apps that will change depending on your location automatically. If you are in the office, for example, work-related apps will take a priority, and at home, the phone will automatically bring up a set of entertainment-related apps.
The HTC One M9 is by no means revolutionary, but it’s a beautiful smartphone with a powerful processor that could well top a “best smartphones of 2015” list. Expect it around April at a price of around $650 in the US.
HTC’s Grip wearable fitness tracker cum smart watch is a product not meant for everyone (which, incidentally, the company readily admits to). If you’re a serious athlete or a fitness freak, you need to take a closer look at it. Otherwise, we’re not sure how useful it’d be to you as a casual user.
HTC Grip has a shiny black finish outside and a colorful inner band, with a small curved display at the front which you can navigate with your fingers by swiping. It has 5 sensors including GPS, which will let you track your route – especially useful if you’re a cyclist or long-distance runner. You can connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth and get some basic notifications on it.
The HTC Grip is a collaborative venture between HTC and Under Armour, a well-recognized name that operates a fitness and health database with over 50 million users to date. The HTC Grip should be available for around $199 in the US.
HTC has tried to branch out this year, and the Vive is perhaps the most revolutionary product it has created to date. Vive is a Virtual Reality (VR) gadget that it has built in collaboration with Valve, the company behind the Steam PC gaming platform. We think you should be excited about this product, as this is probably the future of entertainment and gaming.
The Vive is a lightweight but pretty big gadget that will fit around your head and cover your entire field of vision. It contains two high-quality 1200×1080 displays that refresh at a very high 90 frames-per-second, which is overkill for most games. Paired with a wireless controller (also built by HTC), you will be able to stand, sit, walk and explore a virtual space, and interact with various VR objects too. Sounds like science fiction, right?
Apart from letting you play games, the Vive plans to offer a fuller entertainment experience by letting you watch VR media by partnering with companies like HBO. Vive will be available in the market at the end of 2015 though there is no word on the pricing as of now.
These launches will push the envelope further and set the ball rolling for other players. While Samsung and Microsoft have their line up ready, it will be interesting to see if Apple has an ace up their sleeve.
Further Reading: Custom Skin Review: HTC Sense 5 UI on the HTC One