HTC: Apple Copied Our Phone Design | Techno stream

HTC: Apple Copied Our Phone Design

23 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘It’s Apple that copies us’: HTC executive reacts after latest One A9 smartphone called iPhone 6s clone.

• We’ll have to see whether Apple agrees or not HTC executive said that the tables should be turned when it comes to design rip-off accusations, in response t…Following widespread criticism that HTC’s newest One A9 smartphone looks exactly like an iPhone, an HTC executive told Chinese news outlets that the Taiwanese phone-maker didn’t copy Apple’s iPhone 6 design, claiming that it’s actually the other way around. “We’re not copying. However, the company’s senior executive strongly defends that it isn’t HTC which has copied the design and in fact, it is Apple who borrows the idea from the Taiwanese company.

It’s Apple that copies us in terms of the antenna design on the back,” said Jack Tong, president of HTC North Asia, during a press event at the Taiwan launch of the One A9. According to Want ChinaTimes, during a recent press briefing in Taiwan, HTC’s North Asia President Jack Tong responded to claims calling the A9 an iPhone clone. “We’re not copying.

It features a multi-directional fingerprint scanner, a 5-inch full HD AMOLED display and is powered by a 64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset coupled with 3 GB RAM. HTC’s senior global online communications manager, Jeff Gordon, also tweeted a similar sentiment: that HTC phones in 2013 paved the way for the iPhone 6 in 2014.

Apple would refer to this as “inspiration.” The trick is to be smart enough and add enough new flair to a product not to get caught—something clearly HTC hasn’t figured out. On paper, the answer is yes: It has a larger screen, offers two curious-looking rear camera sensors, boasts an improved version of HTC’s Sense UI and features a chassis with even more metal. There’s no mistaking the fact that the new One (aka the M8) inherited a lot of traits from its predecessor, including BoomSound speaker grilles, a curved back and horizontal stripes. That means the phone no longer sports polycarbonate accents on the top, bottom and sides; instead, metal wraps all the way around until it reaches the display.

Croyle didn’t get into specific details on how his team overcame the problem, but the end result is obvious: a body that looks even sleeker and more premium than the M7. Not only is the new finish slippery, but the One also has fewer places to get a firm grip since it evolved from a 4.7-inch screen with blunt sides to a 5-inch screen and sides with sharp curves. I can’t find a place to rest my fingers without feeling like they’re going to slip off, so keep in mind that you’ll need to be careful with the phone if you buy it.

One other thing to consider here is that while the One’s all-metal exterior looks great and is quite durable, it’s still susceptible to small scratches, if not more so than the previous model. We praised this button on last year’s flagship because HTC managed to integrate the IR blaster into it, but the company didn’t feel it was necessary this time around.

Instead, the IR is housed underneath a piece of smooth-looking plastic that looks like it belongs on KITT. (Update: the IR is actually built into the power button again, just like on the M7.) But enough about the top of the phone; there are plenty of other sides to get to. On the original One, we often grew frustrated at how difficult it was to know if we’d actually pressed the volume buttons, so we’re happy to see that it now pokes out a little bit.

Turning to the bottom of the phone, you’ll find the micro-USB QuickCharge 2.0 port and 3.5mm headphone jack, while the left side houses a slot for the nano-SIM card. Turning the phone over to the front, you’ll see a much-improved 5MP front-facing camera near the top, as well as virtual navigation buttons and a logo below. Display snobs will note that this results in lower pixel density, but unless you’re looking at the two displays side by side, you’re probably not going to notice.

Lastly, the M8 is also rated for IPX-3 liquid protection, which means it’s protected from water spraying onto the phone at a pressure of 80-100kPa for five minutes at any angle up to 60 degrees from the vertical. HTC explained that the company was aware of this concern in the design process, but there were too many space limitations inside the phone to make it feasible to shrink the bezel size.) Under the hood, the M8 comes loaded with a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset (it’s 2.5GHz in certain regions), 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 2,600mAh battery, dual-band 802.11a/ac/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX. Data connectivity depends on which of the six variants you get: You can choose among versions for each of the four major US carriers, one for Asia and another for all of Europe/Middle East/Africa. (Both of our review units were the latter.) All six will feature the same quad-band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900), but it gets tricky from there — we’ll lay them all out in the table below, so check it out if you demand a special set of frequencies or support on a specific carrier. Finally, one of the more curious hardware additions are the low-powered, always listening “Smart Sensors.” Accelerometers are nothing new, but HTC’s can be used by apps all day long without significant drain on the the battery (as they don’t fire up the processor etc). The amount of steps it tracked seemed within the same ballpark as the standalone device, and of course there was no need to wear a tracker, or sync over Bluetooth.

It might not replace these devices entirely, however, as there are times when you might not want to lug your phone about — say, at the gym, or when going out for a run (it’s a fairly large phone, after all). Let’s get one thing out of the way before we begin this section: Yes, HTC is calling version 6.0 of its new UI its “Sixth Sense.” However, the company’s latest Android skin, which is integrated with KitKat (Android 4.4.2), does not actually see dead people — not to our knowledge, at least. As with most KitKat launchers, the M8 home screen feels more expansive because the status bar on top and virtual navigation bar on bottom are both transparent.

Most Sense apps and features comply with specific shades depending on which color theme you choose (by default, BlinkFeed is green, for instance), but you can change to other themes if you like. The app menu is in its usual place, though HTC removed the Sense clock from the top and made it easier to push apps from here to the home screen — pressing and holding an app lets you place it directly onto your home panel of choice.

HTC uses a lighter, larger and more modern-looking font on the majority of its UI, which does a great job of making use of the new One’s extra screen space. This is a smart move on HTC’s part: Now, the company can push out updates to individual Sense services anytime it wants, rather than having to bundle new features and bug fixes into a firmware update that can take weeks to roll out (even longer if you live in the US). Swipe up to go into the home screen; swipe right to access BlinkFeed; swipe left to launch the widget panel; and swipe down to activate voice dial for faster calling. In theory, the only way you can trigger Motion Launch gestures is when the phone senses movement — it can tell that you’re picking up your phone and assumes that you’re wanting to turn the phone on. In practice, however, the gestures were too sensitive; I could wake up the phone when the One was sitting on my desk, resting in my pocket and when my thumb was firmly planted motionless on the screen.

Let’s give HTC credit where it’s due, though: This new functionality is pretty clever, and it’ll likely get even smarter with future software updates. Sense 6 also features a Do Not Disturb mode, and it does exactly what every other DND mode does: It silences your phone so your sleep isn’t interrupted by the latest eBay newsletter hitting your inbox. This mode, HTC claims, makes it possible to extend the life of your battery by leaps and bounds; it’s supposed to last you 15 hours with just 5 percent battery left, and up to two weeks if you’re at full. It even comes with an incredibly basic launcher that gets you manual access to calls, texts, email (on the Sense app, that is), calendar and calculator.

In a nutshell, the idea is to take a physically large sensor and combine it with big pixels that are capable of gathering more light than standard-sized ones. Many smartphone cameras feature 1.1µm pixels, while the One proudly boasts a one-third-inch BSI sensor with 2µm pixels capable of absorbing 330 percent more photons. Furthermore, reps explained to us that OIS is also incompatible with its Duo Camera tech (which we’ll discuss soon), which uses “smart stabilization” features like anti-shake.

This has been done in quite a few smartphones already, such as the iPhone 5s, but HTC’s option is actually much brighter and produces more natural skin tones. Although the rear camera’s resolution remains the same, HTC upgraded the front-facing unit to 5MP with an f/2.0 wide-angle lens, BSI sensor, HDR capability and 1080p video capture. The company recognizes that selfies are a critically important element of the smartphone camera experience now — heck, it even added a “selfie mode” that features the front-facing camera — and this will give HTC a solid advantage over Samsung’s 2MP offering on the Galaxy S5. This version is streamlined with fewer options on top: videos, selfies, 360-degree pano shots (like Photo Sphere), dual-camera captures and Zoes are now all confined to separate modes that can be accessed on the lower-right corner. Each corner of the viewfinder has an icon (flash, settings, modes and gallery shortcut), and the only other UI element is the shutter button halfway down the right side.

This includes ISO (up to 1600 on the M8), exposure, white balance, filters, random settings and scenes; the latter option lets you choose between no fewer than 11 scenes, including HDR, Night mode, manual, macro, sweep panorama and anti-shake, among others. Manual mode reminds us of Nokia’s fantastic camera app — it brings up a whole new set of options along the bottom, and each one reveals a slider that lets you adjust white balance (you can customize temperature in Kelvins), exposure, ISO, shutter speed and focus. If there’s a limit to the number of saved settings you can have, we didn’t reach it — we added seven more modes (there are six modes per page) before we stopped. We used quotation marks around the term because the one on top isn’t technically a camera at all — it’s a depth sensor that, when used in tandem with the main camera lens, is able to calculate the distance of subjects in your image. When your child is having a cute moment, you rarely have time to figure out the best mode to use for the best picture; you have a split second to pull your camera out, point it and snap the shot before it’s too late.

HTC’s Duo Camera, however, eliminates the need for these separate modes because it takes just one image and uses the image’s depth information to determine which part of the photo to keep in focus. This feature makes it easy to “bokeh” the background of the image and blur out photo-bombers that sneak up behind your friends (friends don’t let friends get photobombed). Instantly, you could make the Eiffel Tower look like a “Take On Me” music video; the Statue of Liberty could turn into a cartoon; and you could apply motion blur to the Space Needle behind you and your significant other. The company hasn’t gone into more detail on how this will be implemented yet — we don’t know if Google plans to add this to the stock camera UI on the phone or if it’s just opening the phone up to third-party developers. (As an aside, we’re told that HTC plans to eventually release a developer kit for the Duo Camera, but it’s not saying when.) HTC hasn’t forgotten about Zoe, even if the option has completely disappeared from the viewfinder.

As a refresher, Zoe cranks out a burst of photos and a few seconds of videos, and mashes it together into a moving picture not unlike the newspaper from Harry Potter. It now functions as its own separate mode, as we mentioned earlier, which makes us wonder if too many users accidentally turned Zoe on in previous versions of Sense, an action that can potentially suck up storage space and battery life. This can be handy if you’re in Zoe mode and need to snap a quick shot right away, though we’re concerned that you might just want to record a Zoe, but accidentally hold the button for six seconds and record a regular video instead.

This actually makes a lot more sense, especially when you’re putting together a monster ballad montage of last December’s work party; if a co-worker snapped a funny moment that you didn’t see, you can now combine shots that were missing from your collection. On the plus side, it seems to be a little less noisy in low-light scenarios than the Nokia Lumia 1020; the bad news is that HTC appears to reduce noise by blurring some of the fine details. That’s not a bad thing since we still love using that phone to take pictures, but it’s disappointing that there wasn’t much of an improvement in actual image quality.

Ultimately, the One still takes great shots for viewing and sharing on your phone or other mobile device, but they aren’t the kind of photos you’ll be framing on your wall. There’s not much improvement on the 801 that we didn’t already enjoy on the 800, but still, this is the best in the industry at the moment until the Snapdragon 805 shows up later this year. Here’s some food for thought, however: Most of the aforementioned software and imaging features would’ve been much more taxing (if not impossible) if weaker processors were involved. This powerhouse of a phone also comes with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 578MHz, both of which help ease the burden on the main processor.

That’s the case with the Snapdragon 801 running the show; we had to try hard to catch any failures, and even then we couldn’t find anything sluggish enough to nitpick about here. Even under intense loads, we were unable to heat up the M8 to uncomfortable levels, whereas it was a standard way of living with the M7 regardless of what we were doing on it. Before reviewing the phone, we predicted that we’d see roughly the same life on this model as we did the M7, primarily because of the larger display and more powerful processor with a higher clock speed. The only issue we had in performance was with the GPS; the blue dot froze on too many occasions, and although it typically caught up with us after 20 to 30 seconds, we sometimes had to exit out of Maps and restart the app to force it to find our new location. (As an update, we’ve determined that this particular bug is limited to the Google Maps app; in further testing, we haven’t duplicated the bug in Google Navigation.) By the time you read this review, the new HTC One will already be available in select parts of the globe. We’ll publish a chart shortly that compares the two devices, so you can see for yourself which one has the right feature set for you (if either one fulfills your needs, that is).

The new design looks fresh and inviting; the Duo Camera’s new abilities are fun and useful (a rare combination, it seems); the performance is fantastic; battery life has improved significantly; the new version of HTC Sense is even better than the last (but please, HTC, don’t make “Sixth Sense” a thing, okay?); and the company continues to improve features like BoomSound and BlinkFeed. Yes, Samsung’s upcoming flagship is an iterative improvement as well, but for better or worse, the company will still sell millions of units while HTC’s success remains uncertain. Duo Camera is a clever touch that has some potential, but we also needed to see things that show us the company is changing the game once again, like improvements to HTC’s UltraPixel tech, hardware that’s just as easy to hold as it is to admire and other new mind-blowing features.

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