Originally Published: 22 February 2013
With Mobile World Congress kicking off in Barcelona next week, it has been a busy week in the local industry for smartphone launches. Following the Australian launch of the Sony Xperia Z in Sydney on Wednesday, HTC unveiled its newest smartphone for the Australian market in Sydney last night, giving locals a first glimpse of the HTC One.
Billed as a reimaging of the traditional smartphone, the company has reworked the aesthetics of the device, with a full metal “zero-gap” aluminium body, and a new feature set focused on user interaction, entertainment, an enhanced camera experience and better sound.
The new elements include BlinkFeed — a live updating tile-based interface that brings the user’s content onto a single scrollable home screen. Reminiscent of Windows Phone 8’s tile design, BlinkFeed is designed for a new generation of smartphone users who are “snacking for information” on their devices, according to HTC’s senior director of product marketing for Asia-Pacific, Darren Sng.
“We call them Generation Feed,” said Sng at the launch. “They’re on their social networks, their reading the news and they’re sharing with their friends. BlinkFeed is redefining the way our users and future users will use smartphones. It is truly the home screen, there is no other screen.”
The updated Camera experience includes Full HD 1080p video recording on both the front and back cameras, as well a suite of photo editing tools for effects such as stop motion photos and object removal. The HTC Zoe feature also takes 3 second video-photos that give users the options of selecting the best part of film to capture in a photo, or to select individual faces and poses from different points in time.
HTC has also brought two speakers to the front of the device to create sound optimised for social listening and video sharing, known as BoomSound. Also in the entertainment vein, the brand has added an infra-red sensor to the device to allow users to choose channels from their smartphone and interact with their television, a feature known as Sense TV.
The new features combine to create a flagship device that HTC will be strongly pushing in retail, according to Ben Hodgson, HTC Australia and New Zealand country manager.
“With the innovations we’ve put into the product, obviously I think the product is very strong,” Hodgson told Current.com.au. “Our focus is to deliver the best smartphones. That’s what the legacy of the company is, that’s what we’re about and that’s our focus.
“The challenge now is to make sure we execute really well in the market. First and foremost, we need to deliver the customers into the stores asking for HTC. And we’ve got an extended marketing campaign invested in this. We’ve invested more than we ever have, globally and locally.
“We’ve also put a lot of work into it with our partners to make sure we have a really good ability not just to tell people about the device, but to show them. When they see it, they get it.”
There is also an accessory up-sell opportunity for retailers, with in-car audio accessories and dongles for pairing the device with a Smart TV.
The device will be available through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone or for outright purchase, though details on pricing and plans are yet to be announced. Harvey Norman has jumped the gun and is already offering “stock prioritised for early birds” on its website, listing a price of $746.
The HTC One, complete with live-updating BlinkFeed home screen, will be available in Silver and Black with 32GB and 64GB varieties.
Harvey Norman is already listing the HTC One on its website for a price of $746.