HTC certainly knows how to fill a room – the German Gymnasium in King's Cross is bursting at the seams with press from all over the world. Like the BlackBerry launch last month, if attendance is anything to go by, the world is very keen to see what HTC has in store for the smartphone market.
What’s interesting is that most manufacturers have chosen to shun Mobile World Congress as a platform for their big product launches, opting instead to create a separate buzz away from the noise of Barcelona. Is this indicative of the influence that MWC has on the industry? I guess we’ll find out next week.
The event is running a little late already, but given the sheer number of journalists trying to squeeze into the room, that’s hardly surprising. It pays to be in front of the doors when they open!
HTC CEO, Peter Chow takes to the stage to kick off proceedings. Chow unveils the HTC One with a short video and then by holding a physical handset up on stage.
The HTC One is shipping with a new version of HTC Sense – is that a good thing? Given, HTC Sense has always been the best Android overlay, but is it preferable to a vanilla build of Android that can be updated as soon as Google releases a new version?
HTC is partnering with AOL on the HTC One. Tim Armstrong, CEO AOL, has taken the stage to explain that he's excited about the HTC One because it allows for live updates to be easily delivered on the phone, making it the ideal device for content consumption.
HTC Sense provides a new home screen called BlinkFeed . BlinkFeed is designed to deliver content to your phone whenever you need it. You can configure BlinkFeed to download from specific outlets, or select a specific topic of interest.
The HTC One has BoomSound, which has two front facing speakers with Beats Audio technology. To go with the enhanced audio capabilities, HTC has equipped the One with a completely new audio player, which will display the lyrics to a song in real time.
The HTC One also uses twin microphones, enabling the phone to capture high quality audio to go with the HTC video that it can shoot.
Sense TV – the HTC has a built-in infrared so you can use it as the remote control for your TV. This is an odd one, since PDAs used to do this 10 years ago before IR died. It's doubly puzzling when you consider that most new TVs can be controlled over IP using a dedicated app.
HTC is going to change the way we look at cameras in phones – "it's not about how many pixels you have, it's about how big those pixels are." The HTC One uses what the company calls UltraPixel technology. The main point being that the larger pixels capture more light, and therefore reduce the amount of image noise associated with low light photography.
HTC Zoe "will bring your photos to life." Zoe captures both still images and video with the touch of the shutter button. Zoe then creates a "living gallery" of all your memories, made up of stills and video.
The HTC One will take all of your Zoe content, along with any other photos and videos and create highlight movies. Sounds very much like the BlackBerry StoryMaker seen in BB10. Looks like this is going to be a common feature in new handsets across various platforms.
HTC is talking industrial design now – that's a bold move considering that many believe that Jony Ive is the god of industrial design. "The HTC One is the most beautiful phone ever made" – bolder still. The HTC One is virtually all-metal – the antenna is built into the aluminium, so there's no need for a non-metal area for reception/transmission reasons.
Completely new CNC process used for machining the case. The HTC One case is seamless, feeling like a single billet of aluminium. The edges "taper" to less than 4mm – that's not telling us how thick it is at its widest though. The screen is Gorilla glass. It certainly looks like the best looking HTC handset since the Legend.
The HTC One will launch in over 80 countries and will be available from over 185 mobile operators and retailers. Available for purchase in March, but pre-orders start today. Consumers will be able to see and touch the HTC One today at Phones4U in London's Oxford Street. Our very own James Laird is at the store getting his paws on the goods right now, in fact.