Chip-Monks  ⁄  HTC

Formerly known as High-Tech Computer Corporation, HTC is a Taiwanese company that is a major player in the mobile phones arena. Founded in 1997, by Cher Wang and Peter Chou, HTC initially built its reputation as the behind-the-scenes designer and manufacturer of many of the most popular brands of mobile phones released worldwide.

Realising the potential and being amongst the best in design and manufacturing processes, like other Taiwanese companies, HTC decided to launch under its own brand name.

Since then, HTC has regularly introduced many critically acclaimed mobile devices under its own brand name.

After initially making smartphones based mostly on Windows Mobile, HTC expanded its focus to devices based on the Android platform. In fact, HTC is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of handset manufacturers and mobile network operators dedicated to the development of the Android mobile device platform.

HTC’s portfolio currently includes smartphones and tablets powered by both the Android and Windows Phone operating systems.

HTC has been credited with many firsts in the smartphones world:

  • The HTC Dream (a.k.a. T-Mobile G1, a.k.a. Era G1), 2008, was the first phone in the world to be launched on the Android mobile device platform.
  • The first Microsoft-based smartphone – Stinger, 2002.
  • The first Microsoft-based 3G smartphone running Windows Mobile 5.0 – HTC Universal, 2005.
  • The first 4G smartphone – HTC EVO 4G (running Android), 2010.
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Google Brokers A Consortium Amongst Top Android Partners To Increase Mutual Benefit

Google Brokers A Consortium Amongst Top Android Partners To Increase Mutual Benefit

If you are a mobile manufacturing enterprise that produces Android-backed smartphones or tablets, then things just got sweeter for you!

Google and several top-drawer Android device manufacturing companies have agreed to a truce that will bring more openness into the Android applications and software market.

The agreement, namely the “Android Networked Cross License Agreement” has been melded together between a group comprising of Android giants Google, HTC, LG, Samsung, HMD, Foxconn and a variety of other companies. It pledges to share royalty-free patents amongst each other.

Licenses are going to be granted royalty-free to any company that manufactures devices with pre-installed Android applications which meet Android’s compatibility norms, with the condition that they join the group and adhere to the agreement.

The agreement is also being coined as PAX by executives at Google, which means ‘peace’ in Latin.

Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s Vice President of Business and Operations of the Android and Google Play wing said in an editorial, “It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX”.

On the PAX website, it mentions that any company that wishes to join, shall not be a party to interference, as all the other members will respect each other’s autonomy in their own affairs, as long-term freedom of action related to Google and Android shall be accorded everyone concerned.

What are the obvious benefits for signatories

The website also sheds light on certain facts such as that of the current member companies having a combined patent inventory of more than 230,000 patents. Hence, Google is quite excited and interested in welcoming other companies, large or small, to become signatories and reap the benefits of a sustainable, peaceful and friendly Android ecosystem.

Commercially, what the agreement will help the companies indirectly with, is the might to fight patent lawsuits collectively. As lawsuit rulings in favour of companies which acquired lawsuits amounted to a certain amount of income, the group might sue other companies together if the need arises. The direct benefits for companies are very high as there is no need to pay royalties to a ‘partner’ company.

Google, Samsung and HTC will really benefit from PAX. This is because, the Android ecosystem, owner by Google, will get a wider spectrum of companies of varying size in its family. Therefore, multiplying the acceptability of Android.

As a competitor of iOS, Google would really benefit. The smaller companies which feared litigation, would be exempt from it. Similarly, Samsung and HTC selling a huge number of devices integrated with Android and Google applications, looks to benefit the most. There would be hardly any risk form patent trolls given the nature of the agreement and the willingness to fight the lawsuits collectively.

However, it is not yet known what kind of patents will be shared or what threats these companies wish to defend against. That is the kind of details we would have to keep an eye out for.

HTC 2017 Salvo Is Underway

HTC launches U-Series smartphone

HTC has been in the news for quite long as there were rumours about the three U-series smartphones in its pipeline. Ahead its official launch on January 12, popular tipster and ROM developer @LlabTooFer made public, HTC’s codenames that were being used for the three devices which are HTC Alpine, HTC Ocean Note and HTC E66.

Now that two of these three smartphones have launched on January 12, we can put all the rumours to rest and see what all HTC’s offering through these new devices.

HTC Alpine a.k.a. HTC U Play

HTC U Play sports a 5.2-inch Full-HD display (1080p) with a MediaTek Helio 64-bit octa-core processor and 4 GB RAM. Memory is expandable up to a whopping 2 TB via microSD card. In terms of software, the device runs on Android Nougat with HTC Sense, offering Google Assistant as well.

For the shutterbug in you, the HTC U Play boasts of a 16 megapixel rear camera which comes loaded with BSI sensor, Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stablisation and f/2.0 aperture. Further, it supports Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps.
The U Play caters well to selfie aficionados too, as it boasts of a 16 megapixel front camera that comes bundled with UltraPixel mode, BSI sensor and f/2.0 aperture. Just like the rear camera, the secondary camera also supports Full HD 1080p video recording.

The device is sustained by a 2,500 mAh battery enabled with fast charging support (5V/2A) that can offer up to 15 hours of talk-time and up to 427 hours of standby time. Cool!

The 4G VoLTE-enabled HTC U Play will hit the shelves somewhere in mid-March and the 64 GB storage variant will be available for INR 40,000 in Blue, Black, Pink, and White colour variants.

HTC Ocean a.k.a. HTC U Ultra

The HTC U Ultra sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560×1,440 pixels) Super LCD display along with a secondary 2-inch display with 1040×160 pixels resolution in the same manner as found in LG V20.  The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

Under the hood, the U Ultra is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset paired with 4 GB of RAM.

In India, the U Ultra has been launched in its 64 GB inbuilt storage variant and sadly there will be no 128 GB variant here. Just like U Play, the storage can be expanded up to 2 TB.

Camera-wise, the HTC U Ultra comes endowed with a 12 UltraPixel rear camera with 1.55-micron pixels, a BSI sensor, laser + phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation, an f/2.8 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. For all your video chat needs, the device boasts a 16 megapixel camera with an UltraPixel mode, and a BSI sensor.

The 4G-enabled HTC U Ultra will be available from March 6 in Blue, Black, Pink, and White colour options for INR 60,000.

Things common to the U Ultra and U Play

Both phones come bundled with a one-year insurance that covers liquid as well as physical damage to the smartphones.

Both, HTC U Play and HTC U Ultra utilise USonic technology to deliver high quality audio. Additionally, the phones also pack a pair of USonic earphones, which can detect sonic pulses and adjust the audio accordingly to match each user’s unique ear architecture.

Fun Fact: Just like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, there is no headphone jack on the U Ultra.

Another USP that the devices share is the Sense Companion feature, which is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system that, basis the user’s daily routine, figures out recommendations and suggestions. The voice-assisted virtual-assistant will in some ways, be similar to Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S Voice.
But to delineate itself, HTC has gone a step ahead and has claimed that its virtual assistant has the potential to make suggestions just on the basis of user’s calendar or preferences.

HTC E66 a.k.a. HTC One X10

The HTC One X10 is the only smartphone that is still under a shroud of secrecy, since HTC hasn’t outed it yet.
Well, on the basis of previous reports and leaks, this is expected to be a phablet that sports a 5.5-inch display with a Full-HD resolution. Under the hood, the device is expected to be powered by an octa-core 1.9 GHz MediaTek MT6755V/C Helio P10 processor, supported by the Mali T860 graphics processing unit. On the storage front, this device is expected to offer 3 GB RAM coupled with 32 GB of built-in storage.

The cameras on the One X10 are expected to be 16.3 megapixel on the rear and an 8 megapixel unit on the front.

Details about the availability of One X10 aren’t out as yet but we do have a price group in which to place the device. This smartphone is rumoured to be about CNY 1,200 or INR 11,500 (approximately).
The pricing on this one places it in the mid-range smartphone bracket and it might be good enough to give a tough fight to similarly positioned offers from Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Meizu.

HTC struggled to leave its mark in the smartphone industry throughout 2016 despite delivering the HTC 10 which did decently well, but not well enough to dredge HTC out of it’s current slump.

All this clearly implies that HTC’s hopes are now hooked onto the U-series which might help it emerge victorious in this universe of Galaxies and Pixels.

HTC's Getting Serious With VR!

HTC Getting Serious With VR

Let us begin by addressing the elephant in the room.

What is Virtual Reality or VR?

People who are fond of tech stuff would not have an articulate definition of Virtual Reality, although they would be well acquainted with the concept. Well, we got your back, Jack!

Virtual Reality, is the creation of a simulated environment, by providing an experience to the user, via interacting with the 3D world, using computer aided technology.

Okay, in English: VR is the future of technology, and by extension of mankind.

But our primary concern here in this article is, is VR the future of HTC?

Is VR going to help the Taiwanese tech giant HTC rebound to the good old days, when it commanded the global smartphone market? Is HTC going to end their dry spell, and, is getting serious with VR going to serve them well?

Given the company’s streak with their products, anything and everything they bring out, needs to be a wild card from the deck. Else, oh captain, my Captain, you are rowing the boat the wrong direction!

HTC, entered the virtual reality market in April 2016, with their product HTC Vive, a virtual reality headset, in collaboration with Valve Corporation.
The product garnered a lot of attention, which helped them generate quite some revenue.

HTC Vive was a subtle note put out by HTC, which implied “we’ve not given up..

Since then, the company has set a new benchmark in the VR Industry. In the months that followed, HTC invested a lot of time venturing and innovating in this nascent field of VR.
The release of new and improved products, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is a potential validation.

The first and foremost product HTC unveiled and which interested us the most, was the Vive Tracker. The device when attached to any real world object turns into a VR toy!
Vive Tracker is a small peripheral, just about the size of the head of a Vive controller but having all the same tracking points as a controller.

The Tracker puts almost every gamer’s fantasies into life. The user could literally be using a baseball bat or a lawn mower to actually ward off the Zombies, by integrating the tracker with it’s peripherals. It is possible you missed your letter from Hogwarts, but you now have your own set of magic spells, bwoy!

However, one dangerous element that hovers around this hardware is the inevitable possibility of your granny or some other unsuspecting person taking a blow if you swing the ‘baseball bat’ while in full flow of the game! It is time to recall the wise words, “With more power comes, greater responsibilities”.

Vive Tracker weighs around 85 grams and is claimed to last for 5-6 hours on a charge.

The second interesting VR gadget HTC unveiled was a new head strap with integrated audio for a better fit. The Vive Deluxe Audio strap goes over the head and has a headset incorporated in it to provide a better and far more comfortable experience.
The design however, is probably inspired from Sony’s Playstation VR Headset.

Whatever be the case, compared to the predecessor, these Deluxe Audio straps are found to be more rigid and the audio band is expected to increase the sound quality.

Prices have not been announced for either of the new releases and both are expected to come out only in the second quarter of the year. Bummer!

Another bonanza by HTC for its VR audience, is the something on the lines of Netflix.

HTC is ready to release a subscription service for HTC Vive VR Headset. This service is to provide its subscribers content for their own devices without having to pay individually for each bit of content.
HTC is expected to release a month subscription, and also increase the content in the Viveport App Store.

Developers in particular, are expected to substantially gain from this. With proper plans put in place, if insufficient developers turn up, it could lead to disproportionately less content available, making the monthly subscription seem redundant to its user.

Looks like HTC is not leaving any stones unturned to get this working; because when and if it is a success, this could be a game-changer in the VR market.

A wireless upgradation to the VR Vive Headset might also be in cards for HTC. Given the ridiculous amount of advancements in technology, special attention has to be given to make the experience a luxurious one and HTC is on it. The most annoying part of a VR Headset are the wires, for it creates a mayhem and mess all together for the user. Stating the obvious, it binds the user’s movement to a certain area. Hence, the rumour that HTC is working on bringing a wireless tangle-free experience for its audience has many of us super-excited!

Finger crossed!

Are you are still waiting for a closure on whether HTC is going to gain from upping its game in the VR industry, seriously!

The aforementioned promises made by the company could be a real boon for them, provided financial aspect is also taken into consideration while launching them.

We hope HTC does not forget that any loopholes in the plan could lead them to the same fate they had with smartphones and smartwatches!

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

Nougat Updates Are Rolling Out

While the roll-out of Android Nougat 7.0 is still underway, Google has already started rolling out the beta version of Nougat 7.1.1 for certain devices.

The Nougat 7.1.1 version was put out in the developer preview in November, and was subsequently released for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Nexus 6P, Google Nexus 5X, Google Nexus 9, Google Pixel tablet, the Nexus player and other General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices.

With the Nougat 7.1.1 update, Google is interestingly bringing some features that were initially seen only on the Pixel devices to the Nexus devices.

  • One of these is the app shortcut feature which now comes directly to your home screen and functions quite like the functionality of the iPhone without the pressure sensitive display.
  • The update also includes support for Google’s “Image Keyboard”, which basically lets you find and send pictures and GIFs without leaving your messaging app of choice.
  • An additional set of emojis to promote gender equality also come with the package.

While Google has moved on, most other non-Google brands are still yet to roll out the Nougat 7.0 version entirely.

  • Sony just started their roll out for their top range. This would include Multi-window support, longer battery life and a new messaging app for users.
  • HTC has started rolling out the version to unlocked versions of HTC One M9, HTC 10 in the US. They haven’t yet given a timeline for their other devices or regions.
  • Samsung has rolled out the update for their Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge phones too and is soon bringing the update to its other devices.

As budget smartphone brands, most of them Chinese, have been climbing up the charts for their products’ specs and capabilities, they all use heavily personalized versions of Android, to distinguish their products from the rivals in the market.
What this basically means for the users of these devices is that brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Gionee, Oppo, Vivo, Coolpad and LeEco, are almost always among the very last to roll out updates to their respective devices.

This time around, however, with Nougat 7.0, things seem to be a little different.

  • Huawei and Lenovo have already rolled out the update for some of their devices, Xiaomi reportedly is next in the line to do the same, and more is to follow in the next weeks around New Years.
  • Lenovo-backed Moto’s latest Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, as well as some of the Moto Z devices, have the update now as well.

And it is good news, as Android Nougat brings several improvements over the older versions of Android for the users.

  • It boasts redesigned notifications that crams more information into the Notification area without wasting screen real-estate, along with an overall clean design that makes it quicker and easier to read alerts.
  • It also promises a better battery life, in addition to a system UI tuner, quick replies, dozens of new emoji, to name some of the new features.

All this is very impressive. Android has historically be infamous for the glacial reach across brands. With the 7.0 update in the market for over a month now, and the 7.1.1 version already starting out, it stands to reason that updates should be rolling out even faster, as more and more companies seem ready to bring it to their devices.

For more information on if the update is yet available on your device or not, check for the update on your device, or stay tuned for more information.

Want A Waterproof HTC Phone? The HTC 10 Evo Is The One For You

Want A Waterproof HTC Phone The HTC 10 Evo Is The One For You

HTC had released the HTC Bolt exclusively on Sprint in the United States.

Now, they’ve announced the HTC 10 Evo, which is the same phone as the Bolt, but one that will be available for the U.K. and other regions.

This HTC Bolt has been the talk of the town for quite a while, for it’s specifications and setup.

The HTC 10 Evo is wrapped in a full metal unibody which is water-, splash- and dust-resistant, all credits to the IP57 ratings. However, this is a notch below the protection offered by Samsung on its Galaxy S7 and S7 edge with the IP 68 ratings or the IP 67 rating offered on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

The 5.5 inch, 2560×1440 pixel screen is protected by Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass 5, which as per HTC is meant to provide protection to the device against various phone drops and smashing.

In fact, the Evo looks a lot like the HTC 10. The difference being that the newer device comes with a flat back instead of a curved one, simply because the larger framework was necessary to house the bigger, 5.5 inch Quad HD display, which in turn, provided HTC more room to pack in all the necessaries.

For the shutterbugs, the rear camera is a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and phase detection autofocus. And then there’s also a Manual mode which allows for complete control over your shots and provides you with an option to save the resultant file in a RAW format.

To serve all your selfie needs, there is an 8 megapixel front camera with an auto HDR mode. The physical home button on the HTC Evo serves as a fingerprint sensor which is claimed to unlock the device in a mere 0.2 seconds .The device houses a fast-charging 3,200 mAh battery to sustain all the functionality on the HTC 10 Evo.

HTC Evo runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and thus is capable of performing functions like split-screen view, free unlimited photo storage with Google Photos app, and inbuilt Google Duo video calling app.

The only decision made by HTC that looks a little surprising is the use of the dated Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 under the hood. While this is the version 2.0 or the Snapdragon 810 that was notoriously famous for heating issues with many smartphones, Qualcomm has fixed that issue in version 2.0 chipsets. Other than that, the device packs 3 GB of RAM which can be expanded up to 2 TB via microSD card.

Audio on HTC smartphones has always been a USP. This time, it seems HTC has also taken the hot controversial route of dropping the 3.5 mm audio jack and utilising the USB Type-C port instead to plug in the supplied earphones. In case of HTC Evo, the phone comes with a pair of BoomSound Adaptive Audio earphones that are capable of adjusting the sound being played according to various factors around you such as the structure of your ear or the environment that you currently inhabit. For instance, if you are travelling on metro and surrounded by a lot of noise of fellow passengers then these smart earphones will detect it and play back 24-bit hi-res audio files. Cool right?

HTC has always made audio a selling point of its phones, but like Apple, has taken the controversial decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone socket. This means utilizing the USB Type-C port to plug in a pair of supplied headphones, buying a new pair with the right connection, or choosing to go wireless with a set of Bluetooth headphones.

Just like the HTC Bolt, the HTC 10 Evo will be available in three color variants – Gunmetal, Silver, and Gold. The device is now available to pre-order in Taiwan from the HTC’s e-Store.

Fun Fact: This is the first time that HTC is selling the device online only. This in itself is quite a daunting task for a company like HTC which has benefitted from its relationship with carrier partners in the past.

The HTC 10 Evo has been priced at TWD 17,990 (approximately INR 38,500) for the 32 GB variant while the 64 GB variant has been priced slightly higher at TWD 19,900 (approximately INR 43,000).

The company website confirms that the HTC 10 Evo will start shipping in Taiwan from November 28. However, for all those in India who are eagerly waiting for the arrival of this smartphone there is no word regarding when and what price the smartphone will be available in India.

We’ll let you know as we hear more about this device.

Samsung And HTC Get The Android 7.0 Nougat Update

Samsung And HTC Get The Android 7 0 Nougat Update

Finally, it’s showtime for Android 7.0 Nougat!!

Officially announcements have been made for Nexus devices – Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9, Pixel C and Nexus Player have all been nominated to receive the update.

Additionally, Android One devices will also be receiving the update.

Android 7.0 Nougat packs new features like customizable home screen widgets, split screen multitasking, expanded emojis and smarter battery usage via the Doze feature.

Data conscious users have also been kept in mind and the update packs in a Data Saver feature that will block background apps from accessing cellular data, helping you reduce on the excess usage of your data plan.

Across the pond, T-Mobile recently revealed a list of smartphones eligible for receiving Android 7.0 Nougat update, a little earlier than expected. We’re listing T-Mobile’s plans here, as they are indicative of how the roll-out will happen to devices from these brands, and the same mantra usually applies across the globe.

The T-Mobile list of devices as of now is small and over time will expand to include more devices. The current list contains eight devices: Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy Note7, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, HTC 10, and HTC One M9.
There is a possibility that more devices will be added soon in the second round. We say so because, initially HTC One A9 was to be there in the list and its presence was confirmed by HTC however we find it has disappeared from the current list.

In fact, as per other reports, HTC has already begun working on releasing the new update to some of its devices and the company plans to initially roll out the Android 7.0 Nougat on the HTC 10 in the fourth quarter of 2016, before seeding it to the One M9 (unlocked) and One A9 (unlocked).

Interestingly enough, it is not Google’s upcoming Nexus device but LG’s V20, which will be the first new smartphone to be shipped with Android 7.0 Nougat!

The LG V20, a new introduction, powered by a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 processor, comes with a 5.7-inch main IPS Quantum Display and a secondary display. It boasts a dual rear camera with a 135-degree 8-megapixel lens complimented by a 16-megapixel 75-degree lens. The front has a 5-megapixel 120-degree lens for your selfies and video communications. You can read more about the LG V20 in our intro article here.

Despite the announcement, there are no exact dates that have been mentioned for the release of this update. However, it is speculated that devices from manufacturers other than Samsung and HTC will receive the update a little later while some will get it next year.

Could These Google Nexus 5P ‘Sailfish’ Specs Be True?

Could These Google Nexus 5P Sailfish Specs Be True

Starting from scratch, like last year, two Nexus smartphones are expected to be introduced this year-  one aimed at regular users while the other sibling would be a comparatively high-end device.

So far leaks have proposed that the devices have been codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, or M1 and S1.

If the freshly leaked images and reports from GFXBench (whose speciality is that it is expansive in its hardware readout) are to be believed, Nexus 5P (a.k.a. Sailfish) that would release soon would sport a 5- inch touchscreen with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. The leaks also point to the primary camera being 12 megapixels with 4K recording capability while the secondary camera is an 8 megapixel unit capable of 2K recording.

Sailfish an upgrade to the Nexus 5X, will be backed by a Snapdragon 820 SoC clocked at 2.1 GHz coupled with an Adreno 530 graphics processing unit to power the good stuff. The tested model had 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The phone comes with usual connectivity options like GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi sensors and is a single SIM device.
It isn’t yet clear as to whether the phone has a provision for microSD card.

So far, everything is in keeping with a flagship device, including an Android version the GFXBench tags as an “INVALID Android Google Edition”, which is probably Android Nougat. If the software is taken into consideration, then the tested device was running on Android N, Manufacture Release 1.

Rumor has it that Nexus Sailfish will support swipe gestures through it’s fingerprint sensor, in order to view notifications and access similar functions, a USB Type-C port and bottom firing speakers.

A larger 5.5-inch Nexus device by HTC called the Marlin is also expected to roll out as it had been spotted in a Geekbench listing which managed to reveal almost all specs of the device.  It will have a 2K screen resolution, be driven by a 3,450 mAh battery and powered by a quad-core 1.6 GHz processor (said to be SD820 SoC) coupled with 4 GB of RAM.
The phone is said to feature a USB Type-C port as well as a fingerprint scanner on the back. Marlin just like Sailfish will sport a 12 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera with 32 GB and 128 GB storage options and a 3,450 mAh battery.

Pure speculation: The devices, Marlin and Sailfish ought to come with Android N out-of-the-box and would probably support functions like ambient display functions and more.

The Nexus 5P too, is reportedly being built by HTC. But all the rumors should be taken with a grain of salt as nothing has been officially announced by the company.

So far with all these rumors and leaks, it’s exciting to see how the Nexus 5P, the Sailfish device is shaping up. Also, since both Sailfish and Marlin feature Android N, it will be worth a try.

Would You Believe Us If We Said A 16 Megapixel Front Camera Was Coming?

Would You Believe Us If We Said A 16 Megapixel Front Camera Was Coming

Sony recently released a teaser on its social media pages stoking their fans with the news that their next flagship (we believe they’re referring to the Sony Xperia XA Ultra), which will be a ‘perfect selfie companion’, is all set to release in India, soon.

Naughtily, they’ve held back on announcing pricing and availability details, which will be officially announced on 25th July.

To refresh your memory, the Sony Xperia XA Ultra was announced on the company’s global website in May 2016, and the teaser back then had mentioned the camera on XA Ultra as the star of the smartphone. The recent tweet seems to tie back to the selfie-camera’s capability to the XA Ultra’s photographic prowess.

From a genealogy standpoint, it is evident by the name that the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is the Xperia XA’s upgraded model.

From what we gather, the Sony Xperia XA Ultra is dual-SIM phablet that will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’ll have a 6-inch Full-HD display that’s going to be powered by the new Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2.

The power plant on the XA Ultra is expected to be a 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 octa-core processor paired with 3 GB of RAM. It is expected to offer 16 GB of inbuilt storage which can be expanded via up to 200 GB microSD card.

The phablet has a great 21.5 megapixel camera around the back, with Exmor RS sensor, hybrid autofocus, HDR photo mode, auto-scene recognition, and LED flash.

The selfie camera is a hitherto unheardof 16 megapixel camera with a Sony Exmor R sensor, front-facing flash, OIS, auto-focus, HDR photo mode, and wide angle lens (up to 88 degrees).

The Xperia XA Ultra is also going to be one of the first few smartphones/phablets to feature to optical image stabilisation in the front camera! The HTC 10 of course, was the pioneer of that, thought it carried an ‘only’ 5 megapixel front camera!

All this is expected to be driven by a 2700 mAh battery that can go for 2 days without needing a recharge. We’ll take with a pinch of salt, thank you!

Impressively, the whole package is going to come with a quick charger that claims to deliver 5.5 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes of charging!

This 6-inch phablet will be available in three color options – White, Graphite Black, and Lime Gold colour options.

One of the foremost tech sites in India has, on the basis of industry insider news speculated that the Xperia X Ultra might fall in the range of INR 28,000 and INR 30,000.

Let’s see how the chips fall on this one.

The Tough Just Got Tougher: Introducing Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5!

The Tough Just Got Tougher Introducing Corning s Gorilla Glass 5

This one goes out to all my clumsy comrades who keep dropping their smartphones from new heights and of course, to all you other more sapient creatures who’d like to know just how sturdy the next generation of touchscreen iPhones is going to be.

Corning is coming up with the King Kong of tough glass material, the “Gorilla Glass 5”.

Established in 1851, Corning Inc. is a veteran in the glass and ceramics manufacturing industry with the experience of over a century and a half under its belt, and the credit for developing the ion exchange and fusion process to make toughened glass – a kind of shatterproof glass with a high resistance to physical and thermal pressure. It is used everywhere from automobiles to buildings to cookware to bulletproof windows and even space shuttles!

Corning Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 4.5 billion devices worldwide, including more than 1,800 product models across 40 major brands! Some companies that use Corning Glass in their products are: Acer, Asus, HP, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, Micromax and Huawei.

A standard feature of any smartphone worth its salt, Corning’s Gorilla Glass is a similarly toughened glass made especially for electronic devices and displays. Interestingly, it was used for the very first time in the first generation of iPhones that was launched in 2007 – months before Corning made it available on the market. While thin and lightweight, it is highly resistant to the battery of scratches that befall a smartphone on a daily basis.

Vice President and General Manager at Corning Gorilla Glass, John Bayne, states on Corning’s website that the new product will secure Corning’s position over those of its competitors.

According to a recent global study, over 85% of smartphone owners have dropped their phones at least once per year and 55% have dropped their phones three times or more. Additionally, more than 60% of smartphone owners reported dropping their devices between shoulder and waist height.

In addition to the ability to withstand unfortunate falls, the tougher glass promises an unmatched clarity and sensitivity while being thin enough for your smartphone to look as slim and slick as ever.

Mobile devices are the primary tools consumers use to capture, view, create, send and consume digital content, and the cover glass is the interface for touching, typing and swiping that content. Consumers count on their cover glass to deliver damage resistance, optical clarity, touch sensitivity, and protection from drops.

Gorilla Glass 5 is a marked improvement over its previous iterations. Where Gorilla Glass 4 could only survive falls of up to 3.2 feet, the new one can survive those of up to 5.2 feet. With more than half of all smartphone users dropping their cell phones at least thrice each year, and with most of those falls occurring from shoulder or waist height, the new glass is a much-needed advancement in prolonging the lifespan of our precious devices.

There has also been some speculation, ever since the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2014, over whether Apple might choose Sapphire glass, a harder material made of Sapphire crystal, over Corning’s Gorilla Glass. However, Apple has consistently refused to use it on its displays and with good reason.

Sapphire is costlier and bulkier than glass. It is also less transparent, which means that more light must pass through the display for it to be bright enough, putting a strain on battery life while making the iPhone bulkier and costlier. Sapphire is, however, practically immune to scratches and which is why Apple uses it on the camera and home button/fingerprint scanner of the iPhone 6.

In all probability, the upcoming series of iPhones will feature Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. Not only would this be in line with Apple’s plan to make a stronger build of the iPhone after the “Bendgate” fiasco, but it would also make sense given the fact that each successive generation of the iconic phone has used Corning’s high strength glass.

Even though Corning and Apple work in a rather clandestine fashion, and there has been no official statement on the matter, it would be rather safe to make that prediction.

HTC Marlin Aka HTC Nexus To Sport Snapdragon 821 CPU

HTC Marlin aka HTC Nexus to sport Snapdragon 821 CPU

Two Nexus smartphones are expected to be released this year – one for average users and the other, a comparatively high-end device – just like last year.

So far, leaks have premised that the devices are codenamed Marlin and Sailfish, or M1 and S1.

Let’s tell you about ‘Marlin’ since that’s the only one that leaks have so far provided any specifics for.

First, it’s said to be manufactured by HTC. Rumoured to carry the Snapdragon 821 CPU-chipset, as per reports from Asia. This would raise the ‘HTC Nexus’ a nick above all the phones from this year, as they’re mostly running the Snapdragon 820 – including the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, HTC 10, LG G5 and OnePlus 3.

We know very little about the Snapdragon 821 and it was expected that Qualcomm’s next mobile processor would be the Snapdragon 823, but with 821 there seems to be a minor, short-term bump in terms of power.

So far the only other mention of the Snapdragon 821 has been with the ZenFone 3 Deluxe from Asus and seemingly two of its four cores run at 2.3 GHz (hiked up from 2.1 GHz in the Snapdragon 820). It is possible that the new Nexuses will have 4 GB of RAM.

Android Police has come up with its own set of specifications that they think might feature on the HTC Marlin. If the rumours are to be believed then the phone might sport a 5-inch, 1080p display powered by Quad-core 2.0 GHz 64-bit processor, 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. To sustain it all is a 2,770 mAh battery and at the front of camera – a 12 megapixel rear camera and a 8 megapixel front camera. The fingerprint scanner and top mounted headphone jack with USB-C port, too might find their way into the HTC Marlin.

However, it’s important to remember that nothing has been received from any reliable sources or from the manufacturer; hence all these speculated specifications might change at any point of time.

Some interesting decisions made by HTC can be gauged out of these expected specs, such as the move to keep the headphone jack as opposed to Apple and other companies who are allegedly getting rid of the headphone jack and going wireless.

But with a 5-inch display Nexus seems to be fitting in the trend of less is more, as is the case with Apple going back to 4-inch screen on the iPhone SE from the huge screens on the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus.

Another set of reports from India Today suggest that the HTC 10 (launched Jan 2016) will be the basis on which the Nexus phone will be built but of course with an upgraded processor and some more changes. The upgraded processor as mentioned above is Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and might also carry a “tweaked” fingerprint sensor.

Being the newest, most unfamiliar processor, the Snapdragon 821 is expected to have a slightly higher top speed providing better heat efficiency and power management at the same time.

Some other, more divergent reports question all this, suggesting that Huawei could be involved as well, just the way it was last year.

To recall, HTC last manufactured the Nexus 9 for Google which didn’t go well with the users, whereas, the original Nexus One was better received.

Perhaps, Marlin is that device which will act as that launching pad that HTC needs.

Also, Interestingly, Google is expected to reveal the 2016 Nexus smartphones later in the year, around September, for an October release. The Android N operating system will also launch on these devices which coupled with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU will make the devices worth a try.

So, despite this confusing state of affairs, it still is an exciting prospect!

HTC May Not Be Hanging Up Their Boots With Nexus Just Yet

HTC May not be hanging their Boots with Nexus just Yet

After a false start, it’s pretty much been held with certainty in the last couple of months that HTC will be making this year’s Nexus devices.

Google the Android giant, makes two Nexus smartphones each year – one, a ‘P’ version which is the high-end version, and one that’s the ‘X’ version, which is usually the more affordable one.

It was towards the end of April that the rumours started buzzing of HTC having two new Nexus devices this year, and over time it had become almost certain.

But maybe HTC should wait for a little before hanging their boots with Nexus just yet.

In a statement issued earlier this week, almost unintentionally, by Charlene Munilall, General Manager for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group in South Africa, Huawei seems to also be working on a Nexus device for the year.
The statement was issued in an interview with Gear Burn, at the launch of a new trio of smartphones by Huawei. Neither Huawei nor Google has backed the statement yet.

The statement, of course, has the tech world tripping.

Putting aside the credibility of the statement for the moment, let us see what it would mean if it were true. Huawei last year did make the Nexus 6P for Google, and the devices have been undoubtedly the best received Nexus device as yet.

The critical reviews, the design, the sales, all speak for it. A few people might call the phone a little too big for their liking, but overall the pros outweigh the cons. It’s smooth, it’s edgy, and people want it. If the statement by Munilall is true then Huawei could be behind another Nexus device this year.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of Google; what’s in it for them, and what’s not. If Google goes with HTC, they’d be going back to the company that made their first ever smartphone, the Nexus One. Back in 2010, the phone was the ultimate Android handset, on paper. In reality, there were a lot of kinks that Google had to work out. And over the years, Google certainly has!

As of today, going with HTC gives Google an upper hand.

The Taiwanese company has been struggling in the last year, and Google recently has been indicating that it wants more control over the Nexus devices. Going with HTC might give it that. It might get to have more influence over the design, over the features, and the overall Nexus experience, if it were to go with HTC.

On the other hand, with Huawei, Google might get to use the expertise that it displayed with the Nexus 6P device. Google has certainly been very satisfied with the Chinese company and their collaboration last year. It would be a safe bet for Google to go with Huawei since a certain quality and standard has already been established.

On the other hand, Google might be wanting to explore more option with the motive of expanding beyond these certain quality standards; it might give Google chance to try something new.

While none of this has been officially confirmed by any of the companies involved, the speculations are obviously piling on. One thing can be speculated with certainty, though, that Google would be bringing out two new Nexus devices this year.

Now, whether it goes with HTC or Huawei, or with both, is yet to be seen.

My money is on Google going with both; the security of Huawei as a brand, and the ability to have greater influence over the product with HTC.

Google's Cooking Something Up On The Nexus Front

HTC is Still with Nexus

A lot of rumor has been building up around the Nexus smartphones for this year.

Who is the manufacturer that Google is going to entrust with for make its next Nexus device(s)? Is it going to be Huawei who delivered the well acclaimed Nexus 6P? Is it HTC?

These questions have been bugging us all for quite a while. But looks like Charlene Munilall, the General Manager for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group just gave out the answers.

Munilall, at the launch event of Huawei P9 trio in South Africa confirmed the news of Huawei making the Nexus smartphone this year. Munilall stated, “The Nexus device is a very niche product loved by techies around the world. But the buyers of the instrument are minuscule in number. We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way“.
In this manner, she has put a full stop to all the rumours and speculations about the Nexus smartphone.

This is a little surprising comment because Google hadn’t as yet announced anything about the next Nexus hardware.

However, a few days ago, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview that Google plans to continue releasing Nexus devices. While Google wouldn’t manufacture the hardware on its own, but it plans to be more engaged with Nexus devices.

Pichai also made it clear that the future Nexus devices may not run on stock Android, instead, Google intends to focus its attention on bringing in more software tweaks to Nexus devices. This in turn assures us of the fact that Google definitely will release Nexus devices this year.

The new Nexus by would be the second Google device manufactured by Huawei, followed by the grand success of the Nexus 6P launched last year.
The Nexus 6P was highly appreciated for its design and form factor and can be safely crowned as the best Android device as of now. No doubt, Google chose Huawei to shoulder the next Nexus device basis that achievement.

Now for a surprise.

If you thought that it’s just Huawei who is exclusively making the next Nexus baby, then you have got it all wrong my friend!

Google actually has plans to add around three Nexus devices this year, with the other two being manufactured by HTC!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Google’s earlier announcements- Google has already confirmed that there would be two kinds of Nexus smartphones: one being a ‘Nexus X’ device to embody the core Nexus experience and another being a ‘Nexus P’ device to provide users with premium experience.

This is the point where a significant question arises – Does Google desire HTC and Huawei to produce a base model and a premium model each?

Well, considering the past scenario whereby Motorola manufactured the Nexus 6 while Huawei manufactured the Nexus 6P, it is highly possible that the answer to the above question is positive.

If reports are to be believed then as per Huawei director Richard Yu’s comments, the next Nexus device that is to be manufactured by Huawei might pack the Daydream capabilities. For those who have long inhabited their dream world and haven’t been able to keep themselves abreast, Daydream is Google’s recently announced Android VR platform.

However, it’s important to remember at this stage that all these are speculations and nothing has been set in stone. What is for sure though, is that it would be really interesting to see how different or similar the Nexus devices manufactured by both Huawei and HTC turn out this year.

HTC Stops The Production Of Nexus 9 Tablets

HTC stop the production of Nexus 9 tablets

It’s time to bid farewell to the HTC Nexus 9 tablet which was released way back in October 2014.

HTC confirmed (to CNET) its decision to stop manufacturing Google’s flagship tablet. This was actually expected since the device was pulled off from Google Play store last month, though some models of the Nexus 9 are still available for sale on HTC’s official website and through third party retailers like Amazon. But that’s only going to be till stocks last.

The 8.9-inch Nexus 9 was never able to follow in the success of its early predecessor, Asus’s Nexus 7 tablet. While Nexus 7 was famous for its low price of USD 199, Nexus 9 due to its high pricing of USD 399, its poor build quality and quality control issues got universally panned in the review and was eventually never able to garner as much attention as the Nexus 7.

The Nexus 9 was presented in 2014 as a full featured tablet intended to compete against Apple’s iPad. However, the device with its setbacks mentioned above wasn’t received warmly by the customers and failed miserably.

Taiwanese device maker HTC is obviously not citing (the lack of) demand factor as the reason for its decision of stopping the manufacturing of HTC Nexus 9, instead the company simply states that the device has completed its manufacturing run and hence is being pulled off.

This news follows in the footsteps of Google confirming to discontinue its Nexus Player set-top box.

With the removal of HTC Nexus 9 tablet, the only Nexus-grade tablet remaining in the market is the one that Google itself is selling directly – the Pixel C which has a 10.2 inch display and is being sold for USD 499.
It is believed to be a hybrid tablet to contend the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Pixel C also has some flaws but those can be expected to be fixed with the arrival of Android N.

Moving ahead:

Since HTC said that Nexus 9 had run out of its production cycle and didn’t hold the demand factor responsible for the cessation of the device, therefore it is possible that the company plans to unveil a new Nexus tablet. However, Google launched two Nexus smartphones – Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X in 2015, which seems to hint at the fact that the company is more inclined to make handsets.

There was not even a slightest hint of the coming of a new Nexus tablet in the Google I/O conference. Does that mean that the third party tablet line is being dumped altogether? It is thus possible that another answer is that Google is channelizing all its efforts in the VR venture.

This decision of cessation of Nexus 9 might also correspond to the general decline in the demand for tablets in the last few quarters. As per an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the global market has reduced in the final quarter of 2015.
Around 65.9 million tablet units were shipped during the time, this figure marks a decline of around 13.7% compared to that of 2014.

The IDC also points out that a shift has been observed in case of tablets from stand-alone tablets to detachable (hybrid) tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Google Pixel C and more.

Jean Philippe Bouchard, the IDC’s research director for Tablets explains the reason for this trend, “One of the biggest reasons why detachables are growing so fast is because end users are seeing those devices as PC replacements…We believe Apple sold just over 2 million iPad Pros while Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices, a majority of which were Surface Pro and not the more affordable Surface 3.

The IDC report also indicates that price is not always an aspect that is considered by many buyers while purchasing a detachable tablet.

So, should you run out and buy the Nexus 9 tablet before the stocks run out? No! 

Chip-Monks would rather advise you to buy something nicer. If you’re in the market for a tablet, tell us what you intend to do with it (the tablet), and we’ll tell you which one to get. It’s that easy!!

HTC 10 Announced To The World

HTC 10 Announced To The World

The past year has been very eventful for the smartphone market. There have been some massive improvements in technology and with the launch of the HTC 10, we should be seeing additions to them.

HTC, the Taiwanese phone maker recently announced their new flagship phone for the year with a naming change, to boot. This time the device is just HTC 10 without any alphabet to accompany it.

Let us formally introduce you to the HTC 10:

Design:
HTC 10 seems to be a concoction of One M9 (HTC M series) and One A9 (A series).

  • It comes with a full glass front in an all-metal unibody design with a dual textured finish, accentuated with a chamfered contour.
  • The robustness of the device has been achieved with a 168 hours of tests, with the temperature tests exposing the HTC 10 to temperatures from -20°C to a sizzling 60°C, in addition to the numerous drop tests, scratch tests and even corrosion tests.
  • The phone has a full glass 5.2-inch Super LCD 5 display, with Quad HD resolution, with curved-edge Gorilla Glass. HTC claims the 10’s display is 30% more colorful and 50% more responsive to touch than its earlier counterpart M9, thanks to all the software and hardware tweaking done by HTC!
  • Available in Carbon Gray, Topaz Gold, Glacier Silver

Hardware:
Seems to be a leaner, meaner version of HTC One M9

  • The HTC 10 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz with 4 GB RAM, which might not seem groundbreaking since HTC has been going with powerful processors for its smartphones since the very beginning.
  • Comes with 32 GB and 64 GB memory options, expandable to 200 GB via microSD card.
  • The HTC 10 has a rear 12 megapixel UltraPixel 2 camera sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, second-generation laser autofocus with optical image stabilization (OIS) and a dual-LED flash. It can record 4K video with 24-bit high-resolution audio.
  • It has a 5 megapixel front-facing “UltraSelfie” camera, an f/1.8 aperture with wide-angle lens. The HTC 10 also has optical image stabilization (OIS) for their front camera, supported by a screen flash.
  • Come with Hi-Res audio processing, 24-bit DAC and a high performance headset amplifier.
  • The BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers now have a separate tweeter and woofer design, where one is a standard speaker while the other is a subwoofer.
  • The HTC 10 is fuelled by a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery, will have 27 hours of talk-time and 456 hours of standby on 3G.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot, GPS (A-GPS, GLONASS/ BDS), NFC, Bluetooth (v4.2, A2DP, apt-X) and v3.1 USB.

Software:
The HTC 10 packs in a punch in the software aspect, with each aspect of the hardware being optimized and maximized for performance.

  • Runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0 with HTC Sense.
  • New Personal Audio Profile system will automatically tune the sounds to each of the ear. HTC with JBL has come with new earphones for this device with special noise cancelling feature.
  • Comes with native AirPlay support.
  • HTC has added new Boost+ app, which will make the phone use less power and mange the apps more efficiently.
  • With the new Freestyle Layout mode, you can group and regroup the apps and widgets according to your free will.
  • The battery supports Quick Charge 3.0., allowing you to charge your device to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.

The fly in the ointment is that the phone will come in two variants in terms of processors – Snapdragon 820 and 810 respectively, with the availability of each varying according to the markets.
While the US will only have two colour variants, the Glacier Silver and Carbon Grey, rest of the world markets will also have the choice of a Gold variant in addition to the two colours and Japan will enjoy an exclusive Red color option.

The online unlocked version should be available for USD 699.

Should the iPhone be looking over it’s shoulder yet?

AirPlay Comes To HTC Flagships

AirPlay Comes To HTC Flagships

What happens when you have much? You tend to give to others.

In the case of the well-endowed HTC 10, it is the passing down native AirPlay support to its siblings, the erstwhile HTC flagship models.

The updated HTC Connect app is set to bring one of the HTC 10’s most interesting features to the HTC One M7, One M8 and One M9. This will allow wireless streaming from all of the prominent One series phones to a number of other devices – all through Apple’s AirPlay protocol.

For those of you who have largely been on the Android boat for many years now, it bears some explanation. Through AirPlay, your older HTC flagship smartphone or phablet will be able to push audio and video to other devices that support the protocol. So for example, if you have an Apple TV in your home, you’ll be able to push (screencast) video or apps to your TV screen — much like you can with Chromecast. And if you have AirPlay-enabled speakers, you can wirelessly push your favourite music onto them!

Sure, there are several third-party apps in the Play Store that perform the same function, however the presence of the AirPlay icon on HTC devices is significant as it hints at a potentially noteworthy partnership between two popular tech manufacturers. HTC has acknowledged that this is a part of the company’s long-term policy that entails embracing the maximum options for users, even if it has not developed by them (as reported by Slash Gear).

Emphasising that HTC is not ‘platform agnostic’, Darren Sng, Vice President (Product Marketing) at the Taiwanese tech firm, said they are willing to go beyond just the streaming standards. For instance, if Apple and Samsung made Apple Pay and Samsung Pay available to third-party brand manufacturers respectively, HTC would certainly lap up the opportunity, the report quoted Sng as saying.

In spite of the competition, HTC has decided to use Apple’s proprietary AirPlay protocol on their devices as as well as many other prominent streaming formats – DNLA, Miracast, Chromecast, AllPlay and HTC Connect.

Why is this important? Surely, AirPlay is not a killer feature for most Android users. But HTC may be targeting iOS users who are already heavily invested – literally and figuratively – in Apple’s ecosystem. After all, people who spent a lot of money to build entertainment systems that support AirPlay need to be cajoled to give up on their iPhones for an Android device.

From that perspective, HTC is pretty smart to adopt AirPlay for its top of the line devices.

Sng substantiated his company’s stand on the issue saying that if one wouldn’t like credit card companies to decide what he/ she would want in their wallet, why would they go for a specific vendor to determine the payment system they want in their phone, Mac Rumors reported.

This is not the first time that Apple is releasing its in-house apps for Android users. Previously, the Cupertino tech giant rolled out it’s Move to iOS app, enabling Android users to move their data from an Android phone to their new iPhone, and Apple Music, which was developed from scratch for Android users with a view to expand the market for Apple’s music service. By releasing AirPlay for HTC 10, which was launched on Tuesday, Apple has once again made it clear that it is willing to work with rival companies.

This year, HTC has been focusing on an improved music experience, and this is proved by the company’s restructured BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition tech. By incorporating the AirPlay audio streaming into the HTC One devices, the company looks forward to be a step ahead over its primary rivals – Samsung, LG and even Xiaomi. And strange as it may sound, Apple might be the safest one to partner with!

HTC's Next Mid-range Offering, The HTC A16?

HTC’s A16, Is It Their Next Mid-range Offering

Thanks to HTC’s line of Desire smartphones, the Taiwanese manufacturer is all-too familiar with the mid segment market and has found a comfortable play area. Hence, the brand continues to manufacture mid-range smartphones with decent specs and great build quality. The latest in this price zone is the HTC A16.

The first thing that strikes you upon seeing the leaked pictures of this smartphone is that the device is classy, with simple lines, as we have come to expect from HTC.

As per a leakster Evan Blass (@evleaks), HTC’s A16 is in fact a smartphone with specs in keeping with those found within the Desire series and could come backed by a Snapdragon 210 processor, running atop 1.5 GB of RAM and bearing a 5 inch 720 pixel display in a plastic body.

Camera-wise the HTC A16 would come with a 8 megapixel rear camera (with an LED flash) and a 5 megapixel front camera. The smartphone is said to be powered by a 2,200 mAh battery. Storage space is said to be 8 GB of onboard internal storage, expandable with the help of a microSD card.

Purely from a cosmetic construct viewpoint, there are speculative rumours around perforations in the circular module on the back, which range from it being for a lanyard to a charging port. Our wish list definitely would be for the device to launch on Marshmallow installed out of the box – a feature which could make it stand out in the market that’s still sitting on severely outdated versions of Android for the most bit.

Given the limited specifications that the phone may have, we are not expecting the phone to be costly enough to be able to blow a hole in your pocket, and should be priced in the neighbourhood of USD 150, which apparently is cheaper than the HTC Desire 626S when it was launched. Pretty reasonable for HTC isn’t it?

Talking about the colour options – five options, namely Black, White, Navy, Red, Sparkly Black and White seem to be the colour palette available.

HTC is said to be launching its new smartphone very soon and it is only then that we’d actually get further information on this new device.

Stay tuned for further updates.

HTC Desire 828 Dual SIM Launched At INR 19,999

HTC-Desire-828-Dual-SIM-Launched-INR-19999

HTC has launched their Desire 828 Dual SIM phone exclusively on Flipkart.

This is HTC’s second launch after their HTC One A9.

Vignesh Ramakrishna, Director at Flipkart shared, “The portfolio of Desire smartphones by HTC has done extremely well in India. We are happy to launch the latest addition to this series exclusively on Flipkart.”

The Desire 828 Dual SIM phone comes with many goodies, and holds the distinction of being the first phone in the Desire series to include the Optimal image Stabilization (OIS) feature.

The phablet, priced at INR 19,999 comes with:

  • 5.5 inch Full-HD IPS display
  • 2 GB RAM with Dual SIM (Dual-4G)
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor
  • 16 GB internal storage with microSD slot for expandable memory (expandable to 2 TB!!)
  • 13 megapixel rear camera and a 4 megapixel HTC UltraPixel front camera.
  • Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with HTC Sense 7 UI
  • Weighs only 148 grams
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers, HTC BoomSound and Dolby Audio
  • 2,800 mAh battery (seems a tad underpowered)

Some features worth highlighting would be the expandable memory, with the device supporting 2 TB of externally expandable storage.

The Desire 828 Dual SIM phone comes with OIS enriched rear camera and the HTC UltraSelfie mode for selfies. The device will go on sale on Flipkart on the night of 14 December, and will be available in Dark Gray and Pearl White colours.

The Desire 828 will face competition from Motorola G (Gen 2), Xiaomi Mi 4, Micromax Canvas Series, Huawei Honor 6 and even some phablets like the Asus Zenfone 6.

HTC One A9 Accidentally Leaked

HTC One A9 Accidentally Leaked

HTC has not had a conducive 2015 in any manner of speaking. While Apple danced their way to their banks, HTC has been struggling to hold ground and stay afloat.

HTC Corp. was delisted from the FTSE TWSE Taiwan 50 Index and their shares fell more than 66%.

Their marketshare in the smartphones space is in a deep spiral. They’ve witnessed a huge decline from being a one-time leader in Windows Phone (holding around 75% market share) and a very respected Android player (it formed a holy trinity with Samsung and LG to compete with the goliath Apple, for design and performance of their devices).

To add to their woes, all their latest devices (the HTC One M8, HTC One M9+, HTC One ME) while receiving catcalls from the galleries failed to invite even passing interest from buyers.

They need a break and a successful device may give them just that traction they need to claw back their eroding markets.

Will their next smartphone, the HTC One A9 turn it around for them? We certainly hope so.

As HTC takes their time to perfect and launch the One A9, guarding its nuances from prying eyes, the rumour factory cranks away, listing more and more wishful preponderances from HTC’s latest and leaking juicy tidbits week after week.

Then the unthinkable happened, Orange, a French carrier, accidentally leaked the HTC One A9’s price, broad specs and key design features on their website!

A webpage dedicated to the device confirmed many of the hypothesis, and listed the prices as   €599.90 (roughly INR 45,000), a price tag which seems to be way out of league for a mid range device like the One A9; so take that with a pinch of salt.

Price aside, we’ve collated the specs listed in the leaks on the One A9 so far:

  • One A9 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor paired with an  Adreno 405 Graphics Processor.
  • Will operate on the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS, out-of-the-box.
  • 2 GB of RAM with 16 GB of internal storage and slot for memory expansion.
  • A 5.0-inch full HD AMOLED display with a 1920×1080 resolution.
  • 13 megapixel rear camera and a 4 megapixel UltraPixel snapper on the front.
  • Physically the One A9 bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s iPhone 6 series, the only difference being in the positioning of the camera and the color rendition (iPhone’s body color appears to be better by a long shot). HTC One A9 would be available in a light and dark tones – may be White and Grey colours.
  • Will have a 2150 mAh battery and 4G LTE connectivity

So far everything listed on Orange’s site corroborates the leaks, barring the pricing which seems to be out of place. However, we’ll have to wait for the Taiwanese company to make an official announcement, which going by the deluge of reports coming in mayn’t be long as HTC is said to be hosting their launch event in four cities: New York City, London, New Delhi and Taipei on 20 October and may stream the webcast live online.

Given the financial and business crisis the company is facing, the new smartphone has a lot riding on it’s back, with the markets analysts keeping a hawk’s eye to see whether the new device will steady the ship or drown it altogether.

As with BlackBerry, Chip-Monks really believes that HTC needs to survive, its too good to give up the fight!

Is HTC Aero Coming To India?

Is HTC Aero Coming To India

HTC has apparently revealed its plans to launch a new smartphone, HTC Aero A9, by the end of this week.

An image was posted on HTC’s own Weibo (the microblogging platform) account, indicating the possibility of a device launch scheduled for Sunday, September 6th.

The teaser image posted by HTC displays the layout of a smartphone, along with a text in Chinese reading a ‘superior, handsome’ top-end smartphone. Earlier, leaked images comparing the HTC Aero A9 with the Apple’s iPhone 6 had suggested that the latest HTC device will share some design features with the premium-built iPhone 6.

Some leaked images showing the front and rear panels of the rumoured HTC Aero A9 smartphone have popped up across some fan sites.

The rear panel and the white plastic strip on the top and the bottom along with the curved corners of the HTC Aero A9 resemble the iPhone 6 device. The camera position is differed in both the devices with the HTC handset sporting the camera in the middle, while Apple’s device houses it in the top-left corner.

The HTC Aero A9 will reportedly sport:

  • 5.2-inch Quad HD display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection
  • 2.5D curved edges
  • MediaTek Helio X20 ten-core tri-cluster processor
  • Mali-T880 MP4 graphics processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • Powerful 3,500 mAh battery.

The device is also believed to flaunt a full metal unibody design and a state-of-art camera on the rear side, which is supposedly superior than the HTC One M9.

The speculations also suggests that the device will be priced around RMB 3000-4000 (INR 29,000-38,000).

HTC Building A New OS With The Chinese Government

HTC-China-2

When politics and tech development merge, we have interesting developments – the cold war is a testament to this. It was during this phase that  “putting the man on the moon” developments by NASA and developments in the defense sectors took place which later translated into civilian technology – camera capability, night vision, GPS, Kevlar protection, nuclear power, wireless technology and many more.

The political scenario is ripe again with economies falling, new powers emerging and secrets being revealed – to fuel a nation’s thirst for technology to aid their security and progress giving them the added advantage over other nations.

China has been reluctant to let US based technology into China and has been heavily policing or blocking them. The websites most of us use in our everyday life are not accessible to the Chinese public; the list is long and includes Google Drive, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, WordPress, Vimeo, Dropbox and many more.

The Chinese government have been exploring home grown technologies that abide by the Chinese guidelines, thus reducing their perceived threat against technological independence.

WSJ were the first to report that HTC might have joined hands with the Chinese government to develop an operating system (OS) specifically for the Chinese users to effectively gain a deeper penetration into the fertile Chinese markets.

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Working with the Chinese Government will ensure that they have an upper hand at regulatory compliances and will be better integrated with apps aimed at the Chinese markets. Maybe this is the turning point in their dwindling market share.

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HTC Chairwoman, Cher Wang, has personally been at the helm developing the smartphone maker’s operating system and HTC aims at releasing it by year-end.

HTC has been bitten by Google and Microsoft before and may not want to depend on them for the OS on their devices alone (HTC remains a member of the “Open Handset Alliance” led by Google for Android). Are they unhitching their wagon and going the Apple way: develop your own Operating System. Developing a new “OS” is not all that difficult; you have Linux based OSes to work with like in the cases of Tizen (Samsung and Intel) and Sailfish (Nokia and Jolla).   HTC can also explore Android, however it could be a thorny relationship as Google may restrict them.

An alliance with the Chinese government should help HTC gain some traction in China while it regroups to address their loss in the Global Markets. Should the Android and iOS team be worried? The trade pundits have not yet raised any alarms, but the long-term changes may not be in sight just yet.

What Is Wireless Charging And How Does It Work?

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With everything (keyboards, mice, earphones, headphones et. al.) moving towards wireless –  how can chargers be left behind? Chargers after all are by far the most fundamental appendages to our devices!

Wireless Charging commonly known as Inductive Charging, is a way of charging your device without the hassle of tangled wires or USB cords.

In simple terms, Wireless Charging works using magnets. There are 2 magnetic coils involved – one in the charging plate and one in your device. Energy transfer occurs with the help of an electromagnetic field created between the two coils due to mutual ‘coupling’. All you really need is two pieces of hardware with compatible technology – the Qi standard for example. Armed with that technology, all you really need to do is place your device on the charging pad and it should start charging!

Truth be told though, technically the term ‘wireless’ is a bit misleading since this entire process is not truly ‘wireless‘. There still needs to be a cable to plug into the mains power supply and the device still needs to be left alone and can’t be charged while in your hand! The reason the term ‘wireless’ is used is because there isn’t a wire connecting the charger and the device.

Some major advantages of wireless charging include ease of charging, no trouble of wires at all, lesser wire-breakage due to fatigue (especially in the case of Apple’s iDevices, where the wires are notorious for tearing apart with no abuse or misuse by the user)! Then of course, the durability of your device itself increases since there’s no repeated plugging and unplugging of wires. Additionally, there are large-size charging pads that accommodate simultaneous charging of multiple devices.

There are several cons too unfortunately. This mode of charging comparatively takes more time than the normal way of charging devices via a wire. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use your phone freely while it is on charging, which is not the case with wired-adapter-charging, since your phone can be moved within a respectable range. Lastly, inductive charging pads currently cost a lot more than an average charger.

Despite these limiting factors, major manufacturers like Nokia, LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola recognise the potential of wireless charging and have already begun incubating it in their premium devices.

Just like Remote Unlocking became a norm in automobiles owing to clearly apparent benefits, there’s no question in our minds that all phones and tablets and add-ons will incorporate this mode of charging. Its just a matter of time.

HTC One Mini 2 Press Renders Leak

HTC One Mini 2 Press Renders Leak

It’s become a trend to launch stripped-down versions of a flagship device, at a lower cost so as to target the masses.

HTC is taking a leaf out of the same strategy with the launch of a smaller, scaled down version of the HTC One M8, and calling it HTC One Mini 2.

Leaked once again, via the alleged image (above), the rendered leak suggests that the device would not feature the Duo Camera, which means no depth sensor for post capturing focus adjustment and “Bokeh Effect”.

Bokeh Effect is an aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out of focus parts of an image produced by a lens.

In addition, the smartphone will not have the rear facing UltraPixel camera, however, as compensation the company is said to pack in a 13 megapixel shooter instead.

The rumoured device said to run on Android KitKat 4.4.2 with HTC’s latest Sense 6.0 UI (user interface), and a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 1 GB of RAM.

The One Mini 2 is also said to feature a 4.5 inch display with a 720×1280 pixels resolution. A 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel  front facing camera and an internal storage of 16 GB with the option to expand via a microSD card should suit the photographer in you.

Reviewers, taking the devices specifications into consideration have said that the device will be a mid ranged smartphone, following its previous strategy of the HTC One and the HTC One Mini where one was priced higher and the other mid-ranged.

Since the Taiwanese company has previously come out with a dual–SIM variant of its flagship last year, it will be interesting to see if there will be a dual-SIM HTC One Mini too coming this quarter.

HTC One M8 Mini May Launch In May

HTC M8 Mini

HTC is planning to launch a mini version of their HTC One M8 flagship.

This announcement came within few hours of the release of the HTC’s One M8.

Clearly, the tremendous struggle the company has experienced in the past, they would want to ensure that their position in the handset market stays afloat.

The Taiwanese company is expecting to gain traction in the global handset market with the launch of this device and rumors say that the expected launch is planned somewhere in May this year.

Sources say that this device will do wonders, as HTC has made several changes and included stuff that other flagship devices don’t have, at this time.

So let’s see what makes this a ‘different’ smartphone.

Talking about the specs, the device could have about a 4.3 to 4.5 inch screen display with 720-1080 pixels, As this phone may come with a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and 1 GB of RAM, it should have an edge over other devices with dual core processors.

The phone may feature Android 4.4 KitKat, with HTC Sense 6.0 for enhanced user experience and will sport 16 GB internal memory with an expandable micro SD slot. It will feature a 13 megapixel rear camera with a 5 megapixel front camera, however, the new device may not feature the duo camera present in the predecessor.

This device will maintain the same form factor and the built of its predecessor HTC One. You’ll see an aluminium unibody design with smooth curves with dual front facing speakers completing the design, giving it similar looks of the larger, full-function HTC One M8.

Such an approach will remind users of Moto G, which, hardly had any difference between their mini and flagship model.

The price for this device remains speculative.

Ever since the launch of Moto G, a mid-range smartphone with a long list of features, the perspective of a mid range device has changed.

Will the HTC One M8 mini match its biggest competitors, Sony Xperia Compact or Moto G is another question on our minds.

We’ll all have to just wait and see!

Samsung Galaxy S5 Enters Indian Markets

Samsung Galaxy S5 Enters Indian Markets

Samsung’s latest, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was launched internationally last month, is finally going to be available to Indian users on 11th April. It’ll arrive in four colors – White, Black, Blue and Gold.

While there was a huge, almost tidal bout of collective bated breath in the run up to the public release of the device’s specifics, but with it’s announcement, there’s been a great lull. We’d peg it to deep disappointment, now that it’s finally here and the device isn’t all that people prayed it would be.

With a slightly larger 5.2 inch display, the Galaxy S5 has more or less the same structure and design as its predecessors in the Galaxy family. Opting for only a perforated back surface, perhaps as an effort to aid grip or simply to tackle the ‘plasticky’ perception that has come to be associated with this series, the smartphone does not feature a substantive improvement or redesign over it’s elder sibling.

While the evolutionary-not-revolutionary update may, by itself not been such a disappointment – but Samsung’s incomprehensibly unilateral decision to power the Indian version of the Galaxy S5 with a sub-par Exynos octa-core processor instead of the far more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 used in other countries has left most people miffed.

Thankfully, since the Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s launch vehicle of their foray into the world of biometrics, – introducing a rather fancy Fingerprint Scanner right at the lock screen and a Heart Rate Sensor, it does hence have two crowning features that give it some bragging rights.

Here’s the catch though: Priced at a whopping INR 52,000, without being able to justify that humongous a price tag, it may just be discouragement enough for a lot of people from going for it.

There’s little value-addition, basically just a few tweaks here and there, and less than a handful of usable, exciting new features. Dunno why, but one feels that Samsung’s missed the boat on this one and it might have been an expensive no-show considering Apple’s firing on all cylinders and HTC”s biting at the heels.

HTC Announces The New HTC One Ahead Of The Samsung Galaxy S5

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HTC recently announced the new HTC One, called the HTC One M8. Folks are already considering the new device to be good enough to become the top-dog in the Android market.

Aimed to please the end user, while the features may not be that significantly different from last year’s model however the looks have been refined to quite a degree, and HTC says there are major changes in its software too.

The HTC One M8 remains stunning in it’s design and no other company has been able to yet match the look and feel of the predecessor, the HTC One M7.

The HTC One M8 has a 5 inch display with a 1080 pixel resolution. Under the cover is a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 quad core processor with a 2 GB RAM, which should allow the user to breeze through all the tasks that she can throw at it.

The device comes in storage options of 16 GB or 32 GB, which can be further augmented by an additional 128 GB thanks to a microSD slot.

If things could not get better – Google is giving 50 GB of cloud space on it’s Google Drive for two years!

For your entertainment the HTC One M8 has a 5 megapixel front camera and a HTC UltraPixel-enabled rear camera, which should provide the user superior picture quality, capturing depth information with a wide array of special effects to photos.

The device has another “camera” like sensor in the back and it is called a “Duo Camera Array”, where the second sensor is not a camera but a depth sensor. This addition allows the user to significantly modify the photos and successfully blur the backgrounds post clicking the photo.

The flagship feature for entertainment purposes, the front facing speakers, have been upgraded too. The HTC team has placed the speakers differently, and even redesigned the inbuilt amplifier to belt out richer sound.

A sizeable 2,600mAh battery keeps the phone going for a good 20 hours of talk time and now also has a new “extreme power saving mode” enhancing the standby time to 40 days.

HTC is also offering a new case, the Dot View case which is a cover made of perforated rubber enabling the user to view notifications through this case, displayed in a dot matrix style point. It looks different but the enhancement to our phone-experience is brilliant!

But it’s not an easy spot to land.

Google’s Nexus 5 released last year has gained tremendous success in the market, and Samsung’s own flagships, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S5 will definitely prove stiff competition with regards pricing and features.

Reviewers have been questioning whether the HTC One M8 will be worth the money and if it would provide and edge with its new features. The answer is a “Yes” – so far, as it has emerged to be more capable than the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy S5!

It has outshone the Nexus in almost all of the features – be it the camera, the software or even the design.
The only drawback versus the Nexus 5, could be the HTC One M8’s size, as the Nexus is more manageable, allowing the user to use the phone with one hand, while with the HTC One, the user would have to stretch out their thumbs to reach the top left of the screen.

Between the three said phones, reviewers have quoted them to be as “M8 boasts of Luxury, Nexus 5 has practicality and the Galaxy S5 plays catch up”.

HTC was able to get the One M8 into the market before Samsung S5, which is yet to hit the stores. HTC pulled a fast one by keeping the launch and sale date the same for this device, and making it available worldwide with 230 operators in over 100 countries!

The price of this flagship phone doesn’t come as a bolt from the blue; with the latest technology under its cover it definitely commands its price tag. This phone is going to retail for USD 650, unlocked.

So, in conclusion we can say that this phone is being considered to be one that will create a lot of divide with users and their opinions. That said, the LG G3 and the iPhone 6 cannot be left out of consideration as they are both brilliant in their own rights. The only thing that puts them on at a disadvantage is that they are yet to be announced.

So for the moment, the fight remains between Samsung, Nexus and HTC One, and we think we know which one’s ruling people’s mind at this time!

Gallery And Video Highlights Makeover In Sense 5.5

HTC One

A lot of things have changed with the updated HTC’s proprietary Sense feature, now called the Sense 5.5.

I’ve come across a couple of them already and I’m still figuring out some!

The Gallery is not what it used to look like, not at all. The Gallery now opens and adopts a carousel for navigation. So, from your albums you can swipe sideways to the ‘Events’ or “My HTC Shares” panel.

The Album view in Sense 5.5 now looks more like the “Events” view in Sense 5, with full-width previews, rather than the square boxes of before. That means you get a nice big image from your camera shots, downloads and highlights, which is a great thing.

The big change comes when you tap on your Camera Shots. This again has a carousel style, swiping across to video highlights, or through to locations. It makes the camera album feel more engaging than the static drop down menu of before.

Looks like HTC has worked hard on this 4.3 update!

Undoubtedly, the highlight videos are one of our favourite features. In Sense 5.5 they are easier to control, with more styles and themes and an option to add your own music. You can individually choose the photos that you want included in the video.

Video and audio customization can be achieved by going into ‘Video and audio settings’ by tapping on contextual menu. As shown below you do have the option to trim the selected audio track.

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Select one image and Sense 5.5 will offer to find similar content from your Gallery itself. If you’ve gone for a trip to the hills, for example, it automatically picks up similar pictures, still giving you the option to select alternatives. It seems a pretty straightforward feature, pulling together relevant content for your video highlight, yet allowing you to avoid that odd picture that doesn’t belong, is sheer brilliance.

Here is what the Content, Themes and Music screenshots look like:

Gallery and video highlights sense 1

Gallery and video highlights sense 2

 

 

Gallery and video highlights sense 3

Sense 5.5 brings a lot of changes in terms of the user interface, cheers to this one!

HTC To Launch A Wearable Device By The End Of 2014

HTC smartwatch

HTC has had a bad run the last 2-3 years and lost its space on many industry rankings as of 2012.

Given the falling sales and nosediving profits, HTC has been active in trying to penetrate and tap the Chinese market to try to turn their fortunes around.

In the same essence, on the global landscape, they plan to launch three devices in 2014. In that cluster, is nestled the wearable device – a smartwatch, which could be unveiled to us before the year end.

HTC always had interest in smart watches and wearable devices, but it is only of late that they are focusing on getting this technology to the market.

In an interview with Bloomberg, HTC’s Chairman, Cher Wang said, “A wearable device will be available by this year’s Christmas shopping season after years of development and technical challenges. Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems”.

Other prominent players in the market of smart watches are Sony (SmartWatch), Samsung (Galaxy Gear) and Qualcomm (Toq), while Apple and Google are touted to be the big entrants, lined up with their wearable devices this year.

So there are chances that HTC will have a tough time with their footing in this emerging market.

Their CFO still seems optimistic and positive that they will turn around their dwindling fortunes this year with the launch of this product line.

HTC’s smart watch is based on Qualcomm’s Toq device, along with its Mirasol display technology, and would probably carry Bluetooth connectivity and a music player.

HTC may even bring a homegrown platform known as RTOS instead of Google’s Android Wear for its first smartwatch.

The company has declined to comment on the development at the moment so we have to wait for the official unveiling of these products.

Small Wonder: HTC One Mini

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Though the designs of smartphones and tablets out in today’s market are intriguing and attractive, leading smartphone manufacturers are trying to attract additional potential buyers from different buying groups by releasing mini versions of their top-selling devices.

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Having successfully released HTC HD Mini back in 2010, tech platforms are now abuzz in anticipation of the HTC One Mini, the miniaturized version of HTC’s best selling and highly recommended smartphone HTC One.

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The launch reveals a 4.3 inch screen, 720p resolution, dual core CPU, ultra-pixel camera, 1 GB RAM.

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Dual frontal speakers with inbuilt amplifiers installed with Beats Audio and a polished aluminium body with a stylish plastic band stretched along the edge set the HTC One mini apart.

Comparing the One Mini and One, HTC has dropped the NFC and Image stabilizer from the ultra-pixel camera in the One mini, but it does contain HTC Zoe.

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This brings your gallery to life (it selects the highlights of an event and crafts a stunning 30-second show) and click HD photos to walk you through all your facial expressions. With Object Removal, it’s a few taps to remove unwanted passersby and other unwanted stray objects.

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The HTC BlinkFeed continues to keep you engaged via a live feed of all news surrounding you and keeping you in touch with all that’s important to you.

The HTC One Mini provides more or less the same conveniences and applications as the HTC One; packed with Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor and Ambient light sensor and features like Kid Mode for parental control and limit the access to various applications.
It also connects with HTC Get Started; enabling you to access your device from your laptop to synchronize music, photos, wallpapers etc.

Samsung has also designed a smaller version of its leading smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini) to challenge the HTC One Mini. Let’s see how this battle plays out.