The news is out and about – HTC has unveiled the new HTC 10 phone and is catching the attention of all the tech geeks around- me included. Now I tested this new flagship phone from HTC and let me tell you that initially this smartphone made a great impression on me. However, the question still remains – will this handset be the catalyst HTC needs to make it successful again.
Now given the history of HTC – this Taiwanese company has always developed itself in hard times. The new HTC 10 is developed by the company keeping in mind the phrase ‘self knowledge is the first road to recovery’. This new handset with the company’s magic number 10 brings together stripped back software, premium hardware, improved camera and top notch audio – all good things. The first impression of this smart handset made me think that finally HTC has a device that can easily compete with Sony, Apple, LG, Sony and Samsung. However, after a little introspection I ask again – is it really enough to attract new customers or even the former HTC loyals. Let us take a look at the challenges HTC 10 will face in the ever evolving smartphone market.
Issue 1 – Boring design
HTC fans have always had one complain with HTC- they are not experimental enough with the design of the products. Unlike Samsung and LG, who have always been brave enough to experiment with the design of their top smartphones, HTC has always held back. In the past year, with the designs of S6 and then S6 edge Samsung has shown the tech world that they can produce really sleek smartphones by using high quality materials.
Similarly, with G5, LG has revolutionised not just its design – thanks to its painted metal design but through the ‘friends’ module provided owners with hardware extendibility.
Now, the only question that I am left with is – what has HTC done? Well, I do have god news for all of you – the design of HTC 10 is completely fresh showing the fans that they are all set to make a new beginning.
From my first look of this set, I can say that the design of this handset is a success and I definitely do not care that there are no radical changes here as it still looks new to me. However, you can still recognize that this is handset from HTC.
Issue 2 – Software
Now I might be happy with the design but let us be honest – there is no comparison between design and software. Software is one very strong component of a smartphone that has the power to turn a curious window shopper to a customer. Now HTC Sense skin – the top of the Android world surely made a lot of friends but it also created hardcore enemies. HTC’s loyal customer base loved the phone but the rest of us were quite irritated because of it as it stalled major Android updates.
The good thing is that HTC was able to catch on this problem and took necessary steps starting with One A9 and dropped the unnecessary software from its firmware. Now HTC also pushed many of its own apps in the Google play store giving HTC loyals a chance to download them voluntarily. This step meant that the apps coming from the factory has been dramatically reduced to only the essentials. So now if you want to surf the internet or send emails or view photos in your HTC 10 you use Google Apps
It is true that with HTC 10 the new software on has been slimmed down and I am hoping for the sake of HTC that it will result in a faster operating system updates as well. I am also hoping that when Google releases Android N in autumn, HTC smartphones will be among the initial devices that will receive it. However, no one can deny that HTC has always faced the problem that rapid updates only interest a niche population of technology geeks and the mass smartphone user do not really care about all these updates if their phone is working well.
I can say with certainty that HTC 10 is a good phone if not a great smartphone. The problem begins for HTC 10 when it is touted against Galaxy S7, S7 edge or LC G5. When you compare it with these devices, HTC 10 appears rather bring and stiff. In order to recognize that HTC 10 is actually an alternative for these phones one needs to go into a lot o details and a majority of customers do not bother.