Last Tuesday, HTC announced what might be my next smartphone.
For the first time, I am not saying « HTC announced what IS GOING TO be my next smartphone. » That, in itself, is already a little bit of a shock.
Indeed, when the Sensation XE was released, I was impressed with the Specifications and Beats Audio and my smartphone from that time was having trouble coping with the custom ROM I had installed because it was too demanding for it’s hardware. Then the One X came with an ultra-light body and was just so nice to hold. The evolution of Sense (the UI above Android) also made me want to get the One X. Finally, when a store offered to give a Beats Audio headset for free, I was convinced.
This year, the HTC One comes with impressive new features:
New system for taking pictures which promises to be revolutionary with an htc-developed camera and a system to make your picture gallery come alive (ZOE); two very loud speakers for a clear stereo sound without headphones; 2Gb of RAM memory (twice my current phone) and what appears to be a blazing-fast processor.
However, the new version of Sense seems not to have been a priority this year. Probably because most of the development went into the Blinkfeed. The blink what?
Blinkfeed: a set of tiles which synchronize all news from whatever you have subscribed to. And it looks like this:
I’m sorry but am I the only one who thinks this looks like an enhanced version of this?
Is HTC trying to merge Windows Phone and Android?
It’s not such a bad idea but one of the things I found a little annoying on Windows Phone was that all the information appeared at the same place. This looked a little messy for me. I prefer being able to segregate Facebook and Twitter for instance, because I do not use those social networks for the same purpose. Facebook is more for personal relations and Twitter is more related to technology and sports. Hence the desire not to randomly see all information appear on the same page.
I seem not to be the only one to have doubts concerning Blinkfeed. Indeed, one of the HTC executives already tweeted a screenshot of his home screen to show that the new WP-looking feed is not mandatory and that the classical widgets are still available. The big question is: have the classical widgets been improved? Will I find new things apart from the Blinkfeed? This is my main concern. There is no point in changing a phone which is behaving perfectly fine in order to get the same UI. At least not at that price.
After further investigation on dedicated websaite, it turns out that it is impossible to remove the Blinkfeed AND that the number of pannels has been reduced from 7 to 5, one of which has to display the Blinkfeed. So the number of pannels really drops to 4, which is 3 less than I currently use.
So it seems that this time I shall wait for the phone to land in stores in order to try it out and ensure it is worth the €600+.
For that I guess I will have to wait another month.
What I expect, is that the hardware evolution will be more impressive than it is on paper and that this will convince me to buy a phone which in my view doesn’t bring my User-Interface experience to the next level.
On a side note: How many of you have been bothered by someone listening to their music without headphones on public transportation? These speakers might make your commutes even worse… Or better since the sound will be nicer. I’ll just have to convince the owner to put on your favorite song. « Hey mister DJ… »
Let’s wait and see.
What do you think about the new HTC Flagship?
And most importantly, the bets are on: Do you think I will buy one and write a review?