HTC Schedules Product Announcement for January 12; New Smartphone Expected

HTC has started sending media invites for an event on January 12 where the company says it will make its “next big announcement.” The company has shared a teaser invite with “for U” as a tagline. Unfortunately, not many details about HTC’s upcoming announcement are available right now.

HTC Schedules Product Announcement for January 12; New Smartphone ExpectedIt’s worth noting that the January 12 launch date is just after the CES week which means HTC doesn’t want its announcement to get lost in a host of launches during the event. The Taiwanese company has not dropped any hints in the invite for the launch event, however, recent rumours have pointed to the launch of the HTC X10 mid-range smartphone in January. The event could also see the launch of the company’s next flagship or be about the company’s recent virtual reality push, or both.

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Starting with the HTC X10, the successor to the HTC One X9 is said to launch in January and cost around CNY 2,000 (roughly Rs. 19,500). It is said to sport a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920) display, a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor (Cortex-A53 cores), Mali-T860 GPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS.

Another recent report claimed that HTC has been working on its next flagship, the HTC 11. According to initial rumours, HTC 11 may sport a 5.5-inch QHD (1440×2560) display and run on Android 7.0 Nougat customised with HTC’s Sense 8 UI on top. The handset is rumoured to pack a dual-camera setup of 12-megapixel at the back while an 8-megapixel front-facing camera is also expected on board. Under the hood, the HTC 11 is expected to be powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, along with Adreno 540 GPU for graphic performance. It is said to pack a whopping 8GB of RAM under the hood, with an inbuilt storage of 256GB. The device is said to be backed by a 3700mAh battery. According to rumours, HTC’s next flagship will launched with a price tag of $691 (roughly Rs. 47,000). However, all these leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt as HTC has not mentioned anything about the upcoming device and the leaks legitimacy remains questionable.

HTC One M9 Starts Receiving Android 7.0 Nougat Update

Soon after Google released the final build of Android 7.0 Nougat, HTC announced that the HTC 10, HTC One M9, and HTC One A9 will receive the update sometime in the fourth quarter. Keeping its promise, HTC has rolled out the latest version of Android to unlocked HTC One M9 users. The company has also announced that carrier variants will receive the update sometime in the coming weeks.

HTC announced on its social media channels that the HTC One M9 unlocked variants will start receiving the update. The carrier variants won’t get it before the end of this year though. The update should arrive via an OTA, and to manually check if you’ve received it, head to the Settings menu.

HTC One M9 Starts Receiving Android 7.0 Nougat UpdateLast week, owners of unlocked HTC 10 units also started receiving the Android 7.0 Nougat update. This means that the HTC One A9 is the only phone remaining to get the Nougat update before the promised deadline. In any case, the company has not been able to keep its promise that it made back in March.

After the launch of company’s One A9 smartphone, HTC made a bold claim that the unlocked version of the smartphone will get “every” Android update “within 15 days” of it being pushed to Google’s Nexus devices. While we aren’t sure the amount of asterisks that were attached to this statement, the company hasn’t kept its word of a 15-day update release promise.

In any case, let’s hope that HTC manages to keep its latest promise of the Nougat release for its select smartphone before the end of the fourth quarter. With 2017 on the horizon, the HTC One A9 should be getting the update soon.

New details emerge about HTC One M10 smartphone

HTC has struggled to maintain its edge as Samsung, Apple and strong Chinese brands like Huawei expand their market share.HTC has struggled to maintain its edge as Samsung, Apple and strong Chinese brands like Huawei expand their market share.
More details have surfaced about HTC’s upcoming flagship smartphone M10. As per latest leaks, the company is not changing the name of its One series. Some previous leaks had suggested that the company may go for a new moniker other than HTC One M10 for the flagship.

According to reports, HTC One M10 name has been spotted on HTC’s website, in a drop down menu for a customer services satisfaction survey. The leak also reveals that the One M10’s camera will sport an f/1.9 aperture.

Other rumored specifications of HTC One M10 include a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and three storage options – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The smartphone is also expected to sport a fingerprint scanner and chamfered edges.

Google’s latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow will come pre-installed on the device, along with the company’s Sense UI, as per reports.

The Taiwanese company recently sent an email to a some media persons hinting at the launch of HTC M10 which is rumpured to launch on May 9.

The struggling smartphone maker has reported a third straight quarterly loss for October-December, although losses narrowed due to holiday season demand and the launch of a new phone.

The homegrown Taiwanese brand, once a star of the intensely competitive smartphone sector, has struggled to maintain its edge as Samsung, Apple and strong Chinese brands like Huawei expand their market share.

In a bid to boost its flagging fortunes, HTC unveiled a new flagship model — the One A9 — in October to take on Apple’s dominance, which the company said was well received across Asia, the US and Europe.

Google’s Virtual Reality Tinkering May Get More Real

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Google is developing a standalone virtual reality headset that will be several steps removed from Google’s Cardboard VR. Instead of relying on a user’s smartphone and a lens-fitted cardboard headset, it will have all the necessary components built in.

It also won’t have to rely on a PC or a console for processing power as do Sony’s PlayStation VR, HTC’s Vive and Oculus VR’s Rift headsets, according to the Journal‘s sources. It will have integrated processors, lenses, cameras and sensors.

Chipmaker Movidius will provide the chips for the headset, enabling the device to track the motion of the user’s head based on input from the product’s cameras, according to the WSJ.

Pricing is expected to fall in the mid-tier range.

Supporting Evidence

Google declined to comment on the rumors that it has been working on a standalone VR headset, but evidence suggests that it is.

Last month, the company moved Clay Bavor from his role as vice president of product management and installed him as vice president of virtual reality.

Along with putting one of its best brains on virtual reality, it has offered curiousjob postings calling for talent to develop VR cameras and battery-powered portable products.

Fall Into the Gap

A midtier headset follows the logic of Cardboard. Google has introduced more than 5 million people to VR, and a standalone product could take those followers even deeper down the rabbit hole.

If Google is as serious about VR as it has said it is, it will need to move forward from Cardboard. The tech is limited in the type of experiences it can offer, even when compared to Samsung’s $100 Gear VR, according to Patrick Walker, VP of insights and analytics at EEDAR.

“I would expect this next project to be an evolution of the Google Cardboard that will phase it out, especially because the price point of the Google VR headset will likely be relatively low but will offer so much more VR capability than the Google cardboard,” he told TechNewsWorld.

A standalone Google VR headset would be an interesting play, said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research. With the Rift set at US$600 and the Vive expected to top that, there’s a gulf between high-end VR experiences and the Cardboard and Gear VR types.

“It’s a very good opportunity for someone to fill in the gap,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There’s a giant hole between the two experiences, and I’m surprised more companies haven’t done something in the price range between $300 and $600.”

Filling that gap could make the Google device priced to sell well, picking up consumers let down by the high cost of the Rift.

“From a price-point point of view, something in the midtier could sell a million or more units, while the higher-end stuff, despite the hype, might only sell tens of thousands of units, not a high volume, at this stage,” said EEDAR’s Walker.

Market Watch

EEDAR sees two primary verticals in the VR market, he noted.

“The high-end VR devices are targeting a consumer who is an early adopter and heavy gamer, whether on console or PC,” said Walker.

That market is in the crosshairs of Facebook’s Oculus Group, HTC and Valve, and Sony. It’s different from the mainstream, more accessible market Google and Samsung have gone after, he said.

“Therefore,” Walker said, “we think that the Google initiatives will have much more impact on the Gear VR than on Oculus, HTC and Sony products.”