HTC One specs revealed; release due in March

February 20, 2013 6:00:45 AM PST
HTC, the struggling Taiwanese maker of smartphones, is taking a page from longtime partner Microsoft as it launches a new phone under the One brand.

The phone runs Google's Android system, but HTC is grafting its own home screen on the phone, one that's similar to that of Microsoft's Windows Phone software.

HTC Corp.'s BlinkFeed interface consists of large tiles that update automatically with information and photos from news sites and social networks.

The phone will go on sale in late March. HTC says U.S. partners will include AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, but specific availability dates and prices weren't available.

The new phone features two speakers, at the top and bottom of the screen, producing a stereo effect when the phone is turned on the side for movie viewing. :

"On the home screen of the One you're going to see large tiles that show updated information from your social networks, like Facebook, and news sites, like ESPN and AP. This is something that HTC seems to be borrowing from Microsoft, which is a longtime partner," said Peter Svensson, Associated Press technology writer. "This is a very finely machined phone. It really is copying, looks like features of the iPhone 5. It has these very precisely machined interfaces between aluminum and plastic. You run your finger over the back and you can't feel the joins between these two materials. And that's something I first experienced with the iPhone 5."

"The new HTC One will launch in more than 80 countries with 185 mobile operators and retailers globally," said Mike Woodward, HTC Americas president.

The new HTC One has a 4.7-inch (12-centimetre) screen, making it larger than the iPhone but smaller than some other Android phones, including HTC's own 5-inch (12.5-centimetre) Droid DNA, which launched in November. The HTC One has the same screen resolution as the larger phone, at 1920 by 1080 pixels.

At a press event in New York, HTC's design director Jonah Becker emphasized precision machining that goes into making the virtually all-metal body of the phone.

Another unusual feature is an infrared diode that lets the phone serve as a universal remote for a TV or media center. HTC sold 32 million smartphones last year according to research firm Gartner, giving it about 4 percent of the worldwide market. Unit sales were down 26 percent from HTC's peak in 2011.