It is no secret that HTC is not in great shape these days. HTC's market share in 2012 was half of what it was in 2011. It has been a long time since heady days of 2010 and the HTC Nexus One and HTC Desire, when were considered by some sectors to be the best smartphones in the world. What does HTC do when its back is to the wall? Take risks.
HTC Sense was once considered the best Android overlay, and back than, we used to laugh at Samsung's TouchWiz. Things have changed a lot since than. With the new HTC One, HTC takes a bold step forward with Sense 5, leaving behind the Sense that was its staple since the days of Windows Mobile. In one Sense, the new Sense 5 UI is minimalist. The old Sense clock and colorful weather display is replaced by a more toned down clock and weather display. In another sense, Sense 5 is radical, with BlinkFeed.
BlinkFeed turns your home screen into a Flipboard like interface which can display contentfrom 1,400 HTC media partners. BlinkFeed aggregates the content from different sources all in one place, without the need to switch between multiple applications. BlinkFeed is in a HTC new take on FriendStream. It looks like FriendStream on steroids.
HTC is taking risk in other ways.
The HTC One has what you expect from a flagship Android phone. a Full HD display, a quad core processor in the form of Qualcomm's new S600 chipset with a 1.7 GHz Krait and 2 GB of RAM. HTC goes back to its roots by building the HTC One with an aluminum unibody case, instead of the polycarbonate used in the HTC One X.
But that HTC One, throws caution in the wind and truly innovates at the risk of being misunderstood by the average Joe. Instead of engaging in the meaningless megapixel war, the HTC One comes with a modest 4 MP camera. What it does is used larger pixels, or Ultrapixel technology to improve the picture quality, especially in low light conditions. The Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III have among the best camera's in the smartphone world. These phone sport 1.4 micron pixels. The well regarded camera on the Nokia N8 was equipped with 1.75 micron pixels. The 4 MP "Ultrapixel" technology on the HTC One utilizes 2 micron pixel technology. This is still a far cry from the 4.8 micropixels in a DLSR or SLT, but its the best ever on a smartphone.
The HTC One also has an odd looking set of grills at the top and bottom ends. This odd look is designed around the new front facing stereo speakers which push out an impressive 93dB of sound.
Unfortunately, HTC has not brought back the microSD card slow and a user replaceable battery. With the HTC One you get 32 GB or 64 GB of storage and a good sized 2300 mAh battery.
HTC seems to have done a good job with its HTC One. In one months time, we should be seeing the Samsung Galaxy S IV. Only than we will find out if HTC did enough with its One phone.