What’s New for HTC in 2012? AirPlay Mirroring Rivalry, Cloud Storage and More
HTC started off 2011 in style, but unfortunately ended the year a little worse for wear, with profits taking a nose dive. The Taiwanese manufacturer has picked itself up and showed its cards for 2012 at MWC, and there’s plenty of tech on offer.
With the GSMA Mobile World Congress event winding down to a close today, we reflect on everything HTC has showed us over the past couple of days. It’s exciting times for HTC fans, with new phones, new software and new accessories on the horizon.
HTC One Series
Undoubtedly the biggest announcement at the show from HTC was its new One Series – a trio of new Android smartphones. The flagship One X runs on the latest Quad-Core processor, has a stunning 4.7-inch screen, runs Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich and has an excellent backside-illuminated 8-Megapixel rear camera.
The mid-range One S runs a Dual-Core processor at 1.5GHz, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a stunning 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen and has a stunning case that is micro arc oxidised – a process that is normally used on satellites, creating a super-tough ceramic finish.
The entry-level option in the new One Series is called the HTC One V, and it mixes the latest tech with the styles of older HTC handsets like the Legend and Hero. Again it runs on Ice Cream Sandwich, has a 1GHz processor and a 3.7-inch screen plus a 5-Megapixel rear camera. Best of all, it’s expected to cost around £260 SIM-free – a bargain, if you ask us.
All three of HTC’s One Series smartphones will run Sense 4.0, which is a completely revamped version of the company’s user interface for Android devices. It runs nicely with Android 4.0 and looks the bomb while doing it, working in both landscape and portrait mode for the first time ever. Menu structures, app icons and widgets have all been updated to look much better, too.
HTC has talked about Sense 4.0 in detail at MWC, explaining that the software had become too complicated in recent iterations – something that we, and our customers, have agreed on. The company has assured us that Sense 4.0 is much simpler and much more user friendly on the whole.
Beats Audio, Everywhere
HTC’s acquisition of Beats Audio has led to phones like the Sensation XE and XL coming bundled with excellent quality in-ear headphones, as well as custom Beats software on the phones to tweak audio settings within the music app. With the new One Series phones and Sense 4.0, Beats Audio is going to be integrated deeper into the system on all three models.
You’ll be able to tweak your EQ using the Beats software for just about anything – the HTC music and video apps and even third party applications such as Spotify. This is great, and will offer HTC phones the edge over many others when it comes to being great music players as well as smartphones.
MediaLink HD and Mirror Mode
HTC has big plans to take on Apple and its AirPlay wireless streaming system. The company announced Mirror Mode for its new Android smartphones – something that will allow users to stream anything from their smartphone to a big screen TV, using another device called the MediaLink HD as an intermediary.
This works just like Apple’s AirPlay Mirroring does with an Apple TV box, but for HTC’s Android devices. The big difference is the ability to run a dual-screen mode, allowing you to play a movie from your phone on your TV, while you actually check your emails or browse the web using the phone’s screen. The MediaLink HD box has to be purchased separately as an accessory, just like the Apple TV. Nifty stuff and something we can’t wait to test out.
To the Cloud
HTC already has a partnership with Cloud storage experts Dropbox, but it announced at MWC 2012 that it would be expanding upon its free offering of 5GB to a whopping 25GB. So if you like the look of the new One Series smartphones, you’ll be bagging yourself an impressive 25GB of extra storage space thanks to Dropbox.
This means you can store music, photos, videos and various documents online for viewing whenever you like on the move. Given that the One S and One X don’t have expandable memory, (no Micro SD Card slot) this is bound to come in handy for some.
HTC’s One Series smartphones, along with the MediaLink HD accessory, along with Sense 4.0, Dropbox storage and Beats Audio integration, are expected to launch within the next month or so. Will you be picking one up?