NEW YORK, N.Y. – HTC Corp., the struggling Taiwanese maker of smartphones, is taking a page from longtime partner Microsoft Corp. as it launches a new phone under the One brand.
The phone runs Google Inc.’s Android software, 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 were not announced.
The new HTC One has a 4.7-inch screen, making it larger than the iPhone but smaller than some other Android phones, including HTC’s own 5-inch 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. In a design reminiscent of the iPhone 5, HTC has eliminated all the little gaps between different parts, giving the phone a smooth, tight feel in the hand.
HTC One features two speakers, at the top and bottom of the screen, producing a stereo effect when the phone is turned on its side for movie viewing. Another unusual feature is an infrared diode that lets the phone serve as a universal remote for a TV or media centre.
HTC sold 32 million smartphones last year according to research firm Gartner, giving it about 4 per cent of the worldwide market. Unit sales were down 26 per cent from HTC’s peak in 2011.