MWC 2015: HTC rolls out most powerful smartphone, gets into VR and wearables
By Digital News Asia March 3, 2015
- HTC Vive Developer Edition out in spring, consumer edition by year-end
- HTC Grip powered by UA Record, the new health and fitness network
AT Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC 2015), HTC Corp announced its most powerful smartphone, the HTC One M9, a fitness tracker, as well as a strategic partnership with Valve that it said would bring mass-market Virtual Reality (VR) one step closer.
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Running on the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, with HTC Sense, the HTC One M9 is built on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, powered by 3GB RAM (Random Access Memory) and up to 32GB of storage.
It measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm and weighs 157g, with a 5in full high-definition (HD) 1080p display.
The new HTC Sense 7 experience puts the user in control of everything. HTC claimed. Theme puts you at the centre of the smartphone experience, analysing your favourite photos to modify the look and feel of your apps, colour scheme and backgrounds.
It also delivers the most useful apps to the homepage based on the user’s location. Whether at home, work, or play, you’re never more than a click away from the features you need with this contextual, customisable widget, the company said.
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A more intelligent HTC BlinkFeed uses location data to better recommend points of interest, news and information.
The HTC One M9’s 20-megapixel camera comes with a sapphire cover lens that protects from scratches, and also shoots movies in 4K resolution.
It also addresses low-light shots with an UltraPixel front-facing camera. Dynamic auto exposure and UltraPixels capture 300% more light than standard cameras to deliver sharper, more natural and balanced self-portraits in any lighting conditions, HTC claimed.
HTC Sense 7 with HTC’s EYE Experience software makes taking creative pictures easy. New editing effects include Shapes, Prismatic, Elements and Bokeh, while the Zoe app automatically edits them, putting them to your choice of music and letting friends remix the collection with their own shots to create a shared celebration from every moment.
The HTC BoomSound dual front-facing speakers, now combined with 5.1 channel Dolby Surround sound simulation, delivers cinema-style surround sound.
Connecting your world
HTC Connect makes it easy to enjoy your multimedia experience beyond your phone, the company said.
A three-finger swipe on the screen connects the phone to compatible TVs or external speakers from leading manufacturers including Harman Kardon.
HTC Connect’s integration with Qualcomm AllPlay smart media platform and Blackfire Research wireless media technology, allows users to stream high quality content from their smartphone to multiple home entertainment devices around the house.
The HTC One M9 will be available globally in dual-tone silver and rose gold; single-tone gunmetal grey; single-tone gold; and dual-tone gold and pink in from mid-March.
In partnership with Valve, HTC also announced the debut of HTC Vive. HTC Vive Developer Edition will be launched this spring, with the consumer edition available by the end of 2015.
Vive combines Valve’s Steam VR tracking and input technologies with HTC’s design and engineering talent.
HTC and Valve have introduced a Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution with Tracked Controllers, letting you get up, walk around and explore your virtual space, inspect objects from every angle and truly interact with your surroundings.
HTC is also introducing new wireless VR controllers that it said would make you feel one with your virtual environment.
The new HTC VR Controllers come in a pair and are designed to work with a wide range of VR experiences.
Beta versions of the Vive Developer Edition have already generated rich entertainment content from some of the world’s top game developers including Vertigo Games, Bossa, Barry-Fireproof, Dovetail Games, Wemo Labs, Google, Steel Wool Games and Owlchemy, HTC said.
Gaming is not the only area HTC and Valve will be looking at with their VR pact. The two companies said they are committed to realising a broader vision for VR and see a real opportunity in transforming everyday experiences.
Travel, attending a game, meeting friends or even shopping will never be the same again and the companies are working with leading content creators including Google, HBO, Lionsgate and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan in order to make that vision a reality, HTC said.
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Coming to Grip with fitness
HTC also unveiled its first smart fitness tracker, the GPS-enabled HTC Grip. Powered by UA Record, the new health and fitness network from Under Armour designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Grip fuses HTC’s renowned design with powerful, accurate tracking across a range of sports and activities, allowing athletes to set personal goals.
Compatible with Android and iOS devices, as well as Bluetooth-enabled accessories like heart-rate monitors, Grip provides additional performance data to the Under Armour Connected Fitness platform.
Grip is designed to comfortably support even the most extreme training regimes. The contoured, waterproof band conforms to your wrist without pinching your skin or catching on clothing during workouts.
The curved PMOLED (passive-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display also makes it easy to read time, distance and notifications on the move.
Available in three sizes, Grip is also waterproof, and its 100mAh battery lasts up to five hours when the integrated GPS is turned on, enabling Grip to accurately capture route, distance, pace and calories burned, all of which sync with UA Record in real time.
Grip also connects to an assortment of external heart rate monitors, including the Under Armour A39, making it ideal for athletes wanting to track their heart rate.
For everyday usage, Grip lasts up to 2.5 days on a single charge, ideal for tracking daily activity.
The HTC Grip will be available in Deep Teal/ Lime at select retailers in North America, beginning in spring this year.
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