It’s rare that we get a glimpse into the thoughts and processes it takes to make a smartphone like the HTC ThunderBolt, which launched on Verizon Wireless as its first 4G LTE device yesterday, but HTC has posted a great 4-minute video where some HTC designers and employees discuss the ThunderBolt, the Sense UI, and what excites them about both. The clip doesn’t necessarily share anything new about the ThunderBolt, but we did enjoy checking out the HTC designer sketchbooks at the 0:27 mark and listening to HTC Sense UI designer Drew Bamford talk about the challenges of creating a product that appeals to the masses. If you want more ThunderBolt action, be sure to check out our unboxing, too — video after the jump. More →
HTC announced two new smartphones at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday that are equipped with dedicated Facebook buttons. The HTC Chacha and HTC Salsa are each Android-based smartphones that are the cell phone maker’s first offerings to feature its new enhanced Facebook experience. To the chagrin of countless Facebook addicts across the country, however, HTC made no mention of U.S. carrier partners when it announced the devices this morning. Fortunately, AT&T has reportedly confirmed that it will carry two Facebook phones from HTC, though it did not say specifically that they would be the Chacha and Salsa. The carrier did confirm that they will feature similar capabilities along with the same context-aware Facebook buttons, however. “In the U.S., AT&T and HTC are exclusively bringing this unique user experience to the market later this year,” an AT&T spokesperson told Mobilized. “It goes without saying this is part of our commitment to have the industry’s best Android portfolio this year.” More →
As we near one of the biggest shows of the year for the mobile industry — Mobile World Congress in Barcelona — there always seems to be a steady stream of leaks. Maybe excited moles dig a bit deeper this time of year. In any event, German HTC fan blog HTCInside managed to procure a purported screen shot of Vodafone Germany’s internal inventory system, which clearly shows an entry for “Desire 2 HTC.” Details are pretty scarce for the time being, and by that we mean there are absolutely no details to accompany this screen shot. The Desire 2 could certainly end up being a European version of one of the exciting new HTC phones introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, but it could also be something entirely new for the European market. Only time will tell — and since MWC is less than two weeks away, we won’t have to wait very long. More →
AT&T on Tuesday announced that the HTC Inspire 4G will become available on February 13th for $99.99 on contract. The device was first announced during AT&T’s press conference held last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. ”We are kicking off an exciting year for AT&T’s smartphone portfolio, and leading off with our first 4G phone,” said AT&T SVP Jeff Bradley in a statement. “With its iconic design, 4G speeds and awesome features, Inspire 4G is going to attract new customers and please existing AT&T subscribers.” The HTC Inspire 4G will feature a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, an 8-megapixel camera, Android 2.2 and HTC’s Sense 2.0, which marries HTC’s popular Android UI overlay with an online suite of services. The Inspire 4G is compatible with AT&T’s current HSPA+ “4G” network, not the carrier’s upcoming LTE “4G” network. Hit the break for AT&T’s press release. More →
Unconfirmed reports claim to reveal the specs of an unannounced tablet soon to be unveiled by HTC. Norwegian enthusiast blog amobil claims to have sources and an internal document that provide details surrounding HTC’s forthcoming “HTC Flyer” tablet. Thought to launch as one of HTC’s first tablet offerings, the device curiously has specs that barely seem competitive following the barrage of tablets we saw introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. Purported specs include a 7-inch 1024 x 600-pixel display, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 3G connectivity, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 4GB of internal storage, DLNA, an HDMI-out port and the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS with HTC Sense. Unless HTC plans on bringing a knife to a gunfight, expect one of two things to happen when the Flyer is finally announced — either these specs are off base, or this device will be on the budget end of several tablets (possibly including the HTC Scribe) announced in succession by the popular Taiwan-based cell phone maker. Along those lines, amobil also notes that HTC is preparing a 10-inch tablet with LTE connectivity to launch in the second half of the year. More →
In an interview with Forbes on Thursday, HTC’s head of User Experience Drew Bamford provided some insight into where the company’s Sense product is headed in the near future. Sense started as a UI overlay placed atop various platforms on HTC devices. While the UI aspects of the product remain a central focus, HTC will continue to expand Sense in several areas off the device. The recently launched HTCSense.com portal is one example of Sense’s departure from phones, though it remains underutilized and confined to just two devices for the time being. Bramford says several services are on their way to Sense, however, including music and video content services as well as access to newspapers, magazines and eBooks. HTC already launched an eBook service in Europe that it plans to expand to other regions in 2011. HTC also plans to launch its own video chat service akin to Apple’s FaceTime, along with several services that focus on home entertainment. These and other services will be made possible by the continued transition to faster 4G cellular data networks. “At some point, you can imagine replacing your home Internet service with your 4G phone,” Bramford said. “I think we’re on the cusp of that transformation where mobile products and living room life collide.” More →
What happened with smartphone OS’ overnight? Here’s what…
Apple released a second beta of their iOS 4.1 software to users enrolled in the Apple developer program. The biggest addition seen in the 4.1 code — when compared with the 4.0.1 code — is the inclusion of the Game Center for developers to begin testing.
Now, if you like to be edgier than beta — and rock Android — two unofficial builds of Android 2.2 for the recently released Samsung Galaxy S have been unleashed. If you’re feeling really adventurous, give it a whirl.
Also from the Android camp, Android 2.2 with Sense UI has been shoehorned onto the HTC DROID Incredible. This one is courtesy of the folks over at XDA and comes with the following warning: “A full wipe and 2.x radio is required.” As with all XDA posts, there is a pretty thorough guide to assist you.
Enjoy! More →
Pocket-lint has HTC’s global PR and online community manager, Eric Lin, on the record saying that his company will be “done with our Froyo updates before Christmas.” Lin explains that porting all of HTC’s applications (Sense UI. etc.) over to Android 2.2 and testing said software is no small task. The full quote is as follows:
“It takes time to port all of our applications over to Froyo and then make sure that it is running well on each of our devices. That’s not like a one week kind of project. We need to make sure that our applications are taking advantage of the Froyo features. To make sure that they’re all running properly on the OS now that it’s a new version. And then to make sure that it’s running on our hardware as well as we expect.”
This is one reason we would like to see manufacturers, and carriers, release less moded versions of Android; less testing for third-party apps, shorter QA time, and so on. What do you think Wildfire, Incredible and EVO owners? Is this the timeline you were expecting, or are you a little disappointed? More →
It might not have the raw power or good looks of the upcoming Samsung Captivate, but the HTC Aria is the best Android smartphone offered by AT&T. On sale as of Sunday, $129.99 Aria offers specs which include a 3.2″ HVGA display, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, 512MB ROM / 256MB RAM, and Android 2.1 with Sense UI. We don’t imagine it will be breaking AT&T sales records anytime soon (or ever, for that matter), but at least it’s more of a spirited effort than the BACKFLIP. More →
HTC just let us know that their team has been able to replicate the browser privacy issue we posted about a couple of days ago. Here’s the official statement:
HTC has identified the root cause of the DROID Incredible not deleting web page thumbnails after a factory reset, and is creating an update which will eliminate this issue. This will be distributed through a software maintenance release that will be pushed to devices in the near future. Until this time, consumers who wish to manually delete these thumbnails can do so by following these steps:
1) Go to the “Settings” menu
2) Select “SD Card and Phone Storage”
3) Select “Format Phone Storage”
*NOTE* This will delete all files in internal storage, including music and image files. So these files should be backed up before taking these steps.
Other Android devices with HTC Sense, like the DROID Eris, save these thumbnails to the SD card, instead of internal memory, so users can easily keep this information from being shared simply by removing the SD card from their device before trading in the device, sending in for repair, etc.
Since the Incredible memory is built in, it makes sense that this would happen, but it should be all good in no time.
Virgin Mobile is no longer the only Canadian carrier to offer the HTC Legend, as today its parent company, Bell, announced that it too will be carrying the milled aluminum handset. Sporting the same $79.99 price tag for those that opt for a 3-year contract, the only major difference between the two is that the Bell Legend goes for $399.99 off contract while the Virgin model goes for $349.99 with a 30-day commitment. Anyone in Canada thinking of picking this up, or are you going to sit tight and see what happens with the rumor of a Telus Desire? More →
According to TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, Google’s Android team is currently burning the midnight oil working on a UI refresh for it’s ever popular smartphone OS. People familiar with the matter claim that the goal of the refresh is to provide a better user experience which would in turn discourage companies like HTC and Motorola from creating custom UI overlays such as Sense and MOTOBLUR. Despite the popularity of some skins — HTC’s Sense in particular — they can be quite the headache for both Google and users as their being loaded onto a handset is a surefire way to cause temporary fragmentation as the skin has to be reworked for each subsequent OS release. More →
And the lovely deluge of hot summer smartphones continues, as today HTC announced that it will be bringing the 1GHz Snapdragon-powered Desire to the U.S. this August. The Desire will apparently be offered “via select regional operators”, although just who they are will remain a mystery until “we get closer to availability.” Any bets on how long it will be until the info leaks out? More →