Displaying items by tag: HTC
Alphabet-owned Google announced a definitive agreement with HTC on Sept. 21 under which HTC employees – many of whom are already working with Google to develop Pixel smartphones – will join Google. HTC will receive US$1.1 billion in cash from Google as part of the transaction. Separately, Google will receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to close by early 2018. It represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation technology hub.
The agreement is a “testaments to the decade-long strategic relationship between HTC and Google around the development of premium smartphones,” the two parties said in a press statement.
HTC said the agreement will support its continued branded smartphone strategy, enabling a more streamlined product portfolio, more operational efficiency and financial flexibility. The Taiwan-based company also insists it will “continue to have the best-in-class engineering talent” to work on its next flagship phone, following the launch of the HTC U11 this year.
“This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses,” said Chairwoman and CEO of HTC, Cher Wang. “We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”
HTC said it will continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its VIVE business, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI).
For California-based Google, the agreement will further its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business, the company said. In addition to the HTC professionals joining its team, Google said it will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family.
“HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market,” said Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google. “We’re excited and can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware.”
HTC’s smartphone unit is struggling, according to its financial results, with its August 2017 revenue ($100 million) down 54.4 percent year-on-year. Google is reportedly considering purchasing HTC’s smartphone unit, Taiwanese press has speculated, but not HTC’s Vive virtual reality (VR) business.
Alphabet-owned Google hasn’t confirmed the rumors, but discussions are said to be in progress, with a deal likely to be announced by the end of the year. It also isn’t clear if Google’s purchase of HTC’s smartphone unit would include the vendor’s smartphone intellectual property, although reports said Google would take on HTC’s R&D activities.
Google has moved forward in the hardware space recently, with the release of its Pixel devices. The company has also worked closely with HTC on such products, which makes a solidified relationship between the Californian and Taiwanese firms even more likely.
But HTC is said to have lost “elite engineers” to companies such as Huawei and Lenovo, according to Yuanta Securities analyst Jeff Pu, cited by Financial Times, who said the remaining top engineers “shouldn’t be too hard to poach away”. Knowing this, Google might think twice before moving in and acquiring HTC’s smartphone business.
This wouldn’t be the first time HTC has purchased a smartphone business. The company once owned Motorola until it sold the business to Chinese firm Lenovo. Google's ownership of the business would be short-lived, as it announced in January 2014 that it would sell most of ‘Motorola Mobility’ to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
HTC’s drop in smartphone revenue has been attributed to slowing sales of the flagship HTC U11 smartphone, according to Focus Taiwan. In a move to generate more cash, HTC – which reported its lowest monthly sales for August 2017 since 2004 – has reportedly been looking at expanding its Vive VR unit, which has brought more attention to the business.
Chinese firm DPVR overtook HTC as the top virtual reality (VR) headset vendor in China in Q2 2017, according to Canalys research, shipping 18,000 headsets, resulting in a 30 percent quarter-on-quarter increase. HTC, whose only product is the HTC Vive basic headset, suffered a 6 percent sequential decline, shipping 14,000 units.
Sony took third place in China, according to the research, shipping 9,000 PlayStation VR headsets. According to Canalys estimates, the overall VR headset market in China grew 25 percent quarter-on-quarter to reach 80,000 units. Notable vendors, including Pico, 3Glasses and Hypereal, contributed to growth with new product releases.
DPVR ships a variety of VR products, with a strong focus on standalone smart VR headsets, which accounted for 60 percent of its total shipments in Q2. The company benefited from a better product mix, according to Canalys, with the addition of the newly-released E3, a basic VR headset that tethers to a PC.
“The E3’s biggest selling point is its competitive price,” said Canalys Analyst Jason Low. “By dropping the barrier to entry, businesses are now investing more in VR. DPVR is winning contracts from B2B partners, including media content and service providers looking to deliver VR content to customers at home.”
DPVR shipped 7,000 E3s in Q2 2017, though it still trailed behind HTC and Sony in the basic VR headset segment.
In the second half of the year, Canalys expects the market to move toward smart VR headsets. HTC announced the recruitment of developers for its upcoming smart VR headset during ChinaJoy 2017, an entertainment expo held in Shanghai in July.
“HTC saw the need to quickly launch a standalone headset specifically for the Chinese market to follow the trend early,” said Low. But even as HTC drops the selling price, the current Vive system poses many challenges for both consumer and business adoption due to its complexity and the need for VR-ready PCs. “HTC will regain its top position in China if it produces an appealing standalone headset that is affordable yet capable of providing new use cases for both businesses and consumers.”
China’s consumer market remains challenging, especially for basic VR headsets that need an additional external computing device, according to Canalys. But Chinese vendors have identified opportunities that HTC and Sony missed.
“Hypereal, a newcomer to the industry, released the Pano, an affordable headset suitable for VR gaming on the PC, to fill the void caused by the absence of Oculus in China,” said Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia. “Vendors must lower prices while improving the user experience and content to drive growth and adoption in the consumer market. Pico demonstrated that it is possible to produce an appealing standalone headset while offering a decent VR experience for under CNY 2,000 (US$300).”
Canalys estimates that worldwide VR headset shipments reached 800,000 units in Q2 2017, with China accounting for 10 percent of the market.
For the second time this year, the price of Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset equipment dropped, fueling speculation that the technology has become difficult to sell. The price of the headsets was reduced to just $399 for the company’s ‘Summer of Rift’ sale. Oculus VP, Jason Rubin insists the reduction was an attempt at giving the hardware mass market appeal now that games are more available, but critics aren’t as optimistic.
VR emerged as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 when startup Oculus promised a transformative and immersive experience for users like never seen before. In 2016 the technology debuted commercially after Facebook purchased Oculus for $3 billion in 2014. Other successful VR brands include Sony’s PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive. VR was hailed as an entirely new form of technology that could revolutionize entertainment and communication.
“Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” said Facebook founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg after the company acquired Oculus in 2014. Zuckerberg’s VR ambitions have been met to a degree, but there are signs that Oculus Rift, among its competitors, hasn’t met its mark.
The price drop of the Oculus Rift has given rise to the belief that the hardware is too expensive and out of touch with everyday consumers, and that the only way to get more consumers on board is to make VR equipment more affordable and less high-end.
For the Summer of Rift sale, Oculus Rift headsets with matching controllers cost just $399 which is $400 less than when the product first hit the market, and $200 less than when its price was initially slashed in March. The price cut propelled the Oculus Rift to the bottom of the price chain, making it even more affordable than its cheapest rival, Sony, which sells PlayStation VR at $460 including headset and controllers.
In an interview with Reuters, Oculus vice president, Jason Rubin defended the hardware price cut against those who suggested it was initiated because the product was failing to sell. He said the reduction wasn’t a sign of weak product sales, but rather a move to give the Oculus Rift headset more mass appeal now that VR games are more available.
However, critics have been quick to highlight the fact that Oculus has faced its fair share of controversy lately, including the closing of its nascent film studio, as well as the shutdown of many in-store VR demo stations, and a controversial intellectual property lawsuit.
In February, Oculus was ordered to pay half a billion dollars to the gaming company ZeniMax after a jury determined that Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement. ZeniMax sued the virtual reality startup in May 2014, months after it was acquired by Facebook. The game-maker alleged Oculus had improperly used code from ZeniMax to build its VR headset. Oculus said it would appeal the decision adding that the company was committed to the “long-term success of VR”.
The continual price drops in Oculus VR hardware are great for consumers wanting to try out the technology at an affordable price, but it certainly raises the issue of whether or not Facebook is concerned about the product’s market penetration and the overall entry price of virtual reality technology. There are also concerns that consumers are reluctant to try the clunky headsets which are unfamiliar to them.
CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber told Technology Review: “I think in a store environment getting people to sit down and go through that experience [demo] of getting a headset on and getting set up is quite a difficult thing to achieve.”
Blaber believes VR will appeal to a larger market once companies can convince consumers that the technology is about more than just gaming. Another important characteristic holding back VR’s mass appeal, according to analysts, is that the high-end systems require a PC with very high specs which makes consumers reluctant to purchase the hardware knowing there are high costs involved.
There’s speculation that Oculus dropped the price of its VR hardware because it’s planning to drop something better soon. Consumers will be aware that it has been more than a year since the first-generation of systems from HTC and Oculus were launched and they will be anticipating when the next, more advanced hardware will come along. Consumers might be thinking: ‘Is it really worth spending all that money now for VR hardware that could soon be second best?’
In addition, Oculus will now have a better chance of competing against its rival HTC Vive which sells for $799 ($300 more expensive than the Oculus Rift). Oculus will be keen to expand its market share, which is currently around half of HTC’s, according to Steam Hardware & Software Survey of June 2017. HTC Vive is the most popular VR headset, the survey reports, followed by Oculus Rift.
Could mobile be the solution?
The VR industry is set to become a $7 billion business this year, according to an April 2017 report by Greenlight Insights, which also predicts that global VR revenues will totally close to $75 billion by 2021. But these estimates must be taken with a grain of salt, because the main players in VR headsets haven’t yet revealed any actual sales numbers for their equipment. HTC Vive and Oculus have been silent about their figures so far.
Samsung, however, has come forward with promising results from sales of its mobile Gear VR headsets. In an official announcement during a press conference at CES 2017 in January, the company said more than 5 million of its headsets were already in consumers’ hands globally. The company also said those users have watched more than 10 million hours of video in Gear VR, and the mobile headset is currently available in 20,000 retail stores across the US.
Google also shared the success of mobile virtual reality with its Daydream VR headsets. 260,000 of the headsets were sold in the last quarter of 2016, according to SuperData Research; however, Google hasn’t yet revealed any official numbers. The company also says more than 10 million of its Cardboard viewer headsets have shipped worldwide, with 160 million downloads of Cardboard apps on Google Play.
The success of Google and Samsung’s mobile VR headsets suggests that VR for smartphones could be the way to attract mass appeal to the technology. HTC has caught on to the trend and is expected to soon follow up the Vive with a new VR mobile system. HTC’s president of global sales, Chia-lin Chang, said the company has a “good plan in terms of combining mobility with VR” in a recent interview with CNET in Singapore.
HTC is also focused on creating more content for VR, especially since the amount of fresh VR content that appeared at CES was “underwhelming” according to analysts who attended the event. HTC relies on the success of its VR products due to its stumbling core phone business, and is working hard, according to Chairman and CEO Cher Wang, to foster more VR content to keep the industry humming.
“We have learned much from our entrance into the world of virtual reality,” said Wang, “and we believe our focused approach to building the ecosystem is the right strategy to enable the whole industry to expand through the creation of compelling content and rich experiences.”
Inspired by the power of touch and the Brilliant U, HTC unveiled HTC U11, the world’s first smartphone with revolutionary new squeeze interaction. The highly-anticipated HTC U11 sets a new standard of what you can expect from a smartphone by combining revolutionary new squeeze interaction with a stunning liquid-surface design, intelligent personal audio, amazing cameras, and multiple AI assistants for a smarter smartphone.
The new smartphone features HTC Edge Sense, the next dimension in touch interaction with your phone; Liquid Surface design; HTC USonic, an advanced headset for personal audio, now including Active Noise Cancellation; amazing cameras with the highest independent rating ever awarded to a smartphone camera (based on DxOMark ratings: dxomark.com/Mobile); and HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa for a smarter, more helpful smartphone.
HTC Edge Sense transforms touch sense into a completely new and revolutionary interaction with your phone. With a simple squeeze, HTC Edge Sense lets you easily engage with your phone in an unprecedented yet intuitive way, helping you more naturally enjoy the things you love like taking photos, opening Facebook, or launching any of your favorite apps.
The HTC Edge Sense feature makes your camera easier to use. No more fumbling for buttons or awkward hand positions. No more worrying about dropping your phone while you pose. Just lift, squeeze, smile, and snap. You can also send texts faster and easier than before. Texting can be impossible when you are on the move, but using HTC Edge Sense for Voice to Text, you can speak your text messages without having to slow down. Lightly squeeze, speak your message and send your texts on the go.
You can even customize the squeeze gesture: open email with just a squeeze. Or launch your favorite game (or any other app). Or pick any one of a host of options. Want even more touch control? HTC Edge Sense gives you the ability to activate advanced touch and use a “short squeeze” as well as a “squeeze and hold” for even more functionality at your fingertips.
HTC U11’s liquid glass surface is crafted to impress using Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition. By layering highly-refractive precious minerals across the phone’s back cover, THC has created vivid new colors that transform light with every movement you make. The new seamless, curved look of HTC U11 is achieved with 3D glass on both front and back. Heating and then bending the glass using extreme pressure results in unique, 3-axis symmetry for a phone that is slim no matter which way you hold it.
HTC U11 has a 5.5” Quad HD 3D glass screen designed for vivid, crisp images and text in any light – even direct sunlight. HTC provides you a purer full-framed viewing experience - its display avoids the cropped pictures or distorted colors at the edge that are the results you can expect from a curved screen. What’s more, the device is water-resistant.
HTC U11 is the first smartphone to be commercially released worldwide that is exclusively powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. Every HTC U11 also includes UFS 2.1 for an extremely fast processor, paired with the fastest memory performance.
Experience Gigabit Class LTE (up to 1Gbps) with the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which is designed to deliver fiber optic speeds on the go for lightning-fast music and video downloads and to get almost instant access to the web, social media sites or your content in the cloud. You get 25% faster graphics than the HTC 10, with 35% or 3 hours more video playback, 30% or 8 hours more music playback and 43% or 3.5 hours longer web browsing time via an LTE network.
The HTC U11, will be available in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Solar Red. All together, the HTC U11 sets a new standard by HTC of what you can expect from a smartphone.
HTC Vive, a leader in room-scale Virtual Reality (VR), announced the first grant recipients in its ‘VR for Impact’ program. VR for Impact is Vive’s $10 million commitment to drive VR content and technologies that will increase awareness and create positive impact in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Vive is commemorating Earth Day by unveiling projects from three creators with unique visions for how VR can address the UN’s set of defined goals for the planet such as “Climate Action” and “Zero Hunger.” These projects include SpaceVR, the first virtual reality satellite launching into space later this year, Tree, a creatively immersive perspective on deforestation, and The Extraordinary Honey Bee, a joint project with Häagen-Dazs, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE to raise awareness about dwindling bee populations. All projects that receive funding by VR for Impact will be available on Viveport, HTC’s app store for VR.
“We believe virtual reality and the immersive experiences it delivers have the potential to positively impact the biggest challenges that mankind faces,” said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport, HTC Vive. “We welcome the first VR for Impact grant recipients who will introduce VR as a powerful tool in raising awareness for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and what better way to mark Earth Day than to unveil projects with three unique visions for helping the planet.”
Vive launched VR for Impact as a multi-year program, and SpaceVR, Tree and The Extraordinary Honey Bee represent the first grants awarded. Vive is planning to announce additional grant recipients for 2017 through the end of the year.
SpaceVR is the world’s first virtual reality platform allowing users to experience space first hand through the immersion of VR. Founded in 2015, the team has built the first VR satellite, the Overview 1, which will launch later this year on Space X. Once in orbit, SpaceVR will stream video that users can experience in full virtual reality or as 360-degree video. For more information on SpaceVR, please visit www.spacevr.co.
“We’re thrilled to be chosen as one of the first participants in HTC Vive’s VR for Impact program,” said Ryan Holmes, CEO of SpaceVR. “We share a vision with Vive that VR and its power to immerse and affect viewers like no other medium can be used to make the world a better place. By launching the first virtual reality satellite, we want to create the most vivid and visceral reminder yet that despite our individual trials and travails, we all live on this same fragile pale blue dot hurtling through space.”
Tree is a critically acclaimed virtual reality experience enhanced by haptic feedback to immerse viewers in the tragic fate that befalls a rainforest tree. The experience brings to light the harrowing realities of deforestation, one of the largest contributors to global warming. Tree is an official selection of Sundance Film Festival New Frontier and Tribeca Film Festival Immersive 2017.
“We are incredibly honoured to announce our collaboration with the Vive VR for Impact program,” said Milica Zec, co-director on Tree and co-founder of New Reality Company. “New Reality shares with VR for Impact a core tenet: that VR storytelling is key to raising awareness for the many challenges facing our earth.”
Added Winslow Porter, co-director on Tree and co-founder of New Reality Company: “The Tree VR experience has incited emotional, empowering reactions among a wide array of viewers. During the final moments of Tree, a number of individuals have cried or shouted while in the headset and vowed afterward to take action. Together with VR for Impact, we want to reach people from all over the world to help make widespread global impact.”
The Extraordinary Honey Bee is a joint project with Häagen-Dazs, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE looking at the alarming rate at which bee populations are falling. In Honey Bee, users will shrink down to the size of a bee for a guided VR experience where they learn of the risks bee colonies face and solutions currently being implemented to offset their decline.
“We believe in the transformative and educational power of VR and are excited to use this technology to bring the plight of the honey bee to life,” said Orchid Bertelsen, Nestlé USA Digital Innovation Lead. “We are thrilled to partner with Vive, not only because of their innovative technology and valuable audience, but because of their ideals and shared belief of harnessing the power of VR to drive true impact."
HTC Vive and Warner Bros. announced a strategic partnership in which HTC Vive will be the exclusive VR partner for all content, online and offline activations for the highly anticipated theatrical and home entertainment release of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
Adapted from the book by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a sci-fi action thriller that unfolds largely within the virtual reality space. The film is slated for global theatrical release on March 30, 2018, from Warner Bros. Pictures, Amblin Partners and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Vive will produce multiple pieces of VR content tied to the world of Ready Player One. This content will be available to users through Viveport, which will distribute the content globally across all VR in-home platforms, from high-end PC based VR systems to mobile solutions.
In addition, Vive plans to bring Ready Player One-inspired content to its Viveport Arcade platform for location-based entertainment as well as showcase the VR experiences and games at many of the biggest global consumer events through the year.
“The virtual reality world within Ready Player One is extremely advanced, sophisticated and engaging, and with Vive, we chose the best system to represent the future of VR. Vive is the perfect partner to bring that to life and also has the broadest reach to global markets for the use of VR in home, mobile and offline channels,” said Blair Rich, Warner Bros. Pictures President, Worldwide Marketing. “We’re delighted that HTC Vive will be partnering with Ready Player One and very excited to work with them leading up the movie’s release in Spring 2018.”
“Ready Player One is one of the most anticipated movies in the world, and has tremendous potential to engage and entertain the worldwide market, showcasing the transformative nature of VR, and what it can and will be,” said Rikard Steiber, President, Viveport.
“Vive is delivering on the promise of VR and continues to be the most advanced and immersive VR experience available to consumers, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Warner Bros. to bring these experiences to consumers, on all platforms, around the globe.”
Taiwan-based HTC posted disappointing Q4 results this month, with analysts suggesting that its hyped up virtual reality (VR) products failed to boost revenue for the smartphone manufacturer. HTC’s revenue from October to December 2016 was down 13.62 percent year on year to Tw$22.2 billion ($720 million).
The company did, however, see an improvement in net loss which was Tw$3.1 billion year on year compared with Tw$3.4 billion. But it marks the seventh consecutive quarter that HTC has suffered a loss. The company has been struggling in the smartphone market to compete against heavyweights like Apple and Samsung, and also strong Chinese brands like Huawei.
For the year 2016, the company posted revenue of Tw$78.16 billion, down 35.77 percent from the previous year. HTC’s losses narrowed 32 percent to Tw$10.5 billion from the previous year, which has been attributed to non-operating gains such as foreign exchange.
“The results were much worse than expected,” said Jeff Pu, analyst at Yuanta Securities. “Although its VR line launched in April helped revenues, the scale is too small to offset rapid sales declines of its smartphones.”
HTC claims that its new smartphone models launched in the fourth quarter were well received by the public, as it continued to build the HTC Vive virtual reality system, which included opening the first Vive-based arcade in Taipei, Taiwan. HTC was one of the early players to venture into VR and even initiated an informal alliance to develop the sector which includes Warner Brothers, Alibaba and Valve.
“We have learnt much from our entrance into the world of virtual reality, and we believe that… our HTV Vive is at the forefront of that market,” said HTC chairwoman and CEO Cher Wang in a statement.
There were some incredible gadgets and devices on display at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, but one domestic appliance really stood out! Samsung’s latest vision for the connected family was unveiled at CES with the talking fridge getting people talking literally, excuse the pun!
Last year, the company released the Family Hub Fridge, which proved to be a big hit with consumers. The fridge was equipped with a king-size touch-screen, cameras positioned on the inside of the appliance in order to help you keep track of food and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, their newest upgrade of the Family Hub Fridge is set to be an even bigger success.
At CES 2017, Samsung launched its brand new line-up of fridges called ‘Family Hub 2.0’. Not only has it expanded the collection to 10 models, the fridge can now also be controlled via voice commands! In a design that has drawn comparisons to that of the LG connected fridge, it was disclosed that you can ask the Samsung Family Hub 2.0 to read out recipes, tell you what your itinerary for the day is, and inform you of anything you may need from the shops.
That’s not the only task and duty this incredible connected appliance can do – it will also dish out recipes based on the contents of your fridge and allows you to order food through a click of a button if supplies are running low. The connected smart appliance is the latest in a number of gadgets designed to transform your home into a ‘smart home’ with a range of innovative products.
In addition to the above, the Family Hub 2.0 also allows each family member to create a profile to run simultaneously with calendars, to-do lists and personalised messages. New collaborations with Spotify and iHeart-Radio also mean you can ask your fridge to serenade you whilst doing the dishes or preparing a meal.
Since the huge popularity of Amazon’s Alexa, not to mention the increased functionality of Siri and Google Assistant, voice-controlled assistants are becoming an increasingly integral part of the connected home.
Huawei release new smartphone aimed at challenging the iPhone
While many vendors wait until the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February to reveal their new range of smartphones for 2017, some took the decision to officially unveil their new products at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. One such vendor was Chinese company Huawei, who released a fabulous new android device aimed at challenging the iPhone called the Huawei Honor 6X.
The company have outlined a clear vision with the introduction of the Huawei Honor 6X and that is to take on the iPhone. Huawei’s primary aim is to lure away users (especially millennials) from the much-loved iPhone.
Management at Huawei have been greatly encouraged by the initial reaction to their new device. Its customer satisfaction scores on par with those of Apple’s iPhone. Advantages of the Honor 6X over the latest iPhones, says Huawei, is stronger battery life (at up to two days for average usage), a speedy octa-core processor and a far lower price starting at $249.99. The Honor 6X also comes with a dual-camera setup, improved photo editing software and high-definition video capabilities.
The Huawei Honor 6X is priced at $244.99 (3GB RAM, 32GB of storage) or $299.99 (4GB, 64GB of storage).
Nokia finally unveils long-awaited Android at CES 2017
Nokia finally remerged into the mainstream mobile market at CES 2017 with the introduction of its new android phone named the Nokia 6.
Nokia’s latest device the Nokia 6 is only available in China. However, there are fortunately more Nokia android phones to come with a big announcement expected at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona according to Nokia’s Facebook account. This Nokia 6 is merely just a taster.
Back in the early 00’s, Nokia were market leaders in the mobile phone industry, but the Finnish multinational corporation suffered a dramatic fall from grace. Once the biggest and best-known mobile phone manufacturer, following some tough competition from iPhone and Android Nokia in 2011 made the fatal mistake of agreeing to produce only Windows phones. In 2014 it packed up its mobile phone game and sold its business to Microsoft. Fast-forward to 2017, and with Android onboard, this could be the Nokia comeback we've been waiting for.
It's still not quite Nokia as we know it, since Finnish brand HMD Global currently owns the rights to develop, build and sell Nokia-branded phones - although it does so with Nokia's input.
The decision to launch the Nokia 6 only in China is "a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world.” With over 552 million smartphone users in China in 2016, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 593 million users by 2017, it is a strategically important market where premium design and quality is highly valued by consumers.
VR a hot topic, but HTC lead the way with a number of amazing products
Virtual Reality (VR) was once again a hot topic at CES – and in truth it was everywhere in the convention centre – with countless booths displaying headsets and accessories. A large volume of studious and creators used CES to either launch or preview new experiences. But the biggest advancements may not be available to consumers for another year or two.
But the real winner in VR at CES was clearly HTC. The company not only unveiled its tracker, which makes it possible to turn toy guns, baseball bats and even fire hoses into trackable VR controllers. HTC also committed to building a standalone wireless VR headset, announced a VR subscription service and unveiled a content marketplace for VR arcade operators.
HTC’s efforts to monetize VR content could help smaller producers to see some return for their work. Right now, VR app stores favor popular apps, which tend to be video games, while burying some of the non-gaming and cinematic content.
It was further disclosed at CES that HTC will launch a new tracking module, subscription service for Vive VR. Viveport President, Rickard Steiber said: “Offering a subscription service can help with these kinds of discovery problems, and to entice consumers to give lesser-known fare a try.” “If you are app number 500 on that list, you are going to be very eager to be in the subscription plan,” he added. Steiber also said that subscriptions could enable more episodic content, and suggested that HTC could over time launch separate subscription packages for different types of content.
HTC recently unveiled its new series of phones: the flagship U Ultra device and the more affordable U Play device. Both handsets feature a glossy, glass body built using a technique HTC called Liquid Surface construction. Arguably the most interesting feature is the U Ultra’s miniature secondary display on the front, which gives users quick access to apps and contacts, as well as reminders and notifications.
The HTC U Ultra features a 2.0-inch mini-display with a resolution of 160x1040, with a 5.7-inch primary LCD screen with a resolution of 2560x1440. Inside the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage capacity, a MicroSD slot, and a not-so-impressive 3,000mAh battery. The handset also features a fingerprint scanner integrated into the home button for user verification.
What’s more, The HTC U Ultra features a 12 MP rear camera that has optical image stabilization and HTC’s Ultrapixel sensor, in addition to a standard front-facing camera with an impressive 16MP resolution. Following in the footsteps of the HTC Bolt, the U Ultra handset has abandoned the standard headphone jack and replaced it with a unified USB-C port. However, HTC has kept its trademarked ‘BoomSound’ speaker technology.
HTC has introduced its own version of a digital assistant with the U Ultra handset. ‘Sense Companion’ will support various integrations with the secondary display, which allows for voice and touch interactions without having to power up the primary screen of the device.
In comparison to the U Ultra, HTC’s U Play is a more affordable option, which comes with a downgraded 5.2-inch 1080p LCD screen and doesn’t feature a secondary display like the U Ultra. The device comes with a less powerful MediaTek Helio processor. It features a MicroSD slot, and will be available in various configurations of storage and RAM, including 32GB/64GB and 3GB/4GB.
Unlike the U Ultra, the U Play handset features a much more conventional 16MP rear camera with a F/2.0 lens, which is the same as the front-facing camera module. The U Play’s camera doesn’t feature an UltraPixel sensor like the U Ultra or optical image stabilization functionality. However, both handsets are powered by Android 7.0 with similar custom features and functionalities.
The HTC U Ultra is available for pre-orders on HTC’s website at a starting price of $749, and will be shipped to customers in March 2017. No price has been released for the HTC U Play yet – it’s expected to hit the shelves in early 2017.