HTC Unveils One M9, a Wearable, and a VR Headset
HTC managed to turn plenty of heads with its presentation yesterday at the Mobile World Congress that’s currently underway in Barcelona, revealing not just its latest flagship smartphone, but also its first wearable fitness tracker, and a virtual reality headset developed in cooperation with none other than Valve. The One M9, the Grip, and the Vive make up an impressive trio of new products out of HTC, and could take the company in some interesting new directions.
The One M9 was one of the less surprising announcements from out of HTC so far. In fact, it looks nearly identical to the M8, and has many of the same specs, as we’ve noted before. Here’s what the One M9 has under the hood:
- Android 5.0, HTC Sense 7
- 5-inch, full HD 1080p display
- HTC BoomSound with Dolby Audio
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU, 4 x 2GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz
- 64-bit processing
- Total storage: 32GB
- RAM: 3GB
- Expandable: microSD™ expansion supports additional memory cards up to 128GB (optional cards not included)
- 20MP rear camera with sapphire cover lens
- Battery Capacity: 2840mAh
- Talk time: Up to 25.4 hours for 2G / 21.7 hours for 3G
- Standby time: Up to 391 hours for 2G / 402 hours for 3G
In all, this is a great phone. It’s also merely a power upgrade to last year’s phone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with tweaking a great device to be better. But if HTC was hoping to get folks talking about its new flagship, it probably won’t happen with the One M9. Then again, one of the only reasons everyone’s talking about the Samsung Galaxy S6 is because it’s such a huge departure from the S5, which was basically a disappointment. In short, the new One M9 looks just as good as the One M8 did last year – and let’s hope that’s enough to keep people coming back to the company’s great phones.
But it’s the Grip and the Vive that have got the most people talking about HTC this week. The Grip is a fitness tracker made in cooperation with Under Armour, and it runs a real-time operating system – not Android Wear (though that shouldn’t me much of a surprise given that the device simply isn’t a smartwatch). It comes in three sizes, and sports a built-in GPS sensor, 16 MB of flash memory, and 8 MB of SRAM. The Grip is also cross-compatible with iOS and Android devices, which is a great way to ensure that it’ll have the widest possible consumer potential possible.
The Vive is Valve and HTC’s attempt to out-Oculus Oculus. The developer edition of the Vive will be available this Spring, while HTC promises a consumer version planned for the end of the year – and that’s pretty huge considering Oculus has yet to announce a release window for its long in-development Rift. We won’t know much about how it stacks up until folks start to post comparisons to the latest Rift headsets, but if it’s coming from a partnership with Valve, there’s a good bet it’ll make gamers happy.
The Vive looks incredibly cool, and could end up beating Oculus to market by many months. If it can deliver in terms of performance, the VR gaming revolution could be right around the corner.
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