Does HTC One smartphone disappoint?

Telecom Lead Asia: HTC One smartphone has received several reviews by media and analysts. is presenting a select few.

HTC One smartphone belongs to the big camp of smartphones running Google’s Android software. Collectively, they’re the big alternative to the iPhone, though no one model outsells the iPhone. What makes the HTC One really stand out is that it’s the only phone that can match Apple’s standards of feel and finish, AP reported.

HTC has tied up with Reliance Communications to launch HTC One smartphone in India for a price of Rs 42,900. The delay in launching HTC One in India and other markets has already affected the company’s revenue and profit.

A camera shortage was the reason for the HTC One’s delay and only three markets have now received the new phone in the first quarter instead of a planned 80. The new smartphone will now be up against Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which is available for purchase later in the month.

Despite 2012 being a disappointing year for HTC, the company managed to finish out in the number four spot in IDC’s top smartphone vendors for 2012. According to IDC, HTC shipped 32.6 million smartphones in 2012, accounting for 4.6 percent of all smartphone shipped across the globe last year. HTC’s shipment numbers came in 25.2 percent lower than the 43.6 million smartphones HTC shipped in 2011.

HTC’s focus on One smartphone will drive the growth in 2013. But a couple of analysts and media say HTC One is a basic Android phone.

At its core, the HTC One is still a basic Android phone. But like most manufacturers, HTC tweaked the operating system and added its own “skin” called Sense that has a slightly different design, plus other features not found in Google’s basic version of Android, according to a report in BusinessInsider.

According to AP, HTC One’s software disappoints. “Another hardware feature that reaches but doesn’t deliver is the infrared diode on the top edge. Through it, the phone can control your TV or cable box. But setting up the software is daunting. I was confronted with going through a list of 1,800-plus channels and manually selecting which ones I get from my cable provider. Even if I were to set this up, I still couldn’t control the DVR functions of the cable box from the phone. So as a replacement for the remote, the HTC One falls short,” AP says.

The phone’s other big shortcoming isn’t really new, or unique to this model. Rather, the problem is that HTC is doing what it’s always done, and what competitors like Samsung do, too. It can’t leave Android alone, but tinkers with it to “improve” it and put its own stamp on it.

The result is a baffling interface, with four different “home” screens from which to launch apps. It might reward those who take the time to customize it and really get to know it, but most people aren’t like that. They’re better served by simple, consistent interface. Google recognizes this and keeps Android relatively simple on its own Nexus line of phones. HTC and Samsung seem determined to make things complicated.

Arvind Krishna
[email protected]