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HTC Unveils Revamped HTC One 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-the-loneliest-number dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Earlier today, HTC unveiled a revamped version of its One smartphone. The new HTC One has a 4.7-inch full HD 1080p display which is powered by a 1.7-GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor and a customized version of Android. The new phone includes support for NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and DLNA for wireless streaming to a TV or computer. Measuring 5.4 by 2.7 by 0.36 inches, the phone weighs around 5 ounces. According to the specs, the phone will come with either 32 or 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, and it's backed by a non-removable 2300mAh battery. Unfortunately the phone doesn't include a memory card slot and has just two ports: a headphone jack and a MicroUSB that doubles as an MHL output for HDMI TVs. HTC One's 'UltraPixel' camera is nothing to sniff at either. HTC is trying to replace megapixels with 'ultrapixels,' cutting down the size of photos but using much larger individual pixels to sharply reduce noise and improve low-light performance. In a quick comparison with iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, One's images were far clearer and brighter. The HTC One runs Android 4.1.2 with HTC's new Sense 5."
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HTC Unveils Revamped HTC One

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  • A lesson for HTC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maow (620678) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:20PM (#42947213) Journal

    Dear HTC,

    I love the hardware on my HTC Amaze 4G but I'm sorry to say that I cannot buy another HTC phone.

    I'm telling you why so you can reverse the decline you've been suffering.

    1) Allow users to remove / not load HTC Sense and opt for the pure Android experience. Sense is lovely, but sometimes I don't want to use up resources on it.

    2) Make your phones (more) hacker friendly. There is no CyanogenMod available for this phone because the drivers weren't released in a timely manner (if I understand the issue correctly), therefore the development community moved on to other phones and it isn't supported.

    3) Stop it with the non-removable batteries and lack of external SD card slots.

    4) UPDATES for Android! My phone updated from 2.3.4 to 4.0.3, but I'm still waiting for 4.1 (and doubt I'll see 4.2). Unacceptable. If you make it easier for CyanogenMod, etc. to run on your older phones, IMHO it will raise your presence in the dev community and increase your exposure / perceived value. You need the dev community to support your phones. With the ability to run CM, you then won't need to issue support for older phones if you don't desire to, as we can update our phones ourselves.

  • Physics wins (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:39PM (#42947389)

    Given that a cell phone has a certain range of thicknesses, you only get a small choice of focal depths -- roughly the camrea thickness - (imager thickness + front case thickness). That limits the useful physical size of your imager. Given the race for megapixels, each cell on the imager has gotten smaller, which translates directly to higher noise and, in particular, reducing max possible low light performance. In other words, cell phone pictures are shitty in poor light. By increasing the size of the pixels in the imager, you greatly improve the SNR of the system, which improves low light performance. Given that most of these pictures aren't going any further than facebook or texting to a friend, the pixels that don't show up don't matter, but the noise figure does. This is a win for everyone except instagram.

  • Re:Camera? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:49PM (#42947507) Homepage

    The biggest problem with cell phone cameras is that the pixels are small and not sensitive. HTC decided to go with fewer, bigger pixels that collect more light and are more sensitive. I'd much rather have a 4 MP picture with less grain and noise than an 8 MP picture with more grain and noise. After all, you only look at the pictures at around 2 MP max.

  • Re:Hmmmm .... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@nOspaM.cornell.edu> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:51PM (#42947537) Homepage

    Other than the "ultrapixel" marketing bullshit - a lower resolution camera IS better at the sensor sizes of mobile devices.

    There's a reason Canon dropped from 14 to 10 going from the G10 to G11 (or was it G9 to G10?) - yes, they DROPPED resolution in their flagship P&S.

    It's well known to experienced photographers that more pixels = less area per pixel = lower dynamic range (more noise) per pixel, especially in low light.

    Especially since there's a fixed amount of "overhead" per pixel taking up sensor area - as the pixels are packed more densely, that overhead becomes a higher percentage of the sensor area that is wasted.

    10+ megapixels, even 8, is simply way too much for the sensor size of mobile devices. A mobile device with 75% of the pixel count of a DSLR but only 25% or less of the physical sensor area = guaranteed to be shit in anything but sunlight.

  • by dinther (738910) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:59PM (#42947609) Homepage

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S3. The damn thing only last a day and that means NOT using turn by turn navigation or 3D gaming. It would not make it through the day otherwise. For my holiday I purchased a dirt cheap battery with replacement back that more then doubles the battery capacity although it makes the phone twice as thick. I thought I'd use it only for the holiday but the fact I no longer need to turn the screen light to minimum and I can use whatever app I want made me continue to use this big battery. The thicker phone is easier to hold as well.

    As for SD cards. As people that dropped their phone in the water how they recovered their data. It if is an SD card it can be dried and it will work. Build in memory required the rest of the phone circuitry to work in order to get the data off.

    To me a closed phone (Fixed battery, fixed memory and customized (raped) android) is a lesser phone. My next phone will be from the Google Nexus line.

  • Physics (Score:5, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @04:06PM (#42947711) Journal

    Lower res pictures with bigger pixels? That sounds more like "we've put in a lower resolution camera, and that's better".

    No, it's better - provided they have made the pixels bigger. I'm sick of phones with so-called multi-megapixel cameras, which give noisy photos in the best of circumstances. A typical 8 Mpix sensor would be much better as a 2 Mpix sensor of the same total detector size and sensitivity, and sometimes, they should have even fewer pixels with the the same total detector area and sensitivity.

    Here's the essential info: shot noise [wikipedia.org] is unavoidable - it's intrinsic in the physics of photon arrival at the detector. The sigma of the output noise is the square root of the number of photoelectrons.

    So if you have a crappy electron well that can hold 10^4 photoelectrons when full (a "decent" cellphone camera), the signal to noise ratio is barely 100 (10^4 divided by square root of 10^4). Similarly, the photon flux per pixel in good lighting will rarely exceed 10^5 photons per second per pixel, due to the tiny lens aperture and small pixel size. It's unsurprising that the images are utter crap, as the output gain must be cranked up (amplifying noise as well as signal) to get any shot in less than 1/100 second. People downsize their images in almost all circumstances, unless they're happy with blurry and/or noisy images. FWIW, this is borne out by my experience with my own Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia E70, my daughter's HTC Desire Z, a colleague's Nokia 920, a friend's Samsung Galaxy S2, another colleague's iPhone 4, and various other Nokia, Samsung, and Siemens phones belonging to family and friends They are all crappy in nearly all circumstances[*], unless downsized 2:1 or more (i.e. at most one quarter of the pixels).

    In a DSLR, the much larger electron well means that a pixel can hold up to 10^6 photoelectrons, so the signal to noise ratio is closer to 10^3. Similarly, the larger aperture (there's a reason for those big lenses) and larger detector pixels mean that it gets a flux of more than 10^8 photoelectrons per second per pixel in typical lighting. That's why even action shots in 1/1000sec exposure can be sharp and have relatively low noise.

    [*] Exception: a relatively long exposure shot of a still life scene, or a deliberately extended exposure shot of running water or similar (with hand support to improve steadiness), say 1/15 sec or thereabouts. Not what cameras in phones are commonly used for...

  • by static416 (1002522) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @04:59PM (#42948351)

    Interesting ideas, but to play devils advocate, there are many problems with what you propose.

    Primarily, this many SKU's is completely uneconomical for a company that's already seeing declining sales and profit margin. It's not just the number of models, it's the fact that they'll have to make multiple versions of each one for each country and carrier, and storage capacity.

    -- HTC Universal: In addition to all the flavours of 3G/H+, you want support for all LTE frequencies? Good luck with that. Even assuming that it's technologically and financially feesible to cram that many different radios into one handset, it's still not useful. Many CDMA providers will not let you bring a phone to their network that has not been purchased through their stores. Even some GSM providers that can't block it will make it as difficult as they can. Even then, how many people really need access to more than 2 networks at most? The market would be incredibly small, and the cost of the phone would be enormous.

    -- HTC Marathon: Interesting. But it's probably more reasonable to just sell one phone of any type with an option of multiple officially supported battery sizes.

    -- HTC Pure: It's possible, and I'd buy it, but chances are it won't happen. Officially selling a non-Nexus pure-Android phone implies that your Sense brand is not as great as you'd like. So it's unlikely.

    -- HTC Tinker: There is no way you'll ever get a phone that officially supports both Android and WP8. Microsoft would never allow that. And there is no convincing non-carrier reason you need to lock your bootloader on any device. Having a specific version just for the unlocked bootloader seems wasteful. Just unlock them all.

    Overall, it makes more sense to just make one or two phones and include whatever of these options are feasible.

    So instead of everything you proposed, they could just release the HTC One with an unlocked bootloader, varying internal storage, provide downloads for officially supported AOSP images, and multiple battery sizes. That's actually feasible and economical. That doesn't satisfy every possible niche, but it gets to the big ones, and the increase in production/engineering cost is much less significant.

    But it still won't happen. Fact is that the cost of catering to these niches is probably far more than then the associated increase in revenue. Best you can hope for is an unlocked bootloader.

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