Comment: HTC Needs To Hit It Out Of The Park With This Week’s Big Reveal

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“All in all, it offered up a good user experience but didn’t really do enough to sell itself over its competitors. It leaves a good impression but lacks staying-power.”It’s a common sentiment expressed towards HTC, and a market myth the
company look to have their sights on breaking through at this week’s big
reveal.

Teased as something special “for U”, HTC are clearly aiming to reorient the messaging and identity of the branding around their smartphone lineup.

Thanks to a few leaks, we have a little bit of an idea of what this
new direction might be. Based on the video clips sent out by Evan Blass
this week, speculation says that they’ll be pushing to make HTC more of a
lifestyle brand.

The question then changes from what that messaging is going to be and
becomes a question of what HTC needs to be to close the gap on players
like Samsung.

The answer: do what it’s competitors can’t.

On a technical level, HTC have already pretty much accomplished this.
Outside off LG’s experimental V20, no other mainstream smartphone brand
has successfully delivered 24-bit high-resolution audio. It’s the same
story when it comes to cameras. The camera in the HTC 10 features 12
million ‘UltraPixels’, faster laser autofocus and a DxOMark score of 88,
one of the highest camera quality ratings ever given to a smartphone.

On paper, HTC can back up their talk when it comes to technical
supremacy. Easily. The thing HTC is going to need to focus on then
becomes making that high-end potential user-friendly to a mass audience.
To achieve that, they don’t just need to innovate – they need to sell
that innovation correctly.

The new HTC Ocean Touch UI shown in Blass’ video leaks might be
exactly that. In the video, users are able to swiftly and easily open
straight into an application like the camera by sliding their finger
across the edge of the device. Within the clip itself, that function
looks elegant and intuitive.

However, the key will be whether or not HTC can get the level of
sensitivity correct. If the feature is too blunt, users will learn to
avoid using it intentionally and be frustrated when they use it on
accident. If it’s too finicky, they’ll shy away from the difficulty
curve that comes with engaging with it.

Other companies have tried to distinguish themselves in the
smartphone market by adding a new element to the vocabulary of mobile
user interfaces, HTC’s ability to rebrand itself may well hinge on their
ability to succeed where others have failed. With Apple teetering on
the edge of its throne and Samsung still yet to fully recover from the
Note 7, there’s no reason HTC couldn’t emerge confidently from the chaos
with a fresh take on things.

If they get it right, it could be key to HTC selling their 2017
range. Not just as a lifestyle product but an ambitious evolution of how
navigating a smartphone should feel.

Let’s see how they do.

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