Three of the nation's four largest wireless providers either already offer or will soon offer a version of HTC’s new One series. AT&T launched the One X last Sunday; T-Mobile now sells the One S; and beginning Friday, Sprint will offer the HTC EVO 4G LTE (which isn’t by name, but might as well be a One device). Verizon Wireless, however, has remained mum about the One series until now.
Earlier today, HTC spokesperson Jeff Gordon told Android Authority, “Verizon is not going to be carrying either of the HTC One devices currently announced.” Instead of a One X or One S, which reviews across the Web are commending for their topnotch quality, Verizon will launch the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE.
But, as our own Evan Selleck explained last week, that doesn't really make any sense. Aside from some minor discrepancies (like the S3 processor in the Rezound versus the newer, faster S4 in the Incredible or the largely different displays on the two devices), the HTC Rezound and DROID Incredible 4G LTE are very similar devices.
Ever since the beginning of the DROID campaign, Verizon has been all-in on Android. And yet the upcoming Incredible will be Verizon's most well-rounded Android smartphone. That said, as the name alludes, it's largely a middle-of-the-pack offer. There is nothing outstanding about the DROID Incredible 4G LTE, not even its name. Its display is a 4-inch qHD (540 by 960 pixels) S-LCD, not 720p or of S-LCD2 type like the One X. Its body is nearly 3mm thicker than the One X (or nearly 4mm thicker than the One S), yet it has a smaller battery and less desirable aesthetics and build quality.
Nothing about the DROID Incredible 4G LTE signifies a flagship device while everything about the One series does, even if the devices aren't all that different on paper. Take the One S and Incredible, for instance. The differences are very minor, but the devices have very different appeal.
I've said it before, Evan has said it before and so have many other colleagues. DROID is dead. It worked for the original DROID and maybe the DROID X. But with nearly ten DROID devices currently being offered, the branding has no real meaning anymore. It doesn't stand for superiority. It doesn't stand for high-quality. It doesn't stand for long battery life or really anything significant other than signifying a Verizon Android smartphone that has been set apart from the rest ... for no reason.
A testament to that is PhoneDog Media's Official Smartphone Rankings, where the only DROIDs that remain are the RAZR MAXX (currently #8) and RAZR (dead last in the #16 position). The recognition those two devices received could arguably be pinned on the revitalized RAZR brand. The only other Verizon smartphones to rank in the Top 5 of either the Mobile Tech Expert’s Chart or People’s Choice Chart are the iPhone 4S (#4 in the People's Choice Chart and #1 in the Mobile Tech Expert's Chart) and Samsung Galaxy Nexus LTE (#5 in the Mobile Tech Expert's Chart).
One, on the other hand, stands for several different things: supreme quality, a fast, fluid experience, great cameras (ImageSense), etc. While DROID has run its course, One is HTC's fresh start, and it should be (or could have been) Verizon's, too.
None of this is to say that Verizon will not get a future One device. But they could certainly stand to learn when a brand (like DROID or Incredible) has run its course or when it's time to cancel a device for something bigger, faster and better. (BIONIC, anyone?) And they're long overdue for another serious, high-end smartphone, a flagship.
I know there are a lot of people excited over and planning to grab a DROID Incredible 4G LTE. But tell me, honestly, would you rather see a One device on Verizon instead? Or will you be content with another Incredible? Better yet, who's holding out for a Samsung Galaxy S III because you aren't impressed with Verizon's current devices or the upcoming Incredible?