HTC Mini: A little more than a Pebble smartwatch without the convenience

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| January 25, 2013

While title of this article might make you raise an eyebrow and think, “What is she talking about?” Allow me to explain. We all remember hearing about the HTC Butterfly, which may be more familiar to you in the form of the HTC DROID DNA available to us here in the states. It’s a big, beautiful phone that has a lot of features to offer, including… a mini phone to accompany its larger counterpart. What?

I hope Xzibit from Pimp My Ride becomes the spokesperson for the product, because he would be perfect."Yo dawg, I heard you like smartphones. So I included a smartphone with yo' smartphone so you can smartphone while you smartphone." It's like smartphoneception, compliments of HTC.

Yes, it seems that HTC’s answer to people (like me) who complain about phones being too big is to include a small NFC-equipped candybar device which they call the “HTC Mini” with the purchase of an HTC Butterfly. It’s a fitting name for a tiny device; it would be even better if it was shipped alongside a device named the HTC Huge; either that or rename the Mini to the HTC Caterpillar. Bad jokes aside, the purpose of the HTC Mini is to make your life more convenient by giving you the benefits of a smartphone without having to actually take its more expensive big brother out of the confines of your pocket.

How the HTC Mini works is by connecting to your HTC Butterfly via Bluetooth, and from that point on can display information like notifications, missed calls, and calendar entries from the small monochrome display on the candybar style device. More importantly, you can make phone calls directly from the HTC Mini. If a large phone is better for browsing the internet but not as comfortable to hold for long phone calls, at least that’s one problem the HTC Mini can solve. The HTC Mini can also serve as a remote control for when the HTC Butterfly is connected to the TV via HDMI, or as a “phone finder” if you lose your HTC Butterfly.

I feel that the HTC Mini would have been a really cool idea had the Pebble smartwatch not been introduced first. Although the Mini has more functionality in terms of what it can do, it’s only compatible with one device at the moment whereas the smartwatch is compatible with several. Not only that, but the fact that having the HTC Mini really would be just like carrying two phones; albeit the Mini is much smaller, but it’s still a secondary device nonetheless and doesn’t have the same convenience of being able to wear the device and not have to worry about forgetting it somewhere or losing it – just like you would a regular phone.

I think that if I could combine some of the features of the Mini with the smartwatch then we’d have ourselves a winner. If the smartwatch could make (or at least take) phone calls instead of only notifying you that you’re receiving one would be nice; or perhaps adding the locator function as it would make more sense to have that function on a device that’s attached to your wrist as oppose to another easily misplaced device.

Will the HTC Mini see success? It’s possible. While I think some parts are good ideas, other aspects could be improved upon. I’m wondering how the reception of the HTC Mini will turn out: Will people love it? Will people hate it? Will it become just another accessory that collects dust in a drawer somewhere? After all, if you’re paying an arm and a leg for a smartphone why would you replace the most basic and primary function with something else? Personally for me, I don’t think I would use it – which is surprising as often as I complain about how large phones are becoming. I would rather have a smaller screen that I can do everything on, instead of two separate devices.

Readers, what do you think about the HTC Mini? If your smartphone came with one of these accessories, would you use it or would it be useless to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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