As we inch inexorably closer towards February 19, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of anxiety building in my gut. HTC has always been one of my favorite device manufacturers, even before I got my hands on the original Hero, and the 19 of February marks a very important date for the company. While nothing has been confirmed yet (obviously), we’re all expecting to see the newest high-end device from the company unveiled on that date. This is the device that, based on the rumors, will drop the unnecessary naming schemes and just go right for the knock-out punch: The One.

This will apparently be the one phone you want to buy in 2013. This will be the one device you’ll want to get your hands on (at least for the first six months of the year, right, HTC?) in 2013. This is, for all intents and purposes the One. And I fully expect to see that bit of marketing somewhere in HTC’s announcement event on the 19.

“This phone really is the One.”

It practically writes itself.

That anxiety I mentioned earlier isn’t so much because I think HTC isn’t going to unveil a great phone. No, that isn’t it at all. In fact, I think HTC is going to unveil a phone that I’ll immediately want to buy, even if I know there’s still going to be their proprietary Sense user interface attached to the Android mobile operating system. But, we’ll get to that in a few moments. I know that I’m going to want the hardware, just because it’s HTC and I’ve always been a fan of their devices. And if the recent leaks are any indication of what we should expect, then yes, I already know I’m going to want it.

But, let’s get this off our collective chest: Yes, the last leak we saw of the One, and many of the leaks before it, make this particular device look like an amalgamation between Apple’s iPhone 5 and BlackBerry’s Z10. It does. But I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Sure, HTC probably could have come up with a final design that looked much different, but I’m saying right here and now that the One looks nice. Very, very nice. (But I think the iPhone 5 and the Z10 look nice, too. So, there’s that.)

Did they “copy” Apple and BlackBerry? That’s for a different discussion, I think. Until we have that particular conversation, let’s just look at the phone for what it is by itself, in that lone image up there by itself. It’s a nice looking phone! I can only imagine how thin and light it’s going to be, once finally unveiled. And, of course, that is if this is the final version of the device we’re all expecting to be unveiled in just a few days. Curveballs don’t happen all that often, but nothing’s impossible.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get the rumored specifications out of the way, just so we know what we’re dealing with in the bulk of this particular article. At the top of the list is a 4.7-inch SoLux full HD display will apparently boast a pixel per inch count of 468. In initial leaks, the display was said to have improved color accuracy compared to previous Super LCD displays that HTC used, so that’s also a huge bonus. Additionally, the phone will apparently harbor a quad-core processor under the hood, along with 2GB of RAM and a whopping 32GB of on-board memory. (If that’s true, HTC, then thank you. Make sure it stays that way from model to model, okay?) The phone will also be running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, and boast a 13MP camera on the back, along with a 2MP front-facing shooter.

So, we’ve got a phone that looks great, but also has a features list that’s definitely worth paying close attention to. As long as the rumors pan out. If the rumors pan out, then it would seem HTC certainly has a phone they could put some real marketing muscle behind. A win-win, if you ask me.

But, here’s my question: How does HTC stand out? What does HTC have to do to make their newest flagship device, which will reportedly feature plenty of high-end specifications, get any elbow room against the likes of Apple or, especially, Samsung? After all, just releasing a high-end smartphone doesn’t mean much in this complicated and competitive market. Sure, you’ll see some sales, but not anywhere near the likes of where you ought to be.

That’s a pretty tough question, I think. Having a nice package (the hardware) is definitely a step in the right direction. If HTC can prove right there on the stage, and amongst the fleet of journalists covering the event, that the HTC One’s hardware is second-to-none, then we’ve got a ballgame. The next step is software, and what is being called Sense 5. This is HTC’s latest attempt at making their aging proprietary software work on a new, high-end device, and I think this is going to be where the water gets a bit dicey.

Why? Because Sense. I’ll tell you right here, right now, that I stopped using HTC-based devices because of Sense. The last phone I bought for myself manufactured by HTC was the Rezound, and I stopped using it because Sense made my experience less than stellar just a few days after purchasing it. It bogged down, lagged, and the proprietary skin just didn’t add anything to the experience for me. Not in the same way it did for me back in 2009 when I bought the original Hero. Sense has aged just as much as iOS, in my book, so it’s up to HTC to change it. To make it work.

Can Sense 5 do that? Theoretically, sure, why not? As aforementioned, nothing’s impossible. And from what I’ve seen in the leaked images showing what’s supposed to be Sense 5, I can see that HTC is at least giving the proprietary software a few visual tweaks. But that won’t be good enough. Sense has to give something to the user, and not just a visual differentiation between it, Samsung’s TouchWiz, or even LG’s proprietary user interface. It has to offer something.

Just pick up a device like the Galaxy S III or the Galaxy Note II. Those devices are literally laden with features, and Samsung has made sure they’re built into TouchWiz, which makes the features part of the proprietary software. That’s basically genius, and HTC needs to emulate this immediately.

So this is me saying that the new One is HTC’s one last shot at giving an Android-based run a chance. I think they’ve got a lot of room with Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but that will only go so far since it is Windows Phone. HTC’s efforts in Android can’t slow down. They need to get more focused, better, and the results need to be provided to the end user. That will make everyone happy.

So what do you think? Is this HTC’s last shot at keeping any traction in the Android market? Or even the smartphone market in general? Or is HTC one of those companies that will just continue to pump out phone, after phone, and do what they can to merely be a presence, rather than a true competitor? Let me know what you think.

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52 Reactions to this post

"Do you think HTC has what it takes to regain ground in the Android smartphone market? Is the HTC One their one last shot? "

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Anthony Watkins Well heres what I think, HTC failed with the Droid DNA so this will probably be a fail too! I see HTC trying to be to much like Apple and they are really trying a bit to hard!
Anonymous Could be but HTC has great ideas but sometimes just falls short when dealing with the popularity of the competition. Smart phones are a popularity contest. It's about who is known more than the other.
James Miranda Only history will tell, but this isn't the last gasp. Besides, HTC was smart, it would try to make a bigger push into WP8.
Josef Ruiz Doubt it.. Talent Trust - Offshore with a difference
Michael Kergosien Jr I think Samsung kind of overtook HTC...
Otis Moses HTC will be back, Samsung is not that far way. HTC just need to put in a bigger battery and 64GB storage because 16GB and 32GB isn't cutting it for a lot of people.
Cesario Brito Jr. I had the EVO. That phone was a game changer. But since then HTC has fallen flat. They have lost touch with what the customers want. Right now Samsung is too far ahead for HTC to ever catch up.
Jessica Wiseman I'm an HTC fan. Samsung fucked me over and lost their shot with me.
Brian J. Moore I have never had a problem with a HTC Evo , I had the original and now own the LTE version, no regrets.
Kevin Joel All I ever wanted from HTC was a 5.5" Windows Phone, they failed me.
JayR Yambao I used to love HTC. Their build quality is great but that's about it imo. I dislike Sense UI and their battery life is terrible. So many customers bring in an Evo for service and repair it's ridiculous and I mean the whole Evo line from the original to the LTE. I work for Sprint btw.
Juwon Donte As others have said if you want a plastic slippery phone with a bunch of gimmicks Samsung is the way to go.. In this is coming from somebody who has an s3 I love HTC the way they build their phones their ui just everything about their phones I really hope they can make an huge comeback
Jose Angel Santiago They have alot of catching up to do if they want to compete with Samsung Mobile USA. I have owned alot of phones including htcs and none compare to my note 2.
Gilbert Galvan No. Non removable and no micro sd slot is a no no.
Aaron Dean No..... Samsung ftw
Lawrence Lepes Actually the Droid DNA is the best phone HTC has to offer. If the HTC One line is good, then HTC will still go on.
Orlando Stagg I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that this phone is their last shot. They may not be doing well as Samsung or as well as they've done in the past but they sure as hell are doing a lot better than Sony even still yet Sony is still around year in, year out. This phone may not be what breaks them out of this downward spiral directly but it may give them a little bit of perspective for them to finally listen to their customers and give them what they want outside of the build quality and beautiful designs.
Carl Dale HTC sensation xe... Decent... WANT 4.0.4 "(
Marlon Milligan Ako they need is a good marketing scheme and they will be fine. They need better commercials that stick with people.
Daniel McCarthy When will you people learn? You guys want the latest version of Android? Get the Nexus or root it and ROM it (which isn't even guaranteed to have the latest version or your phone might be locked down). Get the Nexus next time.
Nick Guerrero G Samsung wil always be a few steps ahead of HTC. HTC still has the some problems it had sense the evo 4g came out a few years ago.
Lance Tomlinson I've owned a few HTC devices. IMO they need to re-work their entire skin, its getting stale. They could do what Acer does with their Androids and allow the user to choose between their custom skin or use Android stock. Of the 40 or so cell phones I've owned in the last few years I think that HTC has a good build quality but I usually turn to either a Nexus device or Samsung, mainly because I like pure Android and I think that Samsung's skin is less intrusive. HTC's skin just goes too far away from Android, but again thats my opinion. I would say that HTC is one of the few manufacturers that I trust, thats the reason my main device is still the Galaxy Nexus...I trust Samsung, and do not trust LG, but their skin is what really makes me not want to get another HTC device until they change it up a bit. Motorola and LG went less custom and more towards a stock experience, HTC should be looking at these positive steps and learn from them. Expanded useability is a good thing but when it starts to interfere with the basic features of the phone, making simple tasks more difficult, its taking a step back. Example, in most Android skins holding the screen allows you to change the background, and if I recall my last HTC phone, you could not do this...why change it if its not broken HTC? I don't mean to be so down on the company, I think they are great but mistakes add up and companies fall quickly in the smart phone market. Or if they insist on such a customized look, look to Sony and what they are doing with their Skin. It functions just like stock Android, but everything about it is Sony's style.
Fred Haynes I have the Note2 right now but I do like this phone but I will never go small again waiting on the Note3 I love my note it is bad
Louis Agresti As a DNA and Rezound owner i love HTC phones,they are well built phones with great looking displays,if you want a buy a cheap handheld toy you buy Samsung,if you want to buy a quality built phone you buy HTC or Motorola.lack of marketing and multi carrier phones have been HTC's downfall.
Camar Green Had Evo damn thing started to fall hard. Went to Apple (never thought I would but love it) I now have my eye on Note 3 when it comes
Kevin Scott Samsung put HTC to rest. They were the king in early android and windows phone back in the day but there done now.
Garrett J. Benally No I love htc phones
Simon Yu HTC needs to get another shot at the Nexus, their build quality and design is superb.. but they always have that "one more thing".. that's missing. A lot of other companies seem to get the gist of what to include as a must have, removing microSD is a no-no unless you're making a Nexus, almost the same goes for the non-removable battery.
Saurabh Bisht htc is a history now. .nowadays People love to buy Samsung products. .
Nick Chimento I don't know think so.
Basil Fearrington No. Samsung will be king. I had 3 Evos. Loved them. I have a Note 2....no comparison.
Alfonso Manuel Avalos If HTC makes another nexus device maybe but no
Melissa Cruz-Guzmán I've had HTC phones since the G1, and now I have a Motorola phone only because I wanted to change it up. HTC makes such beautiful phones, and I love sense. The only problem I had with them is the bad battery life and for me the speaker wasn't as loud as my Photon Q. I miss HTC and I wouldn't mind going back to them if they would just dramatically improve the battery life.
Faisal Farhoud htc has and will be making some of the best phones of thel all!!
Ibnul Sharar No matter how great the deivce is, htc sucks at animation and transition effects. It doesn't feel so smooth. More like it cuts the app. IMO. They should really work on that.
Bo Abe Vorachack They have one of the best lookin phone in the one series. The only problem is the battery life. Are bigger batteries that expensive?
Zo Strokes they messed up when they screwed their customers over by making us wait months for OTA updates while they pushed their new products out with the latest software update. i will never buy htc again because of their slimy business techniques
Darrell Wax I'll take those 2 high end nokias at MWC any day.
Nish Chatlani Definitely
Michelle Womble They lost so many loyal customers with delays, buggy devices, & broken promises, plus lack of device availability across providers. I jumped ship, after years with them, & got the Samsung Galaxy Note II & Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Just ordered other Samsung products. Couldn't be happier. They've lost me forever & I'm far from the only one.
Michael Katz Nope, not with their weak battery life and non removable battery. Not to mention no sd card slot.
Mathieu Omoregie I personally think it's gonna be a great phone... I miss my HTC sense. I did sell myself for samsungs galaxy note 2, my only complaint which is gonna strictly be based on my preference, is the phone not being at least 5" I mean the dna is awesome! It's like they tool a step backwards. Then you also have the competition which the s4 and note 3 come in. Too much momentum for samsung..... HTC needs more firepower
Brendan Breakdown Your talking to little of them. They are in a good 3rd place spot against Motorola.
Brian McGuinness With everybody waiting on the Galaxy S4 or trying to get a Nexus 4.. i dont think they have a chance. Especially since the Google Motorola X phone will be released this summer.
Abhi Tayal Tan chong ling go play ding ding

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