How long will the HTC One hype last?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: April 17, 2013

Some of the biggest hype surrounding a phone right now seems to be around the HTC One, the beautiful aluminum phone that HTC showcased at MWC 2013 earlier this year. While the design of the device falls nothing short of what we consider the “premium” feel, there’s still a lot more to a device than what is on the outside and it’s really what’s on the inside that counts the most; along with the praised design, the HTC One actually has some very interesting features that come along with it. With the phone being released shortly before another highly anticipated device, the Samsung Galaxy S 4, I have to wonder how long the hype surrounding the device will last.

In short, if a device is truly reflective of the positive reviews it receives then the hype won’t vanish overnight. I truly think that the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 go head-to-head when it comes to specs and features – in some ways the HTC One is more impressive, in others the Galaxy S 4 takes the lead. However, one thing that Samsung has over HTC is the ability to market the everlasting fire out of HTC on any given day. HTC seems to mostly work by word of mouth, and so far is doing a pretty good job of relying on this method.

I feel like a lot of people are hanging on to the tail of the HTC One bandwagon until the Galaxy S 4 comes out. I don’t blame them, either. Since it’s the device that’s going to win the release race it’s sure to experience a lot more hype for at least a few more days. However, I’m not sure whether to think that this release date will either be a very good thing for the Taiwanese company, or a very bad thing. I’ll explain to you how it could become either situation.

AT&T and Sprint will be the first carriers in the U.S. to have the HTC One available for its customers this Friday, April 19th. T-Mobile will have the HTC One available to its customers just five days following on April 24th. Verizon will supposedly get the One eventually but since we don’t know when or where that time will be that’s irrelevant information (but I thought I’d throw that in there for anybody wondering). Great, so we have all of that set up. Sounds like a good deal, until we correlate the release dates of the HTC One with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S 4.

T-Mobile will officially begin selling the Galaxy S 4 online starting on April 24th and in stores on May 1st; Sprint will begin sales of the Galaxy S 4 on April 27th; AT&T will begin on April 30th; Verizon is still being mysterious and not saying when they’ll do it (stingy, aren’t they?). All of these dates, with the exception of T-Mobile who is releasing both devices on the same day, are within the 14-day return period that each provider allots customers who wish to exchange a device.

I have a bad feeling that a lot of people are going to be returning their HTC One in fear that they made the “wrong choice” because they didn’t get the “more popular” device. I am also beginning to think that Samsung planned this on purpose just for this reason, but that’s just me being a skeptic. Manufacturers be scandalous sometimes.

But that’s only one scenario. I also mentioned that it could play out for the better for HTC, and here’s why I think so:

The device has primarily gotten good reviews. Despite the fact that many people were initially turned off from the UltraPixel camera (only 4-megapixels, but with  improved camera sensor) but even from reviews you can see that the UltraPixel isn’t as bad as it sounds – in fact, I’d say that I think it takes better pictures than the almighty Nokia Lumia in certain low-light situations. The HTC One also debuts Sense 5, which is, simply put, a “grown up” version of the old Sense most of us could recognize from a mile away. The One also features front-facing speakers - a simple feature that probably should have been introduced eons ago, yet for some reason never was. If the bulk of the tech community is willing to vouch for a device, odds are pretty good that it is a good device and even the average user would find themself more than satisfied.

The best possible outcome that could happen for HTC is that the HTC One is truly the winner the company intended for the device to be and people recognize a good device when they experience it. Maybe this time people won’t return the device less-heard-of and exchange it for the more popular device simply because it has a more recognizable name.

I’m not saying the Galaxy S 4 isn’t a great device – I don’t even know what device I would choose right now if somebody held out one in each hand and told me to pick one (Side note: If unsure, always go with the point-and-distract method: “Hey, is that John Travolta?” They’ll always look if you say ‘John Travolta’ and that’s when you make your move and make off with the goods). What I am saying is that I hope people don’t nix one simply because of the strong name the other holds. It would be silly to say that the Galaxy S 4 is easy competition given that it’s similar to the Galaxy S 3 – it is similar to an extent, but it’s also updated, fast, and definitely appeals to the customer who is used to higher megapixel counts equaling a sharper image. It happened with the iPhone, and it happens with Galaxy. It’s a name people recognize and customers like recognition.

Both devices are amazing and deserve the amount of hype they have been receiving for months to come, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t worried that this might be the last days we hear so much excitement about HTC before they’re completely forgotten about again.

Readers, what do you think about the hype? Do you think that HTC  will continue to receive hype even after the release of the Galaxy S 4, or do you think that the hype will slow down exponentially? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!