Every company to ever exist - ever - will eventually be under scrutiny for one reason or another. For Samsung, it's been their choice of plastic housing for their flagship phones. For Apple, it's been having such limited control over a platform, or the lack of changes within the OS over the past few years (and arguably, the the company is now under scrutiny from many people because they made such radical changes to the UI in iOS 7). For BlackBerry, it's been their apparent lack of empathy regarding what consumers were expecting at the big unveiling of BlackBerry 10. And then you have HTC, who is no exception to being scrutinized.
It is a sad affair watching a company go from top to nearly rock bottom in such a short span of time, but it's a lesson to be learned that if a company doesn't play its cards right, they'll quickly learn that consumers will drop support like a bag of rocks. It wasn't just one bad decision that brough HTC down, though - it was pretty much blow after blow after blow. They were pumping out phones with too similar of names, confusing people regarding which phone was which; the shelf life of an HTC phone wasn't too terribly long either, come to find out. And of course, there was the tiny issue that HTC never really seemed to care about updating their phones with the latest Android versions as quickly as other manufacturers were, if at all. It was beginning to look like HTC didn't care a whole lot about their customers after getting the phone into their hands. For the most part, people like to feel like companies still care about their business even after they've handed over the money.
And so it was that HTC quickly fell from grace as a result of this string of not-so-great decisions. So one is left to wonder: just how long will they be able to hang on at this point? Will they be able to pick themselves back up, can they recover from all the mistakes they have made at this point?
The answer comes to us, seemingly, in the form of the HTC One. Just one phone that made a huge statement, and still makes a huge statement, for the manufacturer this year. The HTC One was the first of three iterations to be released this year. A somewhat large device with a 4.7-inch screen entered the market this year making one of the biggest fashion statements to come to Android - in a good way. The aluminum unibody design was something that you would expect to see come from a company that cares about creating a premium image for their phones, such as Apple or BlackBerry, but Android devices? Hardly a concern. But HTC managed to pull it off rather well. Then again, it's not really about what the device looks like so much is how it works and how the release and aftermath is handled. Although design is important, so is how well a phone works.
Fortunately, the HTC One, for the most part, worked like a charm.
It's funny, because I look back and I think about when I first heard about the biggest turn-off for the device for me: the 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera. Like, what is an UltraPixel? It sounded nothing short of a gimmick. I was used to bigger megapixels meaning better photos - I wasn't about to be fooled by no UltraPixel business. But after I tested out the camera for myself, it really was an eye-opener in just how much certain factors can play into what makes a camera work better. Alright, I'll bite. This UltraPixel business maybe isn't so bad after all (although that purple tint thing that developed after a couple of months of use still makes me look like an Instagramoholic).
The HTC One also really shows the improvements that Android has made over the past couple of years while I was vacationing with iOS. I'm certain that both the great hardware specs under the hood and Android Jelly Bean had something to do with making the phone run as well as it does, so really there wasn't much to complain about. But we still needed to see how updates would be handled.
I'll admit, the HTC One has been pretty spot on with properly updating the phone. I'll admit that I was a little worried once the HTC One just recently started rolling out Android 4.3, just a couple of weeks before Android 4.4 KitKat was supposed to be released. I was sitting here almost certain that it would be at least 6 months before the HTC One saw anything come about with the latest version of Android, but as it turns out, I am wrong. On the very same day that Google officially announced the Nexus 5 and KitKat, HTC released a sort of road map on what their plans are regarding the new update. They plan on having the new update out within the next two weeks for the GE edition of the One, which isn't much of a surprise but still good timing. More surprisingly, they hope to have Developer Editions and unlocked versions updated within a month. And the rest of the HTC Ones? They can expect to see an update within the next 3 months. It might not be right away, but at the same time it's nice to have a glimpse into what they plan on doing - and that plan isn't forgetting about their customers after two or so important updates.
I think HTC is turning over a new leaf. I think if they keep this up, they'll find themselves in the good graces of customers that lost faith in them over their mistakes not too long ago. At least, that's the hope.