Smartphone, wearable + VR: The HTC devices of 2015

Smartphone, wearable + VR: The HTC devices of 2015

One of the busier manufacturers at MWC 2015, HTC gave us quite an array of devices during the event. Tackling three different areas of mobile technology, we were given the HTC One M9 flagship smartphone, HTC Vive virtual reality kit and the HTC Grip smartwatch.

But was HTC right to take on three different products at the event? Can it really introduce itself to the virtual reality and wearable market effectively, whilst competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple on the smartphone front?

HTC One M9

The smartphone we all expected to make an appearance at MWC 2015 – the HTC One M9–certainly didn’t let us down. Sporting a very similar design to the HTC One M8, the new HTC smartphone mixes smart user experience with a high-end construction.

Many of the changes have been rolled in under the hood in HTC’s latest phone, with a Snapdragon 810 chipset being the most obvious update. The dual UltraPixel camera set-up has been ditched as well, with HTC opting for just a single 20 megapixel lens instead – providing upgraded quality overall.HTC One M9 has also donned a brand new user interface into the handset – HTC Sense 7. The software brings a similar design to that of its predecessor, but also introduces some new features as well. Sense Home, photo effects, and a customisation for themes app have all found a way into the software this time around, further improving the HTC experience.

As usual, HTC’s flagship phone is a real testament to the company’s ability to produce top a quality design and implement it with unique and interesting software.

HTC Grip – The first HTC wearable

Linking with sports brand UnderArmour, one of the HTC devices also unveiled at MWC was its first piece of wearable tech– named the HTC Grip. Boasting a fitness based design, the HTC smartwatch is the perfect accompaniment for any activity fanatic.

Tracking movement and displaying information about distance travelled and other fitness facts, the HTC Grip is ideal if you need an alternative to the Nike FuelBand ot the FitBit smart band.

Surprisingly, the HTC Grip doesn’t pack a built-in heart rate sensor, though this could well be a purposeful decision by HTC, as many wearable smartbands out there offering such a feature are often unreliable. Instead, the Grip allows users to connect to heart rate monitors via Bluetooth to make your readings much more dependable.

Also, the HTC wearable does link with your smartwatch to offer notifications on the fly through its Passive Matrix O-LED display, which uses very little battery.

Whilst the display is clean, the smartwatch doesn’t pack many of the features you might find on other wearables in today’s market. But with more of a focus on elite athletes rather than your average gym goer, it could suit a more niche market.

One major downside to the Grip is its lack of availability. It will only be shipping in the US, with HTC then making a decision on whether to introduce it into other markets, so it’s unlikely that it will be coming to the UK anytime soon.

Virtual Reality with the HTC Re Vive

Virtual reality is still an emerging piece of technology which hasn’t quite reached the consumer market on a big scale. The likes of Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift are exciting, yet untested in day to day use – but now we’re getting some HTC devices joining in on the VR action.

HTC Vive is a lovechild between HTC and big name gaming manufacturer Valve, giving this VR headset a distinct entertainment feel to it. Simply put, HTC is hoping to change the gaming market for the good with this device and the potential to do it is definitely there.

HTC Vive offers a 1200×1080 display in front of each eye, whilst also rocking a refresh rate of 90 frames per second. Also, photorealistic imagery is used to fill your field of vision in every direction, allowing you to look around and get full immersed in whatever game you’re playing.

Imagine wandering around a medieval castle or alien spaceship, all whilst actually being in the safety of your own living room – that’s what HTC Vive is promising. The VR technology even boasts the latest head tracking tools to ensure that the screen reacts to movements as small as 1/10th of a degree.

Finally, with dual wielding VR game controllers which can be linked to the headset, you can even interact with items within the game with your hands. If successful, HTC might be changing the future of gaming for the good, the question is whether gamers will embrace virtual reality or simply play it safe with existing games consoles and remote play features on smartphones such as the Sony Xperia Z3.

HTC 2015: Are these devices truly innovation for the new world?

It’s definitely been a bit of a surprise to see HTC spread its chips with these three devices, but it does look like it might have been a smart move overall.

The HTC One M9 will always be as solid performer on the smartphone market and the Vive is looking like a really good prospect on the virtual reality front as well. The HTC Grip might not be the widespread wearable people were after, but it too could turn some heads on the fitness market – making for smart moves all-round by HTC.

So, whilst all three HTC handsets serve very different purposes, it seems that HTC might be successfully expanding. Could it be the move which really helps HTC turn the tables on its competitors?