HTC is touting the design quality of the One X and One S heavily and one major focus isn't the shape of the phones, but the materials that they're made of. The One X has a polycarbonate body that we like almost as much as the Lumia 800, but it's materials on the One S that really stand out. The One S has an aluminum shell with one of two finishes: a straightforward, gray aluminum body with a "gradient anodized" finish that has a very subtle light-to-dark shade. Android Central first spotted the gray version and so we swung by Google's booth to check it out for ourselves. It has a slightly cleaner, simpler feel compared to the complex feel of the black version, with a blue ring about the camera instead of a red one.
The black version of the One S is where HTC has set itself apart, applying a process called "micro arc oxidation" that was originally created for satellites. HTC bathes the aluminum body in a plasma field, blasting it with 10,000 volts of electricity to turn the surface into a ceramic that's four times harder and more scratch-resistant than untreated, anodized aluminum. The result is a very dark black finish that feels a bit like a chalkboard — HTC calls it "feathery," but we'd say that's an overly euphemistic way to describe it. HTC showed a video of the process during its keynote, and it's quite a sight to behold:
Finally, HTC also had the black version of the HTC One X, which was a pre-production unit and felt very slightly rougher than the white version, but HTC tells us that both are made the same way and the final finish on them will be identical.