Starting today, HTC customers in the US no longer need to worry about cracking their smartphone's screen. No, the company's devices aren't suddenly invincible; they'll still shatter if dropped on a sidewalk, just like always. Instead, HTC has announced it will now provide one free screen replacement at any point during the first six months of phone ownership. The offer covers the HTC One, One mini, and One max, but it's only good for devices purchased beginning today. Existing customers will need to stick with their carrier's insurance plan or turn to third-party options like iFixit for repairs. Still, no other smartphone manufacturer offers worry-free protection like this in the US, so HTC is setting itself apart in a big way.
Take off that ugly case you've been using
The screen replacement comes as part of HTC Advantage, a new initiative the company says "marks an enhanced focus and commitment to customers who select the best and want to keep it that way." Aside from the one-time screen swap, Advantage also puts HTC's commitment to software updates in writing, so consumers will have a clear understanding of how long they can expect new versions of Android. HTC says the One family of smartphones will continue to receive updates for at least two years dating back to the North American launch of each device. HTC recently revealed this timeframe during a Reddit AMA, but it's now official as part of the Advantage program. Again, this commitment only applies to North America. HTC customers will also be getting a boost in cloud storage through Google Drive: HTC max owners get 50GB of space, with other models receiving 25GB (after Sense 5.5 has been installed).
Android updates for at least two years
Best of all, HTC Advantage comes at no extra cost to US customers. You're now able to purchase an HTC One device with full confidence that you'll be covered in the event disaster strikes — for six months, anyway. The big question is whether carriers will bother informing shoppers about this new initiative. Their existing insurance plans are a proven and lucrative source of revenue, and HTC's newfound generosity may give customers pause in shelling out an extra monthly fee to Verizon, AT&T, or another wireless provider. But if you're the clumsy type, those insurance plans (and alternatives like SquareTrade) remain your best bet for long-term coverage — assuming you don't plan to trade in for a new phone in six months. As for you envious international customers, HTC isn't yet saying if or when Advantage will head elsewhere.