First Click: the new HTC is such a letdown

March 23rd, 2015

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Reading reviews of the One M9 can be agonizing to anyone who fondly remembers HTC’s glory days. Here's Dan Seifert’s take on the company’s newest flagship: “For the third year in a row, it has show-stopping flaws, which bring the great experience you’re having to a screeching halt.” It's a view universally echoed by Android Central, Engadget, Gizmodo, AnandTech, and others. Ugh.

Pre-iPhone, HTC built some of the most compelling smartphones beyond the hallowed halls of Nokia. (Remember the HTC Wizard, Hermes, or Kaiser?) The industry greeted HTC handset announcements with the same attention afforded Apple today. Post-iPhone, it was HTC that provided a premium home to early versions of Android with devices like the Hero and Incredible, often enhancing the still muddled Google experience with its own HTC Sense suite of software. And it was HTC that built the original Nexus — the Nexus One — for stock Android lovers. Samsung struggled to keep up.

As Android rapidly improved and even surpassed iOS in some areas, there was precious little room for the partner tweaks that allowed the first wave of Android device manufacturers to differentiate themselves. Yet having the best hardware wasn’t enough: success would be determined by the ability to iterate quickly and execute globally, playing to Samsung’s strengths. HTC’s weaknesses were exposed and its financial losses began to mount. Three Chief Marketing Officers and one failed Beats acquisition later, CEO Peter Chou was finally demoted and replaced with company co-founder Cher Wang on Friday.

So, here we are today: a disappointing flagship to challenge the untested, but promising, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and the dominating iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Good luck with that, HTC — you'll need it.

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  1. HTC One M9 review

    Smartphones aren’t just phones anymore, they are increasingly the only cameras that people own or use. People often pick a phone based solely on how well it takes pictures and the phone’s camera can make or break the device. In the case of the M9 (and the M8 before it), it breaks it. For the third year in a row, HTC has produced one of the most visually alluring smartphones that feels as incredible as it looks. And for the third year in a row, it has show-stopping flaws, which bring the great experience you’re having to a screeching halt.

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