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Comment: HTC Needs To Hit It Out Of The Park With This Week’s Big Reveal

All in all, it offered up a good user experience but didn’t really do enough to sell itself over its competitors. It leaves a good impression but lacks staying-power.

It’s a common sentiment expressed towards HTC, and a market myth the company look to have their sights on breaking through at this week’s big reveal.

Teased as something special “for U”, HTC are clearly aiming to reorient the messaging and identity of the branding around their smartphone lineup.

Thanks to a few leaks, we have a little bit of an idea of what this new direction might be. Based on the video clips sent out by Evan Blass this week, speculation says that they’ll be pushing to make HTC more of a lifestyle brand.

The question then changes from what that messaging is going to be and becomes a question of what HTC needs to be to close the gap on players like Samsung.

The answer: do what it’s competitors can’t.

On a technical level, HTC have already pretty much accomplished this. Outside off LG’s experimental V20, no other mainstream smartphone brand has successfully delivered 24-bit high-resolution audio. It’s the same story when it comes to cameras. The camera in the HTC 10 features 12 million ‘UltraPixels’, faster laser autofocus and a DxOMark score of 88, one of the highest camera quality ratings ever given to a smartphone.

On paper, HTC can back up their talk when it comes to technical supremacy. Easily. The thing HTC is going to need to focus on then becomes making that high-end potential user-friendly to a mass audience. To achieve that, they don’t just need to innovate – they need to sell that innovation correctly.

The new HTC Ocean Touch UI shown in Blass’ video leaks might be exactly that. In the video, users are able to swiftly and easily open straight into an application like the camera by sliding their finger across the edge of the device. Within the clip itself, that function looks elegant and intuitive.

However, the key will be whether or not HTC can get the level of sensitivity correct. If the feature is too blunt, users will learn to avoid using it intentionally and be frustrated when they use it on accident. If it’s too finicky, they’ll shy away from the difficulty curve that comes with engaging with it.

Other companies have tried to distinguish themselves in the smartphone market by adding a new element to the vocabulary of mobile user interfaces, HTC’s ability to rebrand itself may well hinge on their ability to succeed where others have failed. With Apple teetering on the edge of its throne and Samsung still yet to fully recover from the Note 7, there’s no reason HTC couldn’t emerge confidently from the chaos with a fresh take on things.

If they get it right, it could be key to HTC selling their 2017 range. Not just as a lifestyle product but an ambitious evolution of how navigating a smartphone should feel.

Let’s see how they do.

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