More Than The Sum Of Its Parts: HTC Teases New Flagship Phone

Image Source: HTC Twitter account

Image Source: HTC Twitter account

It seems that HTC plans to release a flagship phone after all. They announced on Twitter on May 3rd that they are unveiling a new phone on the 23rd. They didn’t launch their new phone in the MWC, presumably because they are avoiding competing with their rival companies for the limelight. Instead, HTC presented Vive, their virtual reality platform that’s currently available in China.

More Than The Sum of Its Parts

The tweet was sent with the phrase “A phone that is more than the sum of its specs” accompanying an image of phone parts, with a central rectangular area. The date “23.05.2018” is labelled in front of the image with the HTC logo below.

HTC’s last flagship was the U11, launched in June 2017. People are speculating that this would be the successor to the U11, the U12. Already there have been leaks before about the U12, especially about it having an updated version of the squeezing mechanism which is called Edge Sense 2.0. Other leaks include the possibility of its own facial recognition function, dual rear cameras, and is equipped with the latest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 845.

While people started pondering what the image and the phrase could mean, someone pointed out that the parts used on the image belong to other phones made by other manufacturers. When CNET asked HTC about it, HTC replied: “The fact people have noticed parts from different phone models is exactly right – they represent the jumble of parts (specs) that our competitors inelegantly cram into their phones, while the space in the middle outlining HTC’s next phone represents ‘a phone that is more than the sum of its specs.”

Inelegantly Crammed

Apple iPhone parts (Image Source: ifixit)

Apple iPhone parts (Image Source: ifixit)

The message sounds like a challenge from HTC. Saying how their rivals’ components are “inelegantly crammed” into their products is them implying that they can do better. But does “elegantly cramming” components into a phone could create a product “that is more than the sum of its specs?”

There is a danger that we might take their words very literally, but careful and thoughtful arrangements of components may be able to produce a product that’s convenient in some way. Imagine, for example, an easier way to install and remove the phone’s sim, microSD card, and battery without having to change the places of the buttons we are used to. While we have to change sims or microSD cards only once in a few years, in some phones they’re too much of a pain to do. Most of the time, you even have to remove the battery because it is locking the slot for the microSD card. There are also phones that don’t let you change the battery at all, which makes things expensive if somehow your battery gets damaged and you don’t know if the problem was the battery because you have no way to test it yourself.

A Plain Smartphone

Image Source:

HTC was also the one responsible for Google Pixel (Image Source:

One thing that HTC should avoid is following the trends of their rivals, which is fancier cameras. Not that there’s inherently bad about it but because it has been done a lot already, that if HTC doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, people will just see it as the company following the trend. Being a trend copycat is probably the most boring thing about smartphones. They might be different in prices but they have the same feature and while some of them are cheap, the cheap ones don’t usually perform as good as the more expensive ones in terms of performing the same feature.

That doesn’t mean, however, that less expensive phones are always worse than their more expensive counterparts. Say, for example, HTC doesn’t follow the camera trend but focuses on utility and its squeeze function. It would definitely be much cheaper than the other phones out in the market right now. But if it the same RAM size and processor, I’d be still as good as those other phones in terms of performance in other areas. As for gimmick, it still has that squeeze feature, so you can’t say it’s a plain boring phone.

After getting paid by Google last year for giving them the team that built Google Pixel, people expect that the company might lack enough talents to continue on with their smartphone business. We’ll just have to wait and see what HTC has in store for us this month.