From the outside, the new HTC One smartphone looks and feels like last year's model. But there's a huge difference inside — the camera.
For years, HTC has kept its main camera to 4 megapixels so that it could make each pixel's sensor bigger to capture more light. That's great for low-light situations, but results in dull shots otherwise. The camera's low resolution is particularly noticeable when cropping photos to enlarge and highlight a specific area. Customers "love the great low-light performance, but wanted more pixels for editing," HTC executive Luis Sanchez told The Associated Press.
The new HTC One phone, announced Sunday at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, will have a 20-megapixel rear camera, on par with other leading Android phones. The new camera also will have a lens made of sapphire to protect from scratches.
Samsung is expected to unveil a new flagship smartphone on Sunday, as well.
HTC Corp. also unveiled a fitness tracker, the Grip. Unlike trackers from Jawbone and Fitbit, the Grip isn't meant for couch potatoes looking to motivate themselves by counting steps. Rather, HTC is partnering with sports clothing maker Under Armour to offer features aimed at those who are already active.
The Grip will cost $199 when it goes on sale in North America this spring. HTC's new phone is expected to come out in March in some overseas markets and likely hit the U.S. in April. Prices weren't immediately announced.
The new HTC One model will be called M9, following last year's M8. It keeps many of the elements lauded in previous versions, including a metal design and polished finish. Besides the better camera, the new version will bring notifications to the lock screen and offer home screens customized to your location. At home, for instance, you might get easy access to Netflix and Facebook. At the train station, you might get suggestions for transit apps.
The 4-megapixel rear camera from previous models will move to the front, where low-light capabilities are more important because the front doesn't have a flash. Like last year's model, the screen will measure 5 inches diagonally. While HTC made a Windows version of the M8, the M9 will run only Google's Android for now.