HTC One S Android 4.0.4/Sense 4.1 Update Rolling Out Now

A couple of weeks ago, HTC started rolling out the Android 4.0.4 ICS/Sense 4.1 update for the HTC One X. The new update contained a lot of major performance enhancements, an updated Sense launcher without any of the fancy 3D  animations for less reloading issues, and the ability to map the Recents app capacitive key to act as a Menu key instead.

Starting from yesterday, HTC has started rolling out the same update for the smaller brother of the One X, the One S. The update should get rid of the random lags and stuttery animations that many One S userrs have been facing for sometime. There is also a knew kernel and baseband included in this update that should improve the power management and network reception of the device.

Quite a few Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean firmware have leaked for the Samsung Galaxy S3, with there being a strong rumor of the official update landing on 29th August at the Note II unveiling at IFA in Berlin from Samsung. On the other hand, there has been no word from HTC on the Jelly Bean update availability for the One X and One S, especially when the International One X packs in the same SoC as the Nexus 7, the first device to launch with Jelly Bean on-board.

 

HTC Looks at the Enterprise with Magnet Systems Investment

HTC has been in the news for the past couple of days primarily because of 2 reasons. It has announced that it is investing $35.4 million in Magnet Systems, an enterprise apps startup, for a 17.1% stake, valuing the company at nearly $208 million. HTC seems to be focusing on the enterprise for now, to compensate for its declining clout in the consumer smartphone space.

“The investment will bring social, mobile, and cloud capabilities to HTC’s portfolio of service offerings to its mobile enterprise customers. The leading-edge social, mobile and cloud technologies at the heart of Magnet’s platform make it an ideal foundation for the applications and services that enterprises will be buying and building in the coming years,” said HTC.

Like Apple, even HTC is looking to grab a slice of the enterprise mobility pie, which is relatively less developed than its consumer counterpart.

The other reason why HTC’s in the news is OnLive. The cloud based gaming startup has undergone some significant restructuring and because of its investment in the company, HTC will be reporting a $40 million writedown this quarter.

HTC recently lowered its stake in Beats Audio, and has been making some significant moves to become one of the top smartphone device makers again. It was one of the earliest Android adopters, but has since been superseded by Samsung.

Also check out: What’s Wrong with HTC?

via Techcrunch

Hefty Software Update For HTC Rezound Brings International Roaming Capabilties

At the beginning of this month, HTC and Verizon started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Rezound. While ICS update for the Rezound brought with it a truck load of features, it did not bring world-roaming capabilities to the handset, as stated by Verizon earlier.

Now, it looks like Verizon has started rolling out a new software update for the Rezound that brings world-roaming capabilities to the handset. While Verizon has not officially confirmed the update, some Rezound owners in the United States have been reporting in various forums about a huge 104MB update being available for their handset. The hefty update does not bring Android 4.0.4, a newer version of Sense or any new features.

The OTA update might just be in the “soak” testing period from Verizon, and so all Rezound owners might not get it immediately.

Interested HTC Rezound owners, who are already running Ice Cream Sandwich on their handset, can manually install this update by following the steps mentioned at AndroidPolice.

HTC Thunderbolt Ice Cream Sandwich Update Still On Track

HTC has until now released the Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the various variants of the Sensation, and the single-core powered HTC Incredible S. While the original announcement from HTC stated that the Desire HD will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich, the company recently announced that the ICS update for the handset has been scrapped. The reason behind denying the ICS update was due to the lack of sufficient space on the /system partition on the handset.

Rumors soon started floating around that HTC might axe the ICS update for the Thunderbolt, since the handset packs similar specs as the Desire HD.

HTC has now confirmed via its Facebook page that the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Thunderbolt is still on track. Here is the full comment from HTC -:

Hey, John! Yes, The Thunderbolt is still set to receive ICS. We’re still planning to finish updates for all announced devices by the end of August. Thanks for remaining so patient!

Don’t get your hope too high though. In all probability, once HTC finishes the ICS update for the Thunderbolt, they will give it to Verizon for testing, which can very well take a couple of months.

Via – PocketNow

HTC One X Gets The Android 4.0.4 Update

HTC One X is the company’s most powerful smartphone till date. This handset originally runs on the Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System. HTC has recently announced a new software update for this device. Before you get too excited, let me tell you that, it is not the much-awaited Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) update you’ve been waiting for. The latest update will upgrade the handset to the Android 4.0.4 OS and bumps the UI to Sense 4.1.

Instead of opening the multi-tasking grid in Sense, the recent apps key will now open context menu inside non ICS apps such as Facebook. You can also open the multitasking menu just by long-pressing the recent app key. This update not only brings the general stability improvements to the device, but also enhances the camera capabilities such as white balance and continuous autofocus.

Apart from the changes mentioned above, you can expect enhancements to memory, platform stability and improved overall browsing experience. The company has also added a single sign-on feature for Facebook, which will allow the users to access Facebook in multuple apps and browsers. The latest upgrade to Beats audio is touted to provide an authentic sound experience.

Earlier this week, AT&T has already rolled out this update for the HTC One X. Now, the owners of the international variant will start receiving the Android 4.0.4 update. The size of the update is 148 MB and it will be available via Over-The-Air (OTA). You will be automatically notified when the update is available for your device. If you have not received the update, then just go to Settings > About Device > System updates and check for the update.

[Editorial] What Is Wrong With HTC?

Extremely long post ahead. Please make sure your stomach is full, and your bladder empty before continuing further. Skip the tl;dr if you are brave enough!

tl;dr – HTC started making similar phones, locked bootloaders, made its skin too bloated and slapped the Beats Audio branding as a gimmick. Made lots of promises in 2012 with One series, but they all turned out to be a dud. To save their ass, they need to fulfil their promises and support the Android modding community.

HTC was the first handset manufacturer to release an Android running phone, the T-Mobile G1. Both, HTC and Android have grown to great heights within a short span of time, and have complemented each other’s growth. Without HTC, Android might not have ever taken off. Without Android, HTC would have been still known for making Windows Mobile based phones and its Sense skin.

However, over the last 1.5 years or so, HTC’s growth has slowed down tremendously while Android has continued to grow and has grabbed nearly 50% of the world mobile OS market share. So how is it that a company that helped an OS grow, is suddenly struggling with its profits and market share shrinking with every passing quarter, when the OS in itself is reaching new heights?

No, it’s not Samsung that is to be blamed for HTC’s falling market share here. HTC is itself responsible for its own demise.

In 2010, the company released some iconic handsets like the Sprint EVO 4G, Desire, and the Desire HD.

In 2011, when the company’s fortune changed for the worse, it released more than 15 different handsets all that were hardly different from each other. At MWC in 2011, which is arguably the biggest mobile tech event of the year, the company unveiled three single core phones – Incredible S, Desire S and the Wildfire S. The first two handsets had the exact same internals, except for some minor differences, which in turn had the same internals as the 2010 high-end phone from HTC — the Desire HD.

Yes, these phones looked different, had different resolution cameras, and a few other differences, but they were ultimately powered by the same 1GHz single-core processor and packed the same amount of RAM. The worst part was that these phones were priced way too close to each other to make any sense. The Desire HD retailed for around the 30k mark in India in 2010, while the Incredible S and Desire S costed 28k and 25k respectively when launched in India in early 2011. The Galaxy S2, which Samsung had also announced at MWC, was also priced around the 30k mark, and was much better than these handsets from HTC.

Then in March, HTC announced its first dual-core phone, the HTC Sensation. On paper, the Sensation looked like a decent competitor to the Galaxy S2, with a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor, 768MB of RAM, an 8MP camera and a qHD (960*640) resolution screen.

Sadly, HTC’s greatest advantage — Sense — turned out to be its biggest disadvantage in the Sensation. The Sense 3.0 skin from HTC was way too bloated, and even lagged on a dual-core powered smartphone, which was downright unacceptable. Random reboots, poor battery life, and a sub-par camera were other serious issues with the phone, that did not go down well with the few Sensation users.

Adding salt on the wound of the original Sensation owners, was the Sensation XE, that the company released just a couple of months later on. The Sensation XE packed similar internals to the original Sensation, except for a slightly faster 1.5GHz processor, a much better 8MP camera, a Beats Audio logo and a beefier battery.

As 2011 progressed, HTC kept on releasing phones that made little sense. The Sensation XL had a big 4.7-inch screen but was powered by a single core processor and was priced higher than the Sensation and Sensation XE, which was downright stupid. The HTC Rhyme, Amaze 4G, Vivid, Hero S, and the Raider 4G are other phones that the company should have never released.

By releasing so many phones that barely had any difference, HTC confused its potential customers who ultimately brought a Galaxy S II or other Galaxy branded phone from Samsung.

Beats Audio Filled Non-Sense And Broken Promises

In a pre-Android 4.0 world, HTC’s Sense skin was considered to be the best OEM Android skin out there. However, in 2010, HTC made its biggest advantage its biggest weakness as well. The Sense 3.0 skin from the company looked downright jaw-dropping beautiful, but it was slow and was just too bloated. Even in 2012, it is not uncommon to see the HTC’s Sense launcher — Rosie — restart itself after a session of gaming.

HTC loyalists and quite a lot of other people still preferred HTC’s Sense skin over Samsung’s childish and ugly TouchWIZ. Most people would just install a de-bloated Sense based custom ROM and be happy with their phone.

Then, in late 2011, Google announced Ice Cream Sandwich, that completely over-hauled the look of Android OS. Stock Android in itself looked beautiful now, and there was no need for OEM customisations. However, OEMs needed skins to differentiate their Android handsets from each other, and thus continued with their skins.

In 2012, HTC finally realised its mistake of releasing so many handsets and unveiled the ‘One’ series of phones. The One X and One S have a build quality to die for, power packed internals, decent camera and battery life and sufficient storage space. The company also de-bloated Sense 4.0 and made it much lighter.

Once again, things looked good on paper for HTC and it looked like that the Taiwanese maker finally had an answer to Samsung’s Galaxy series. The One X sold like hot cakes when it was initially released, but soon people realised that not all is well with the phone. HTC may have made Sense 4.0 lighter than before, but the skin was still a resource hogger. HTC had also tweaked broke the multi-tasking on the One X to optimise battery life.

While I completely understand OEM skins are very-much needed to differentiate handsets, they should add some useful features instead of adding some useless gimmicky features.

There was no sign of the Holo inspired Magazine style swipe UI in Sense 4.0. The company even removed the stock Android 4.0 animations to include its own, which made little sense. With Android apps themselves using the Holo theme with Swipe gestures, the lack of the Holo theme and swipe gestures in Sense 4.0 was downright stupid from HTC. If anything this will create more confusion among users and lead to UI inconsistency, and ultimately give Android a bad name.

HTC, and even Samsung, should learn from Sony and Motorola on UI skinning. Sony’s skin adds some much needed features to core Android, without going over-board. Motorola has also done an excellent job with its skin with the ICS update for the RAZR. The company has changed the icons and add some tweaks but has otherwise left the Holo theme on ICS untouched.

HTC had also invested heavily in Beats Audio and started branding its phones with the Beats Audio logo. The Sensation XE was the first phone from HTC to carry the Beats Audio logo, but at that time Beats Audio was nothing more than a software tweak.

In 2012, it was expected that HTC will release phones that live up to the Beats Audio branding. Things however, took turn for the worse. The international One X carried the Beats Audio logo, but the sound quality of the phone was pathetic to put it politely. The Beats Audio feature still remained nothing but a software tweak that only boosted bass and did nothing else.

HTC’s promise of the ‘One’ brand was also broken with the release of the EVO 4G LTE on the Sprint network and the Droid Incredible 4G LTE on Verizon’s.

On the other hand, Samsung managed to release the Galaxy S III on all the major carriers of the United States without any modifications in design, name or software thus maintained the ‘Galaxy S’ brand. Oh! and while the International Samsung Galaxy S III does not come with the Beats Audio logo or anything similar, it does come with a Wolfson DAC that provides an excellent audio quality.

They Locked It!

Until 2010, HTC handsets were the favorite of the Android modding community. CM and other AOSP based ROMs were always available for all HTC handsets within weeks of the release of the handset. In 2011, HTC started locking bootloaders on its handsets starting with the Thunderbolt. This unexpected move from HTC definitely shocked the whole Android community. The whole Android community took a stand against this with numerous petitions, but HTC turned a deaf ear to them. It was only when the company’s handset sale stared falling that the company realized its mistake and promised to release a bootloader unlocking tool for its handsets, which the company soon did.

Once again, things looked good on paper but were not in real life. HTC’s bootloader unlocking tool only did its job partially and did not provide true S-OFF, making the rooting process of their phones much more complex. All this did not go down well with the Android community and they started recommending Samsung’s Galaxy series of phones over HTC phones to normal users.

How Can HTC Rescue Themselves?

Fulfill all your promises. Don’t use the Beats Audio for just marketing, deliver brilliant music quality from your phone as well. Tone down Sense. Yes, you already did that with Sense 4.0 and 4.1, but you need to tone it down even more. Use Sense to add some useful features to your phones. Follow the rule of Don’t fix it if it hasn’t broken. Provide developers with full S-OFF, and for God’s sake don’t release a XL or XL+ model, which as rumors suggest you are going to do with the One X.

AT&T’s HTC One X Software Update Provides Option To Re-map Menu Key To Recent Apps Button

The HTC One X is a genuine effort from HTC to make a come back in world of Android that is being dominated by Samsung’s Galaxy series. The top-notch build quality, the camera, above average battery life and a screen-to-die for makes the One X a pretty good all-rounder.

Also, unlike Samsung, HTC kept its sanity and used the Ice Cream Sandwich button layout (Back, Home and Recent app). However, since the One X does not come with on-screen navigation buttons, HTC decided to fix the missing menu button in some apps with 48 pixels of an ugly on-screen menu button, when required.

Thankfully, in the latest OTA update being rolled out to the One X from AT&T and HTC, the on-screen menu button has been removed. Instead, users are given an option to re-map the Recent app button to either menu button, with long-press for recent apps, vice versa or just a simple ‘Always open recent apps’.

The 270MB OTA update also brings with it the latest version of Ice Cream Sandwich – Android 4.0.4. Knowing AT&T and HTC, the OTA update might very well close all loopholes that were used to gain root access, so if you want to make sure that you have root access, stay away from this OTA update until the developers find another way to gain root access.

Via – Android Central

HTC Rezound Official Ice Cream Sandwich Update Now Live!

The HTC Rezound was the first phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer to be released in the United States to sport a 4.3-inch screen with 720p HD resolution, 1GB of RAM, and the Beats Audio logo. When HTC announced the Rezound it said that the handset is “Ice Cream Sandwich” ready, and that it will roll-out the update for the handset by the end of Q1 of 2012.

Well, starting from today, HTC has finally started rolling out the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Rezound. The official OTA update comes after the company missed its its original deadline by more than a quarter, and numerous ICS firmware leaks for the device.

Below is the official change-log of the update -:

Applications & Widgets
+ V CAST Media Manager has been updated to Backup Assistant Plus with an enhanced user experience.
+ Time zone issues have been resolved and proper Timezone will display within the Clock Widget.

Device Features
+ Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
+ Cisco AnyConnect support has been added to improve VPN functionality.
+ Improved data connectivity for a better user experience.
+ Improve device stability minimizes the number of resets.
+ Improvements to Mobile Hotspot connectivity.

Email, Messaging & Web
+ Improvements to default mail application now displays all Yahoo! mail contents properly

The OTA update should hit all Rezound owners within a couple of weeks. Alternatively, they can manually pull the update by going to Settings -> About Phone -> Software Update and then selecting the ‘Check For Updates’ option.

Verizon

Sprint EVO 3D And EVO Design 4G Taste Ice Cream Sandwich

It’s raining Ice Cream Sandwich update for Android devices. While LG and Samsung have rolled out ICS updates for the Nitro HD and Galaxy Tab 10.1, HTC have joined the bandwagon by releasing ICS updates for the EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G. The update is being rolled out via OTA by Sprint, and should be available to all EVO 3D/EVO Design 4G owners within the next couple of weeks.

Below is the full general change-log of the Ice Cream Sandwich update for EVO 3D and the EVO Design 4G -:

  • Upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)
  • Home screen folders
  • Launch Bar for commonly used apps
  • Improved Android Browser
  • Improved Camera Experience
  • Face Unlock
  • Resizable Widgets
  • Add/Remove Panels

Users can also manually pull the update by going to Settings -> About Device and then selecting the ‘Check for updates’ option from under the ‘Software Updates’ sub-menu.

EVO 3D/Design 4G owners should not expect much of the Holo goodness introduced by Google in Ice Cream Sandwich, in this OTA update. HTC has done an excellent job of keeping the whole UI similar to Android 2.3, all thanks to its Sense skin.

Review: HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

Verizon seems to be one of the best networks for Android fans. They offer almost all of the major Android phones like the Galaxy Nexus, Droid RAZR and Galaxy S III. And while these phones are great, what if someone wants to grab a small, economical and fast Android phone on the Verizon network? HTC seems to have been thinking this through and has released the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. This phone features top of the line specs while maintaining a small form factor and an even smaller price tag of only $149.99. So while this all sounds good on paper, how great is the Incredible 4G from a user’s perspective? You’re about to find out.

Hardware

Screen

Droid Incredible 4G Front

I have a love-hate relationship with the Droid Incredible’s screen. The Incredible 4G’s S-LCD display clocks in with a resolution of 540×960 (275ppi) which looks great when viewing photos, watching videos and browsing the web. The display is also pretty bright which is another “plus”. However, the display has one major flaw really gets on my nerves. When tapping one of the three capacitive buttons below with the slightest amount of force, the whole screen starts to get funky and discolored. And while the screen returns to normal after the button is pressed, it’s annoying and makes the phone look and feel cheap. However, this could just be an issue with my review unit, but I’m doubtful of that.

One thing I really like about the Incredible’s screen is the size. While the Incredible 4G doesn’t sport a huge 4.5″+ screen like the Galaxy Nexus or Galaxy S III, the Droid Incredible 4G offers around 4-inches of screen real estate. And while some will hate this screen size, I really like it. Personally, I think 3.5″-4″ is the sweet spot for smartphones.

Internals

The Droid Incredible sports a dual-core 1.2GHz, making it a pretty powerful phone. And while it isn’t clocked as high as some of the high-end Android phones on the market, the Incredible 4G runs pretty fast with minimal lag. We can expect this to improve even more if Android Jelly Bean is brought to the Incredible as this will make the phone an even faster device by speeding up all system animations, providing a more pleasant user experience thanks to Google’s “Project Butter.”

The rest of the Incredible 4G’s specs are pretty good as well. The Incredible 4G features 1GB of RAM, NFC support as well as an 8-megapixel camera. When testing the Incredible’s camera, I was able to take decent shots outdoors, but had trouble getting an exceptional indoor shot. So while it may not be on par with the iPhone 4S’s camera, it’s definitely good for general outdoor shooting. Not only can the phone shoot 8-megapixel photos, but it can also shoot 1080p video, which looks pretty good.

Design

Droid Incredible 4G Back

I’ve never been a big fan of HTC’s designs as they usually look less than stellar and are built out of plastic more often than not. And honestly, that holds true to the Droid Incredible 4G as it’s made completely out of plastic which is coated with a soft touch material. And while this gives a nice grip in the hand, it tends to feel cheap and flimsy. For instance, when I tried to remove the battery cover, I felt like I was going to crack it in half.

The actual design of the phone is a lot like the original Droid Incredible with the signature “swoosh” on the back of the phone. The phone is only available in black with red accents. And while I’m not a fan of this design, it all boils down to personal preference.

Software

The Droid Incredible 4G is running on the now outdated Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system with HTC Sense 4.0 layered on top. As of now, neither Verizon nor HTC have announced whether or not Android 4.1 will be coming to the Droid Incredible 4G, so we’ll just have to wait and see. However, Sense 4.0 is a decent skin and has actually made the Android experience more enjoyable for me. I’m a huge fan of the HTC widgets and definitely prefer HTC Sense over TouchWiz, MotoBLUR and other Android skins on the market.

Because of the Droid Incredible 4G’s fast CPU, Android 4.0 runs pretty well on the device. However, this isn’t without the occasional hiccup with system animations and scrolling through pages. Let’s hope that Android 4.1 fixes these problems if released for the Incredible 4G.

Connectivity

The Droid Incredible 4G is currently only available on the Verizon network and runs on both Verizon’s standard 3G network and high speed 4G LTE network. The Incredible 4G sports mobile hotspot capabilities and is not internationally unlocked, so you’ll have to shell out the extra money for Verizon’s international plan if you travel abroad. On Verizon’s LTE network in Chicago, I was able to get download speeds of over 20Mbps.

The Incredible 4G also features Wireless N capabilities and Bluetooth 4.0, so you can be sure your phone is future proof for all of your new Bluetooth gadgets.

Battery

The battery life could be better on the Droid Incredible 4G, but it’s not horrible. With LTE on, I would be able to get at least a day’s worth of charge on the Droid with normal usage of email, web browsing and social networking. The battery is removable on the Incredible 4G, so you can swap batteries if one charge won’t last you the day.

Conclusion

All in all, I think that the Droid Incredible 4G is an OK pick if you want a smaller Android device with 4G connectivity. However, beware that the built quality isn’t great and you’re not given much upgrade security. If you already own a Droid Incredible 4G, let us know how you like it by leaving a comment on this post!