All posts in “HTC”

HTC debuts original Ready Player One content for the Vive

While some don’t care for the hit novel Ready Player One, it’s hard to deny that the book captured the hearts and minds of millions as it climbed the NYT Bestseller’s list in 2011.

At the end of this month, a film adaptation of the book, directed by Stephen Spielberg, will be released in theaters.

And given the book’s heavy focus on VR, it makes sense that HTC wants to get in on the action with the Vive. The company is announcing eight pieces of virtual reality content, which will be available on the Vive and at IRL VR arcades, free to download on Viveport and Steam.

Folks attending SXSW can also get in on the action with the content debuting at the festival.

Here is the content Vive owners have to look forward to:

  • Battle for the Oasis developed by Steel Wool Studios
  • Rise of the Gunters developed by Drifter Entertainment, Inc.
  • Gauntlet developed by Directive Games
  • Smash developed by 2 Bears Studio
  • Fracture developed by 2 Bears Studio
  • Aech’s Garage developed by Sansar
  • The Distracted Globe Music Experience in TheWaveVR developed by TheWaveVR
  • Ready Player One: Avatar Creator developed by Morph3D

You can learn more about each of these titles here.

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HTC’s smartphone chief and ex-CFO, Chialin Chang, resigns

HTC’s smartphone and connected devices president and former CFO, Chialin Chang, has resigned. The move, spotted earlier by Engadget, was announced today and is effective immediately.

Chang joined the company in 2012 as CFO. He also previously ran HTC’s global sales business — before eventually becoming president of smartphones and connected devices in 2016.

HTC’s investor note specifies Chang is leaving for “personal career plan” reasons, and local press in Taiwan is reporting that Chang intends to set up his own AI startup.

HTC does not list a replacement for the position and did not respond when we asked about its plans for rehiring a smartphone chief. A company spokesperson provided the following statement on the news: “We can confirm Chialin Chang has resigned from his position as President of the Smartphone and Connected Devices Business at HTC.  We thank him for his dedication to the Company for the last six years and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Chang’s departure follows HTC transferring more than 2,000 of its best engineers to Google at the end of last month on the completion of a $1.1BN cooperation agreement between the pair, which was announced last fall — with Mountain View taking charge of many of the HTC engineers who worked on its Pixel devices.

In exchange HTC has a chunk of cash but the size of its engineering team has shrunk by about a fifth — and it’s now down a smartphone president to boot.

How it can go about reviving a smartphone business which has for years suffered lackluster earnings — on account of being outmanoeuvred and outgunned by faster and better resourced rivals — remains an open-ended question at this point. A glance at this statista graph amply illustrates the challenge.

In recent years HTC has been increasingly focused on its emerging VR business — under the Vive brand and in partnership with games publisher Valve. Though, in September, it said it remained committed to both VR and smartphones, including its U series of premium smartphones.

And it also said its collaboration with Google means it can continue to work with the engineers that now work for the Pixel maker.

Chairwoman and CEO Cher Wang is giving a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow later this month. But there will be no flashy HTC press conference — as was the norm in its smartphone heyday.

Indeed, it does not appear to have any flagship hardware launches in the pipe for MWC 2018. Though, once again, it will be demoing its Vive VR technology to delegates at the world’s biggest mobile show.

Featured Image: Joan Cros Garcia/Corbis/Getty Images

What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2018

The world’s largest phone show is set for Barcelona later this month, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting one — particularly in the wake of what amounted to an extremely lackluster CES last month. We’re still a couple of weeks out from the actual event, but the rumors have already started flying.

Few things are certain yet. It seems pretty clear that 5G will once again be taking center stage, and, unlike last year, companies may actually have more to offer on that front than mere talk.

Samsung announced its plans to launch its flagship at the event — bucking its recent trend of saving its big news for its own party. That’s a pretty tough act to compete with — as such, other manufacturers may well be keeping relatively quiet in Barcelona, so as not to get steamrolled by the S9.

Nokia and BlackBerry were surprise hits at last year’s show, courtesy of high-profile licensing deals, so expect more to come from that. Also, Qualcomm’s latest high-end chip, the Snapdragon 845, appears perfectly timed to appear on A LOT of flagships for the show. And Google, which made a big splash at CES and last year’s MWC, likely will be back to talk about the power of Assistant on mobile.

What follows is a collection of some of the most prominent rumors leading up to the year’s biggest smartphone show.


The KeyOne was a surprise hit at last year’s MWC. It was a nice piece of hardware that managed to capture the BlackBerry magic, while updating it for the modern smartphone set. TCL (the company that licenses the BlackBerry name in most of the world these days) has a pair of new handsets on deck for 2018, so expect at least one to be shown off in Barcelona.


Not much to report here. HTC’s expected to stay pretty quiet this month. The phone maker is said to be keeping its powder dry for Mobile World Congress this year, as companies like Samsung dominate the show. The U12 is still on the horizon, but the flagship is now expected to launch closer to spring. No surprise, really — the company’s been intent on hosting its own launch parties of late.


The company’s said to be bucking the trend of launching a new G series device at the show. Instead, the latest batch of rumors spearheaded by a report from The Korea Herald have the company launching an updated version of the V30, sporting enhanced AI features and the decidedly uncatchy name, “V30+’α’,” which certainly appears to have been dreamt up by some manner of robotic intelligence.


Yes, Nokia. Well, HMD, actually. Last year’s show was a big one for the return of the once mighty brand under its newly licensed home. Last year, the company made a big splash with the launch — or, relaunch — of the 3310. The throwback handset captured the imagination of a public suffering from smartphone burnout. Also, it runs Snake. Given that this represented a sort of vindication for the licensing deal, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see HMD attempting to capture lightning in a bottle yet again with another full-throttle embrace of retro hardware.

Beyond that, the company’s expected to post a whole load of new phones during a big press conference. Refreshes to the 6, 7 and 8 have all been floated, along with the arrival of the Nokia 9, a new flagship from the company, which, if nothing else, follows the company’s strict adherence to sequential numbers. Rumors give the new premium handset a 5.5-inch display, but beyond that, things have been fairly scattershot.


Two weeks out, Samsung appears to have already won the show. The company actually managed to take some of the wind out of its own sails at CES by announcing that same week that it would be announcing its next flagship at Mobile World Congress.

Just in case there was any lingering doubt, the company has since sent out invites emblazoned with a giant number “9,” implying either the arrival the Galaxy S9/S9+ or the launch of DJ Koh’s new White Album-era Beatles cover band. Natasha wrote up what to expect, specifically focused on the handset, so here are a few key bullet points for those who hate paragraph formatting:

  • New camera tech. This is always a focus for the company, and this time out, added depth-sensing appears to be a big part of the equation. Also, improved low-light picture shooting.
  • All of that will be powered by the Snapdragon 845, the latest from Qualcomm (with an Exynos chip shipping in certain regions).
  • Fingerprint reader now located under the rear camera.
  • A battery increase is expected — baby steps on that front, however, for obvious regions.
  • Headphone jack, because Samsung’s just not ready to give up the ghost.

Given how much Samsung is investing in MWC this year, I’d anticipate additional hardware. A new version of the DeX docking station is expected, and given what a big show this will no doubt be for 5G, Samsung will probably be talking up networking until it’s blue in the face.


Sony loves to pile on the Xperia news at MWC. Last year, the company unloaded a bunch of handsets, and there’s no reason to expect that this one will be any different. Xperia XZ Pro is the name that’s been floating around since the middle of last month. The rumors give the flagship a 5.7-inch 4K display and the Snapdragon 845 that’s set to be all the rage at MWC. Naturally, however, the camera’s the thing here. After all, Sony’s handsets have always been as much about showcasing its camera technology as they are actually, you know, selling phones. The handset will supposedly sport a pair of rear-facing cameras.

HTC U11 EYEs has a big battery and a dual front camera

After U11 and U11+, HTC has a new phone in its flagship line, the U11 EYEs. 

This one, however, is more of a mid-ranger with a focus on selfie photography. With a 12-megapixel UltraPixel 3 camera on the back and dual 5-megapixel cameras on the front, it should be a great companion for anyone who takes lots of photos. 

The dual front cameras allow for portrait mode-style selfies with a bokeh effect that can be adjusted after the photo is captured. The camera on the back comes with electronic and optical image stabilization and UltraSpeed autofocus. 

Image: HTC

Just like the HTC U11+, the HTC U11 EYEs also has a 3,930mAh battery, a similar glossy design and IP67 certified water and dust resistance. HTC’s Edge Sense tech, which lets you launch certain features by squeezing your phone, is also on board. 

The rest of the specs, however, are weaker than those of the flagship. The HTC U11 EYEs is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Its LCD screen sports a lower, 2,160×1,080 pixel resolution, and the speaker is mono instead of stereo. And forget about connecting your old wired headphones to it; there’s no headphone jack on this one. 

Image: HTC

On the software side, the HTC U11 EYEs is running on Android 7.1 and HTC Sense UI. 

The HTC U11 EYEs will go on sale in China for roughly $465; there’s no word on availability in the western markets. 

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Save nearly $200 on this HTC VR headset bundle in time for the holidays

If you’re in the middle of holiday shopping, then that means you’ve been scoping out some big deals on awesome stuff, and that includes this HTC Vive VR headset bundle for nearly $200 off.

Image: HTC

This special bundle of the day from Amazon includes three hot items. The first is the HTC VR System, which includes an immersive VR headset, a 360-degree controller, and a front-facing camera to keep your aware of your real-world surroundings as you play. This normally costs $599.

Image: HTC

The second is the VIVE Deluxe Audio Strap, which features adjustable padded earphones with 360-degree sound capabilities for a more immersive VR experience and normally goes for $100.

The bundle also includes a $100 Amazon gift card that you can use for just about anything. Might we suggest some VR games, perhaps?

This entire bundle costs nearly $800 altogether, but you can pick up everything today for only $599 — a 25% savings.