It is certainly good to see that HTC hasn’t been sitting on the sidelines while it pondered how to deal with the aftermath of patent lawsuits brought down on it by Apple. Today, the company made a fairly substantial announcement in conjunction with Verizon – introducing a new “super smartphone” with an excellent five-inch screen.
It is an Android piece of hardware, and runs Android 4.1 out of the box. According to Verizon, the device, called the DNA, will become available for shipping on November 19, 2012, so its release is essentially right around the corner.
The DNA is very interesting, with the key feature being the ability to deliver full 1080p HD video – which makes it the very first smartphone to be able to do so. HTC has built the DNA around a large five-inch display. Or rather, it would be large if we were talking about a device that sits somewhere between smartphones and tablets – such as the Samsung Galaxy Note II (which some also classify through the hideous term “phablet” – which Samsung hates, as we do).
But HTC calls it a smartphone, which makes the screen “huge” rather than large.
HTC spent its time during the announcement making a big deal about the DNA not being one of those hybrid devices, but rather in its being a true smartphone. HTC’s marketing team clearly understands that it needs to drive home the message that the DNA is a smartphone, and certainly took its time today to make that case.
There’s a certain image issue associated with larger-than-smartphone devices such as the Galaxy Note II. The major implication is that if you aren’t LeBron James, the phone is simply too damn big. Considering that Samsung actually uses LeBron James in Galaxy Note II TV spots, we certainly understand the issue.
But the fact of the matter is that most of us are not sold on the larger hybrid size. Most of us want to purchase a smartphone – something that directly implies normal sized people can easily hold it with one hand, and can easily operate it with one hand.
That is the marketing challenge for HTC, and the company has simply come out swinging and insisting that the DNA is a smartphone and nothing else. We hope the marketing works well enough to encourage users to take a long look at it.
In truth, it doesn’t come across as being particularly large, and with the very high-end display it sports (1080p and 440 pixels per inch), if HTC can get people to check it out, odds are it’ll convince a good share of them to buy it.
We haven’t personally had the phone in hand yet, but with that level of resolution it should handily beat out most of the competition in terms of pure visual quality. It probably also bests the iPhone retina display, although technically speaking, once the pixels disappear and the images are seamless, how can you actually compare which is better?
At the very least, given the 1080p video resolution it should prove to be a killer gaming smartphone.
Verizon’s price for the DNA with a new two-year contract is $199 – the same cost as the iPhone 5 upon an upgrade. That may be a bit steep, but HTC is certainly in no position financially to subsidize it to a lower price point. It will be interesting to see how Verizon handles pricing through the holiday season.
We’ll skip the listing of specifications and instead refer interested readers directly over to Verizon, where it has already set up an extensive DNA overview that provides detailed specs and 3D images. We will say that in addition to the awesome display the DNA delivers a quad-core processor, one of the first to do so. It is an LTE smartphone so expect superior cellular speeds across the board, and in addition to the display, it also offers built–in Beats Audio.
All in all, the DNA is a very high end package. Will the world really look at it as a super smartphone? Hard to say, but it will be worth a detailed look either way, especially for anyone who’s a gamer or really loves watching video on a smartphone.
One thing is for certain: football games will look about as good as they possibly can.
That alone may drive sales – there are an awful lot of mobile sports nuts running around these days.
Edited by Braden Becker