MWC 2012: Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available for download

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Feb 292012
 

Microsoft today announced that a preview edition of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system is now available as a free download to anyone interested. Designed to work on tablets as well as traditional PCs, its most eye-catching change is the introduction of the tile-based Metro interface.

“With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. “The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC.”

Microsoft Windows 8 Start screen

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview also introduces a beta version of the Windows Store, which offers a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. These will all be free during the Consumer Preview.

Windows 8 also introduces tighter integration between Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone devices and Internet Explorer 10 Preview 5 which promises a “new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices.”

Microsoft Windows 8 User Interface

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a free download available in English, French, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese languages. Just remember that it is still beta software!

Read more: Microsoft

MWC 2012: ZTE announces quad-core ZTE Era

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Feb 292012
 

ZTE EraZTE this week announced the ZTE Era, its first quad-core smartphone and its latest flagship device. Together with the other devices it introduced at Mobile World Congress, ZTE hopes that it will help it become one of the top three handset provider by 2015.

“The numbers speak for themselves. With 50 percent growth in handset shipments and 400 percent growth in smartphone shipments, we are confident that we are entering a new era in the mobile terminal market. The ZTE Era captures the excitement we feel about the future and brings it to life in a fantastic new device,” said Mr. He Shiyou, Executive Vice President and Head of the Terminals Division at ZTE.

ZTE Era specifications:

  • Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA+
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (540×960)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Connectors: microUSB
  • Dimensions: 7.8mm thin

ZTE will launch the ZTE Era in Europe and China in the second half of 2012. There is no word on North American availability.

Read more: ZTE

MWC 2012: Samsung named “Device Manufacturer of the Year” and GALAXY S II “Best Smartphone”

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Feb 282012
 

GSMASamsung picked up two awards today as the GSMA announced the winners of its Annual Global Mobile awards at Mobile World Congress.

“The 2012 Global Mobile Awards continue to showcase the greatest, most creative and innovative products and services driving the mobile ecosystem today and into the future. With a record number of high calibre entries this year, it is a significant achievement to have been honoured in today’s ceremony,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The GSMA congratulates winners and commends all those taking part for raising the benchmark of contributions to mobile communications across the entire industry.”

Samsung was named “Device Manufacturer of the Year” and its Samsung Galaxy S II won the “Best Smartphone” award. According to JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division:

“We are pleased to receive this honor from GSMA and believe that it’s a testament to Samsung’s innovation, quality products, and attention to consumer preferences. We sold over 97 million smartphones in 2011, demonstrating that this is the right approach.”

Other notable winners include the following:

  • Best Mobile Tablet: Apple iPad 2
  • Best Mobile App for Consumers: Rovio Angry Birds Rio
  • Best Consumer Mobile Service: Google Maps for Android

Congratulations to Samsung and all the other winners!

Read more: GSMA

MWC 2012: Nokia announces Nokia 808 PureView with 41MP camera sensor

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Feb 282012
 

Nokia 808 PureViewNokia’s PureView teaser did not do justice to yesterday’s MWC announcement. The manufacturer announced the Nokia Belle OS-powered Nokia 808, the first device to feature its PureView imaging technologies. The Nokia 808 PureView will come with a 41MP camera sensor. No, that’s not a typo!

“Nokia PureView imaging technology sets a new industry standard by whatever measure you use,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices. “People will inevitably focus on the 41 megapixel sensor, but the real quantum leap is how the pixels are used to deliver breath-taking image quality at any resolution and the freedom it provides to choose the story you want to tell.”

Nokia 808 PureView:

  • Processor: 1.3GHz
  • Operating system: Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/EDGE and penta-band WCDMA/HSPA (HSDPA: 14.4Mbps / HSUPA: 5.76Mbps)
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS/GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4-inch 16:9 nHD (640×360) AMOLED ClearBlack
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 41MP AF with Nokia Pureview Pro imaging technology, f/2.4 aperture and Carl Zeiss optics
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: 1400mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 millimeters / 169 grams

The Nokia 808 PureView, by default, captures 5MP images that promise reduced noise and improved image quality due to the oversampling used. A full 38MP image mode can also be enabled.

Nokia expects to launch the Nokia 808 PureView in May. It will sell for about €450 (USD$605).

Read more: Nokia

MWC 2012: Details on Windows Phone Tango

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Feb 282012
 

Microsoft Windows PhoneWithout officially confirming the Tango update, Microsoft announced that its Windows Phone operating system has been optimized for lower-specification devices. The update supports the cheaper Qualcomm 7x27a SoC and requires only 256MB to deliver “the buttery-smooth Windows Phone experience.” It also promises to run “nearly all of the applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.”

With Windows Phone, we’ve done the engineering so that nearly all of the current apps will just work on these new phones. Those apps that do need more power are flagged in the Marketplace so if you have one of these new phones with less memory you won’t unknowingly download an app that won’t run well.

The Tango update also adds a number of MMS features, including support for video and multiple images and a new voice notes feature allowing you to record one minute audio snippets.It also includes new language support for Malay and Indonesian, network requirements for China and an SMS bug fix.

According to The Verge, the Tango update will be pushed out to existing handsets but the timeline has not yet been finalized.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog and The Verge

MWC 2012: Corning Gorilla Glass 2 devices coming this quarter

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Feb 282012
 

Corning Glass yesterday announced that shipments to manufacturers of its new Gorilla Glass 2 have now begun. Introduced at CES 2012, Gorilla Glass 2 promises to be as tough and resistant to scratches as the original Gorilla Glass despite being up to 20 percent thinner.

“Corning’s new glass composition, Gorilla Glass 2, enables slimmer and sleeker devices, brighter images, and greater touch sensitivity, providing an ideal solution for the newest, most sophisticated smartphones, tablets, and personal computers,” said David R. Velasquez, global director, Marketing and Commercial Operations, Corning Gorilla Glass.

Corning expects that the first devices to use Gorilla Glass 2 will be out this quarter. No specific devices or manufacturers were named in the press release.

Since its release in 2007, Corning Gorilla Glass has been used by more than 30 major brands in more than 600 devices with shipments now topping over 600 million units worldwide.

Read more: Corning

MWC 2012: ASUS introduces Transformer Pad 300 and Transformer Pad Infinity

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Feb 272012
 

ASUS today announced two new tablets as it rebrands its Transformer tablet family. With netbooks fading in relevance, ASUS has decided to drop the Eee from its tablet names and future tablets will be known as Transformer Pads. The latest ASUS Transformers are the Transformer Pad 300, the first quad-core LTE tablet, and the Transformer Pad Infinity. As rumours suggested, the former is the first in a budget line of tablets while the latter is the first in the higher-end Pad Infinity lineup.

ASUS Transformer Pad 300ASUS Transformer Pad 300 specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L with 12-core GeForce 12-core GPU
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: None (Wi-Fi only), 3G or 4G options
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v3.0
  • Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) LED IPS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, optional full QWERTY keyboard mobile dock
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2MP with f/2.2 aperture

ASUS Transformer Pad InfinityASUS Transformer Pad Infinity specifications:

  • Processor (Wi-Fi only): 1.6GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 T33
  • Processor (3G /LTE): 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: None (Wi-Fi only), 3G or 4G options
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR & Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Display: 10.1-inch FHD (1920×1200) Super IPS+
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, optional full QWERTY keyboard mobile dock
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard options and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with flash, f2.2 aperture, BSI
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Connectors: 2-in-1 audio jack, micro HDMI port
  • Battery:
  • Dimensions / weight: 263×180.8×8.5 millimeters / 586 grams

The Transformer Pad Infinity is set to ship sometime in Q2 with the Transformer Pad 300 to follow later on. Pricing details were not provided.

Read more: ASUS Transformer Pad 300 and ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity

MWC 2012: ASUS relaunches PadFone

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Feb 272012
 

ASUS PadfoneFirst announced last May, ASUS today reintroduced the ASUS PadFone at Mobile World Congress. The concept behind the device has not changed: The 4.3-inch smartphone can be docked and transformed into the PadFone Station, a 10.1-inch tablet.

ASUS Padfone specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8260A
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA+ (21Mbps / 5.76Mbps)
  • Other connectivity: GPS/A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard options and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF with flash, f/2.2 aperture and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Battery: 1520mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 128 x 65.4 x 9.2 millimeters / 129 grams

ASUS now expects the updated Padfone to begin shipping in April. The price and specific availability details were not revealed.

Read more: ASUS

MWC 2012: Samsung announces Galaxy Note 10.1

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Feb 272012
 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1Samsung today announced the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Like the smaller Galaxy Note, it blends elements of smartphones and tablets into a single device.

“GALAXY Note 10.1 takes productivity on a Note to a whole new level. With a larger, fully utilizable screen and superior performance, it combines the intuitiveness of handwriting with all the versatility of digital content to let users be more productive across all of life’s demanding tasks—whether working, learning, or simply creating their own stories,” said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “With GALAXY Note 10.1 we are demonstrating Samsung’s commitment to extend the mobile category.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1:

  • Processor: 1.4GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GPRS/EDGE/HSPA+ 21Mbps on 3G model
  • Other connectivity: GPS (Wi-Fi model) or A-GPS (3G model), 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) PLS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, S Pen digital pen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 3MP AF with LED flash and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack,
  • Battery: 7,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 256.7 x 175.3 x 8.9 millimeters, 583 grams

Samsung did not provide specific availability and pricing details.

Read more: Samsung

MWC 2012: Nokia announces Lumia 610 and wider Lumia 900 availability

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Feb 272012
 

Nokia Lumia 610As had been widely rumoured, Nokia today its fourth Windows Phone Lumia smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 610. The entry-level device “was made possible thanks to a new software release from Microsoft delivering enhanced capabilities to the Windows Phone 7.5 platform.” As expected, the update to Windows Phone supports lower memory and processor requirements, making it possible for Nokia (and likely others) to offer cheaper devices.

Nokia Lumia 610 specifications:

  • Operating system: Windows Phone 7.5
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/WCDMA
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Display: 3.7-inch WVGA (800×480) LCD
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 256MB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard (No microSD slot)
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP AF with LED flash and f/2.2 lens
  • Front-facing camera:
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB
  • Battery: 1,300 mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 119 x 62 x 12 millimeters / 131.5 grams

The Nokia Lumia 610 will begin shipping in Europe in Q2 2012 and will sell for €189 (US$253).

Nokia also announced that a DC-HSPA variant of the Nokia Lumia 900 will begin to ship in April in countries where LTE is not available. It will sell for €480 (US$645). Nokia also added that the LTE version is also coming to Canada in April.

Read more: Nokia

MWC 2012: Samsung announces Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) tablet

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Feb 262012
 

Samsung GALAXY Tab 2 (10.1)On the heels of its refresh of the original Samsung Galaxy Tab with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) comes Samsung’s unveiling of the GALAXY Tab 2 (10.1). It will be available in both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi and 3G variants.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) specifications:

  • Processor: 1GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with Samsung TouchWiz
  • Cellular connectivity: None on Wi-Fi model and quad-band HSPA+ 21Mbps on 3G model
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) PLS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16 and 32GB onboard models, microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 3MP
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack,
  • Battery: 7,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 256.6 x 175.3 x 9.7 millimeters, 588 grams

Samsung will launch the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) globally starting in the UK in March. Pricing information was not announced.

Read more: Samsung

MWC 2012: Samsung announces Galaxy Beam with buit-in projector

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Feb 262012
 

Samsung Galaxy BeamAs 2012’s Mobile World Congress is set to officially kick off on Monday, Samsung today announced the Samsung Galaxy Beam, a smartphone that comes with a built-in projector that can project an HD image up to 50 feet wide.

“GALAXY Beam provides mobile freedom, enabling a unique shared experience around digital content for everyone—anywhere and instantly—from a smartphone as slim and portable as any on the market,” said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

“GALAXY Beam is a device borne out of Samsung’s insight and innovation, demonstrating Samsung’s commitment to providing extraordinary experiences for consumers with products that let them express and fulfill themselves.”

Samsung Galaxy Beam specifications:

  • Processor: 1GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and quad-band HSPA 14.4/5.76Mbps
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0+HS
  • Display: 4.0-inch WVGA (480×800)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP AF
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB 2.0
  • Battery: 2,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 64.2 x 124 x 12.5 millimeters / 145.3 grams
  • Other: 15 lumens projector

Samsung did not provide specific launch availability and pricing details.

Read more: Samsung

MWC 2012: Huawei announces quad-core MediaPad 10 FHD tablet

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Feb 262012
 

As MWC kicked off on Sunday, Huawei unveiled its first quad-core tablet, the Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD.

“Most consumers use tablets for entertainment purposes such as gaming, viewing multimedia content, browsing the internet and reading e-books,” said Richard Yu, Chairman of Huawei Device. “We have created the HUAWEI MediaPad 10 FHD to excel in all of the entertainment capabilities including speed, power, web-browsing, high definition display and audio, and packaging it all in a compact and portable body.”

Huawei MediPad 10 FHD

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MWC 2012: A closer look at HTC’s HTC One smartphones

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Feb 262012
 

As had been widely expected, HTC unveiled a new line of smartphones built around the “HTC One” brand at its Mobile World Congress press event. Three models were unveiled with the HTC One X, being the flagship device and HTC’s first quad-core smartphone. Here are the specifications of HTC’s latest devices.

HTC One XHTC One X specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • Processor (LTE version): 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE or HSPA / GSM/GRPS/EDGE
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4.7-inch HD (720×1280) Super LCD
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 32GB onboard (16GB on LTE model)
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with LED flash, BSI, f/2.0 lens and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP (720p for video chat)
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB 2.0, HDMI
  • Battery: 1800 mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 millimeters / 130 grams
  • Other: Unibody polycarbonate design, Beats Audio

HTC One SHTC One S specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (540×960)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16Gb onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with LED flash, BSI, f/2.0 lens and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP (720p for video chat)
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB 2.0, HDMI
  • Battery: 1,650mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 130.9 x 65 x 7.8 / 119.5 grams
  • Other: Beats Audio

HTC One VHTC One V specifications:

  • Processor: 1GHz
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA
  • Display: 3.7-inch WVGA (800×480)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 4GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with LED flash, BSI, f/2.0 lens and 720p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB 2.0, HDMI
  • Battery: 1,500mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 120.3 x 59.7 x 9.24 millimeters / 115 grams
  • Other: Beats Audio

There is no word yet on Canadian availability. In the U.S., T-Mobile has announced it will carry the HTC One S starting this spring.

MWC 2012: Summary of HTC’s press conference

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Feb 262012
 

HTC today took to the stage as Mobile World Congress kicked off. Along with the expected new line of flagship “HTC One” smartphone brand, HTC’s event covered a variety of new announcements.

The first key topic focused around taking pictures. According to HTC, this is now the second most common thing that people do with their phones. HTC’s new ImageSense promises to improve “every part of the camera: the lens, the sensor, software, UI.” The camera app will have an under one second startup time and a 0.2-second autofocus. Burst mode will be enabled simply by continuing to press down on the shutter button. Low-light operation has also been improved with the HTC One series to feature a f/2.0 lens and an improved sensor. Throw in HDR and dual-shutters to capture video and stills simultaneously.

HTC also announced an expanded partnership with DropBox. The company’s cloud storage service will be integrated into HTC Sense 4. HTC One users will receive 25GB of storage free for two years.

HTC then announced MediaLink which allows communications between HTC smartphones and a variety of TVs. Among the features it offers are a three-finger swipe that sends a picture or video to the nearest connected TV and both dual-display and mirror modes.

HTC Sense 4 also integrates Beats Audio. All music played, whether local or streamed, as well as any other sound coming from the smartphone will be processed by Beats. Music syncing will be done wirelessly and will support iTunes and other playlists.

Finally, it was time to get to the devices. Up first was the HTC One X (also referred to as the HTC One). It will be supported by the HTC One S and the HTC One V, the latter bringing back the chin seen on some earlier designs. More on these in the next post.

The HTC One line will launch globally starting in April. It will be HTC’s broadest launch with 144 mobile operators around the world committing to carrying HTC One devices.