HTC's first true phablet will follow Apple's lead by including a fingerprint sensor.
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HTC is prepared to unveil a new, large-screen smartphone as soon as Oct. 15. The device, called the HTC One Max, will have a built-in fingerprint sensor. It's hard to say whether a big screen and fingerprint sensor can help stop HTC's slide into oblivion.
The One Max, rumored for months, will be the second major device released this year with the ability to read fingerprints, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Apple iPhone 5s, which debuted Sept. 20, also has a fingerprint scanner. The iPhone 5s uses it to unlock the device as well as to authorize iTunes purchases. The Journal's sources didn't say how HTC planned to use fingerprint scanning on the One Max. Pictures of the One Max leaked on the Internet show the sensor positioned on the back of the device, rather than on the front like the iPhone's.
Other details about the One Max are beginning to take shape. For example, it will have a 5.9-inch full-HD screen. The One, released earlier this year, has a 4.7-inch HD screen. The One Max's screen will be significantly larger. It will also best the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which measures 5.7 inches.
The Max will include the Ultrapixel camera that HTC developed for the One and One Mini. Rather than increase the number of pixels in its smartphone camera, HTC opted to triple the size of the pixels in the camera sensor itself. HTC says the Ultrapixel camera actually has 4 million pixels, but their increased size makes them much more sensitive to low light.
Beyond these hardware elements, not much else about the One Max is known. There's no word on the processor, storage or RAM.
The One Max will run the latest version of Android with HTC's Sense 5 user interface. It will include the same features that are already available to the One and One Mini, such as the BlinkFeed home page.
HTC has invited media to attend an event in Taiwan next week, which is when the company is expected to reveal the device.
HTC is in a precarious position. It recently reported its first quarterly loss since going public in 2002. The device maker has crafted fine devices this year, but they haven't sold as well as the company hoped. HTC recently blamed marketing woes on the Ones' poor traction.
The company's device strategy makes sense, but so far it hasn't worked. HTC was smart to debut the HTC One, its flagship device, early in the year. The One Mini followed this summer, and the One Max will follow this fall. The lineup gives HTC premium devices that cover the small, medium, and large segments. Can the large screen of the Max and the fingerprint sensor convince buyers that have so far shunned HTC's products this year? Perhaps. It will be interesting to watch the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and One Max go head-to-head with phablet buyers in the weeks to come.
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