For HTC, The One Can't Come Soon Enough

HTC saw another precipitous revenue decline in February, putting even more pressure on the One smartphone's success.
MWC 2013: Five Best Gadgets (Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0)
MWC 2013: Five Best Gadgets
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HTC's sales in February were down 44% compared to the year-ago period and down 27% compared to January. The company needs a hit smartphone, lest it find itself an acquisition target.

In February, the Taiwanese smartphone maker recorded revenue of about $390 million, down from $520 million in January. For the year so far, HTC has brought in approximately $910 million, which is down significantly from the $1.25 billion earned in the first two months of 2012. HTC is hurting, there's no doubt.

The HTC One, the company's flagship smartphone for 2013, goes on sale later this month. It will reach European markets first, followed by the U.S. on or around March 22. If the One fails to win over consumers, HTC's future will be in doubt. The company's timing is not great, as Samsung is expected to debut its 2013 flagship device at an event in New York City on March 14.

The One, announced in mid-February, has a solid chance of competing with Samsung and Apple. It is made from milled aluminum and features a dazzling 4.7-inch 1080p HD display. The result is a pixel-dense LCD panel that looks gorgeous. The One is powered by a four-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, with each core rated at 1.7 GHz. The processor is paired with 2 GB of RAM, and the One will be available in 16-GB and 32-GB versions.

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Other features of the device include stereo speakers on the front that are combined with Beats Audio and a dedicated amplifier to create "Boom Sound." (Dontcha just love marketing lingo?)

One of the One's more interesting features is the camera. The company is taking a chance on new technology. Rather than continue to cater to the megapixel race, HTC rates the new camera at 4 "ultrapixels." These larger camera pixels are supposed to be more sensitive to low-light conditions. The camera also comes with novel software that captures video and still images at the same time, and can package them together into a single media unit.

HTC was sure to point out this week that the One may be the first smartphone able to record concerts without audio distortion. The One includes twin MEMS membranes for recording audio, one for normal audio, and one that responds to high-pressure (read, rock concerts).

These and the One's other features should be enough to give it a fighting chance against its competitors. In the U.S., HTC has support from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA, but not Verizon Wireless. According to insiders, Verizon refused to carry the One unless it could rebrand it as a "Droid" handset. Losing access to the nation's largest wireless network is not a good start for the One, but hopefully its presence with the other carriers will make up for it.

Exact details regarding availability and price have yet to be revealed.