T-Mobile is playing catch-up on the hottest smartphones. After finally adding the iPhone 5 to its lineup, the wireless carrier has announced the HTC One on the Android front.
The HTC One is available now on T-Mobile's Web site. Beginning Wednesday, the HTC One will be available in additional retail channels. T-Mobile's new smartphone will cost $99.99 down with 24 monthly payments of $20 for "well-qualified T-Mobile customers" at zero-percent interest.
The HTC One features a zero-gap aluminum unibody and introduces several features, including BlinkFeed, Zoe, BoomSound, and a new version of HTC's Sense overlay. BlinkFeed essentially turns the home screen into a single live stream of information that is relevant to the device owner. That information includes social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, and news and photos.
Pick Your Poison
Avi Greengart, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, said that with the phone coming with a nearly $600 price tag, he expects most people to put the $99 down because it's less money up front.
"The HTC One is available at most of T-Mobile's rivals. AT&T and Sprint have it," Greengart told us. "Where T-Mobile stands out is on the overall value proposition in terms of the price over a two-year period for an individual consumer. If you are looking to add four lines, actually, T-Mobile gets a little pricey. But for one or two users, the T-Mobile price plans are quite competitive and they are less money out of pocket to start."
For example, customers can walk out of T-Mobile with an HTC One for an outlay of $100. An AT&T customer would shell out $200 up front. T-Mobile does not make customers sign a service contract, but there is a contract for the phone purchase. By contrast, AT&T doesn't have a contract for a phone purchase but does have a service contract. In other words, consumers can pick their poison. And many will opt to save the $100.
Faster or Cheaper?
Greengart is a fan of the HTC One, which comes with what HTC calls an UltraPixel camera. The camera lets users shoot high-resolution photos that come to life in three-second snippets of video. Dubbed Zoes, these snippet photos and videos can be displayed in a gallery of motion memories. The camera can also auto-create highlight films from an event using photos and videos set to music with cuts, transitions and effects.
The camera includes a sensor with what HTC calls UltraPixels that gather 300 percent more light than traditional smartphone camera sensors. This new approach also promises low-light performance and a variety of other improvements to photos and videos.
Meanwhile, an ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera supports 1080p video capture. And multi-axis optical image stabilization for the rear camera also helps make video footage smoother. The camera also makes possible enhanced 360-degree panorama, time sequencing and object removal.
"The HTC one is a fantastic device with a stunning design and unique software ," Greengart said. "I am sure AT&T would make the case that it's faster on their network and T-Mobile would say they are going to have LTE soon."