Android Central

HTC looks poised to launch a companion handset device in the Chinese market to go along with the new HTC Butterfly (aka Droid DNA.) The Mini, which looks similar to many candybar phones of yesteryear, will pair with Bluetooth via NFC to your smartphone and let you make and receive calls, view call logs and calendar information on its monochrome screen. HTC apparently envisions the Mini being used for more than just calls though, acting as a remote for when the Butterfly is plugged into a TV and helping users find their Butterfly when it is lost.

At first glance we're not so sure how adding a second handset device makes anything easier on the consumer, because at some point you just start running out of pocket space, but you could easily see this as an accessory for around the house rather than when you're out and about. Come home, plop your phone on the wireless charger at the door, and just have the Mini with you to make/receive calls. It could easily be used as a home phone replacement. Let's also remember that different markets demand different features from phones, and this really could be appealing to Chinese users.

Because this looks to be a China-specific accessory, we wouldn't be surprised if it never made its way to other countries. It's interesting to see HTC experimenting with different accessories though, and we don't know what development of the Mini may lead to in the future for other markets around the world.

Source: Slashgear


Reader comments

HTC Butterfly to have companion 'Mini' handset available in China


So this is what HTC has been wasting their time on. I know Samsung is hard to compete with, but resources are not being allocated properly when these side projects release products directed at certain market

Women who want to carry a extra large phone or tablet in their purse, or guys that can slip the monster in an inside coat pocket.

Not everyone wants to participate in the duchebaggery of being seen holding a huge slab to their ear to make a call.

What an asshole statement. So because someone opps to use a larger screened device and they might also take a phone call on it, they are a douchbag? I fail to see your logic. What is apparent though, is your douchbaggery.

I find it odd that a device render that's planned to be "China exclusive" would carry the FCC logo on it. Unless there's a Chinese FCC that has the same logo then it would appear that HTC has plans, or at least had plans, to bring the device to the U.S.

You run something through the FCC and because of agreements between countries, its good for a lot of places. Canada and the EU will accept FCC certification as long as the radios are the same for the EU region.

But you have to realize that the only thing that actually GOES to the FCC is the paperwork.

There are certification and testing labs that do all actual measurement, lab testing, etc, and they also take care of paperwork and test report submission to any agency you want. One pass through these test labs (some major manufacturers have their own captive in-house lab) and you can get your device certified all over the world. The US certification is the most rigorous, the EU second, so if you pass the US FCC standards, you will pass any other countries standards. (Although you may have to test different radio frequencies for some things).

The actual fees you pay to the FCC are not as huge as a lot of people think, and its not as expensive to get certified everywhere. The expense is in the lab work.

I can see this being released as a tablet companion: especially in the US, where carriers are afraid of allowing tablets to be used as phones. That would have been a perfect use case for it. I can see it being used as a remote as well, if your phone is connected to your tv; however, a phone for a phone seems a tad bit unnecessary.

Carriers aren't "Afraid" of letting tablets be used as phones.

Its just that nobody wants to be seen holding a huge slab up to their head.

...I'd buy this. I'm strangely attracted to it as an accessory. I just hope that I'd actually use it if I spent money on it.

Who sits around their house with a bluetooth set stuck in their ear??
This would be perfect for those of us that have given up land lines in our homes. Even better fit for users of 5+ inch devices to use around the house.
I'd buy one, it'd have to come with a better phone than the current HTC offerings here in the states.

I wish i could get something like this. I dont have a landline and this would really be nice for just using as a phone. Just get home and plug my galaxy s3 in and use this as my house phone. Great idea.

Well options are always good, but I thought the point of a large phone was to be an all-in-one device. It could be that the Chinese still talk on their phones, and are uncomfortable wielding such a large device.

It seems like a legit idea as i usually use my n7 when i get home for essentially the same type of thing.

I could surely see this as a useful addon for a full-sized tablet with phone capabilities. It would be great to be able to make and receive calls, etc, without having to unpack the beast. That said, it's one of the reasons I own a "phablet." I want most of the conveniences of both worlds in a package that still fits in my pocket.

What I'd really like to see more of is a variation on the "transformer" packages (actually more like Voltron or Power Rangers :)) where the phone nests in a tablet screen or a laptop carrier. What I'd like to see is a more universal, tablet-size adjunct to a phone with a (nearly) full-sized keyboard option similar to all those table cases+keyboards you see all over. Nearly universal would get past the problem of having to buy it all over again each time you switch phones. Obviously, neither OEM or carrier would be that interested in doing that. It'd have to be Logitech or some other accessory manufacturer.

Oh look a phone for my phone!

So phones are getting so large that manufacturers are beginning to look for alternative interface methods!?

Here's my two cents.

Why not take cellular phone completely out of the tablet and make your bluetooth headset your cellular phone? And any tablet becomes the controller for the bluetooth/cell phone via bluetooth. While the tablet will have it's own data modem.

The bluetooth cellphone headset could even sync with the smart watches, such as motoactv and the pebble! That way you don't even need the tablet anymore.

In other words, take the dumb phone part out of the smartphone part.

It can be done. I have a blue tooth headset that has a 16 hours talk time and a whole week of stand by time. Even if the cellular radio uses more power than the blue tooth transmitter you would still get cellphone performance that far exceeds any current smartphones.

Plus that will give you the added benefit of no more crapware from the carriers since their part will be nothing more than a dumb headset.

Look, this is cheaper to do this way than the way you are suggesting.

Plus, the thing that pulls all the power talking to towers is the big-tablet/phone with a huge battery.

The little handheld doesn't need anything but bluetooth. Bluetooth is very low power.

You absolutely will NOT get 16 hours once you hang a cellular radio in that handset.

They put the power hungry radios in the device with the biggest battery, and the device that can sit on the charger all day in the office or at home, and this device can be sold for ANY other device that has bluetooth 4 support.

They did it the smart way.

Yeah, I was not really suggesting that it would have 16 hours of talk time but a big portion of that time. Battery life is so bad because of the data connection. My wife's dumb phone has a tiny battery and yet she changes it once a week!
Sure it changes with talk time but her dumb phone blows my bionic away in terms of battery life. And her phone is not much bigger than my bluetooth headset!

Plus you get the benefit of still having a functioning cell phone once the power hungry tablet dies.

This would be a great device for media use. When docking a phone to your tv, if this can take calls and control the phone while it is docked so you don't have to undock if someone calls.

Umm 5 inches isnt even very big

the larger phones are much more pleasant to talk on, my Galaxy Note 1 and 2 are fantastic to use as a phone.

its sooo easy to hold it with your shoulder against your ear hands free.

i love it

why would i ever want to carry around a second phone?