As you'll know if you've been following our coverage of the device, the HTC One S comes in two flavors -- anodized aluminum (grey) and ceramic (black). The black version is treated using a process called micro-arc oxidation, which involves taking the aluminum unibody and pumping it full of electricity until, through the power of science, the surface takes on a ceramic-like texture.
However, some One S owners have reported that after just a few days, the fancy matte coating is already starting to erode. There's even the customary XDA thread with photos of unsightly scratches along the top edge of some devices, apparently through normal use rather than being dropped or knocked around. We haven't noticed anything that drastic with our MAO-coated review unit, but it has picked up a few smudges here and there. Then again, a phone picking up scuffs over time is hardly news in itself.
In a statement sent to The Verge, HTC says it's aware of the repots and is investigating the issue. That's the way these things work, and we're hopeful HTC will make things right for those with genuine defects.
But it's also worth mentioning that just because a phone's been fried in plasma, doesn't make it immune to the laws of physics. Scratches will still happen, even on a surface that's purportedly four times harder than the standard anodized aluminum. A good analogy here is Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is stronger than regular glass, but although it's bendable and shatter resistant, it remains susceptible to hairline scratches. The point of a reinforced surface is to avoid structural, not cosmetic damage. It's also true that manufacturing defects happen, particularly in the early days, and these aren't necessarily indicative of a flawed design.
However this pans out, we'll be watching with interest, and we'll keep you posted of further developments. Be sure to share your own experiences with the One S down in the comments.
Source: The Verge