HTC has hosted a special event in Taipei, Taiwan to officially unveil the new flagship phone for its 20th anniversary year: the HTC U11. The U11 follows in the footsteps of the U Ultra and U Play, released earlier in the year, with a refined version of that phone's "liquid glass" design — while introducing a pressure-sensitive, squeezable metal trim as part of the new Edge Sense feature.
It also boasts suitably high-end specs — the U11 is a 5.5-incher with a Quad HD SuperLCD 5 display, and it's powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 chip, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage in the U.S. and UK (some other regions will also carry a 6GB/128GB model). As is becoming increasingly standard for flagship phones, the HTC U11 is water and dust resistant, rated IP67. And the company has upgraded its 12-megapixel shooter — now dubbed an "UltraPixel 3" camera — with faster autofocus and an f/1.7 lens, and enhanced HDR capabilities thanks to the always-on HDR Boost feature.
Squeeze to start the camera, take a photo, open Assistant or launch your favorite app.
Edge Sense is the big new hardware feature HTC is focusing on with this phone, turning the entire outer frame itself into a programmable shortcut area. Squeezing the phone — either with a short or long grip — can launch the camera, Google Assistant, or any other app. Many of HTC's own apps have Edge Sense capabilities built in, and an add-on app launching shortly after the U11 goes on sale will allow you to map certain features of third-party apps to a short or long squeeze too, without the developer needing to update it.
Speaking of Assistants, the U11 will launch with Google Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa will be made available via a Play Store software update in the weeks following release. HTC says it's working to bring more AI assistants to the phone, and that they'll be treated as equals, with the same access to wake-up voice commands and Edge Sense's capabilities. In China, Baidu's DuerOS will provide Assistant functionality relevant to that market on the HTC U11.
Like the HTC Bolt and U Ultra, the U11 also abandons the 3.5mm headphone jack, and instead comes bundled with a pair of HTC USonic USB-C earphones, which have now been upgraded to include active noise cancellation. And elsewhere, HTC's BoomSound Hi-Fi system has been enhanced to bring volume in line with the company's older front-facing BoomSound speakers, thanks to the entire body of the phone acting as a resonant chamber.
The HTC U11 will go on sale later in May, starting in select markets next week. The unlocked HTC U11 will sell for $649 in the U.S., and it'll also be available on Sprint, the exclusive carrier launch partner. In the UK, it's £649 SIM-free from Amazon, Very.co.uk, Argos, and will also be available at Carphone Warehouse, EE and O2. More regional carrier announcements should start popping up in the days ahead.
For more on HTC's latest creation, you'll want to check out our hands-on preview!
HTC Unveils New Flagship Smartphone Made for the Brilliant U: Meet the HTC U11
HTC U11 combines revolutionary new squeeze interaction with stunning liquid surface design, intelligent personal audio, amazing cameras, and multiple AI assistants for a smarter smartphone
TAIPEI – May 16, 2017 – You affectionately squeeze the hand of the one you love. A baby intuitively squeezes her mother's finger. A child squeezes his teddy bear to feel safe at night. Nothing feels as close, connected and personal as the sensation of touch or the warmth of an embrace. And no device is as personal in our lives as our smartphone. Inspired by the power of touch and the Brilliant U, HTC today unveiled HTC U11, the world's first smartphone with revolutionary new squeeze interaction. Made for "U" with design, materials, and experiences that reflect your inner drive, passion, creativity, and individuality, HTC U11 offers the most advanced features ever in a smartphone, including:
- HTC Edge Sense, the next dimension in touch interaction with your phone.
- Liquid Surface, a stunning, unique design that reflects you.
- HTC USonic, our most advanced headset ever built for personal audio, now including Active Noise Cancellation.
- Amazing cameras with the highest independent rating ever awarded to a smartphone camera1.
- HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa for a smarter, more helpful smartphone2.
All together, HTC U11 sets a new standard of what you can expect from a smartphone.
- Few things are as natural and intuitive as the sense of touch. HTC Edge Sense transforms this fundamental sense into a completely new and revolutionary interaction with your phone. With a simple squeeze, HTC Edge Sense lets you easily engage with your phone in an unprecedented yet intuitive way, helping you more naturally enjoy the things you love like taking photos, opening Facebook, or launching any of your favorite apps.
- For example, with HTC Edge Sense, launching your camera has never been easier. No more fumbling for buttons or awkward hand positions. No more worrying about dropping your phone while you pose. Just lift, squeeze, smile, and snap.
- You can also send texts faster and easier than before. Texting can be impossible when you are on the move, but using HTC Edge Sense for Voice to Text, you can speak your text messages without having to slow down. Lightly squeeze, speak your message and send your texts on the go.
- You can even customize the squeeze gesture: open email with just a squeeze. Or launch your favorite game (or any other app). Or pick any one of a host of options. Want even more touch control? HTC Edge Sense gives you the ability to activate advanced touch and use a "short squeeze" as well as a "squeeze and hold" for even more functionality at your fingertips.
- And because Edge Sense is based on actual pressure applied to the side of the device, it can be used in nearly any condition – including while wearing gloves or in weather such as snow or rain that would normally be a challenge with capacitive buttons.
- HTC U11's liquid glass surface is crafted to impress using Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition. By layering highly-refractive precious minerals across the phone's back cover, we've created vivid new colors that transforms light with every movement you make.
- The new seamless, curved look of HTC U11 is achieved with 3D glass on both front and back. Heating and then bending the glass using extreme pressure results in unique, 3-axis symmetry for a phone that is slim no matter which way you hold it.
- HTC U11 has a 5.5" Quad HD 3D glass screen designed for vivid, crisp images and text in any light – even direct sunlight. With our best display and true-to-life color reproduction, we provide you a purer full-framed viewing experience. Our display avoids the cropped pictures or distorted colors at the edge that are the results you can expect from a curved screen.
- Plus, HTC U11 is water-resistant3, so no need to worry about splashes, spills, or dunks.
Tuned to U
- HTC U11 introduces the latest version of HTC USonic, which now combines Active Noise Cancellation with the ability to tune audio to your unique hearing. By leveraging built-in microphones on the headset and USB-C data connectivity, USonic earbuds map your inner ear with an advanced sonar-like technology and then adapt the sound profile to your unique biology. This creates an incredibly personal and optimized listening experience with vibrant audio shaped specifically for you.
- USonic now incorporates Active Noise Cancellation, which reduces disruptions and distractions around you, so you can stay focused on your music. Active Noise Cancellation continuously monitors environmental sound levels, and quickly adjusts to any new noises or disturbances. You're free to stay focused on your music, videos, or games
- HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition speakers got an upgrade, too. We've improved the speaker design to deliver more loudness and better Dynamic Range Audio. On top, the tweeter now offers an acoustic chamber that allows the highs and mids to sound richer. While below, the woofer sports a new speaker and improved magnetic circuit design for louder, clearer and deeper bass tones. You really have to hear it to believe the power of BoomSound.
- We didn't forget to upgrade the microphones, either, using four optimally positioned omnidirectional microphones together with our new Acoustic Focus technology, HTC brings you our best 3D audio recording quality yet. HTC U11's microphones work together to record audio from all directions, and when shooting video with Acoustic Focus, you can visually zoom in to target your subject and amplify their specific sounds.
- Out of the box, we will also ship an HTC USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with a built-in DAC that offers great audio performance and wide compatibility with all other devices and earphones.
Pictures that move U
- HTC U11 has achieved the highest ever rating for a smartphone camera for both photo and video by independent metric DxOMark4. Our multi-axis optical stabilization system and super-fast autofocus in all lighting conditions make the camera quick, your pictures sharp, and videos smooth. We improved our camera and video for a more dynamic exposure range with HDR Boost without the lag, new white balance enhancement, a major reduction in noise, and excellent detail preservation.
- HTC U11 introduces Auto HDR Boost to give you all the benefits of HDR without the lag. HDR Boost offers clearer, more balanced pictures by taking multiple shots that measure the darkest shadows and brightest highlights without any slowdown. HTC U11 enhances textures and colors, increases visible detail and brings out the best in every shot. When shooting video, Temporal Noise Reduction automatically uses information from the previous and next frames to remove unwanted noise and deliver the clearest video.
- Great news for serious photographers: HTC U11 incorporates the new UltraSpeed AutoFocus with same full sensor auto-focus technology that's found in top DSLR cameras, so you can enjoy significantly faster focus speeds, with snappy and delightful performance. In addition, HTC U11's exceptional optical and electronic stabilization system will keep your photos and video steady and crisp even when your hand is shaking.
- The new front camera now combines high-resolution 16MP detail and our UltraPixel light sensitivity for brilliant selfies day or night. It also utilizes the same powerful HDR Boost and noise reduction as the main camera.
The smarter digital companion for U
- Three brains are better than one, so inside HTC U11 you can find three intelligent companions devoted to you: HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa2. In mainland China, HTC U11 also offers Baidu DuerOS.
- We've made HTC Sense Companion smarter than ever: it will get to know you and your daily patterns over time in order to offer you more convenience every day. For example, HTC Sense Companion is smart enough to notice if you have any late appointments that day and will remind you to recharge while you have time or bring a power bank. It will make sure your phone is running at its optimum speed by suggesting to clear junk files and unused apps for more free space. It will let you know if you need to dress for inclement weather conditions, track your fitness progress relative to your goals, recommend great nearby restaurants at mealtime, and much more5.
- HTC U11 runs the latest version of Android, so it also includes Google Assistant, the helpful personal assistant powered by Google se arch and services for finding directions, getting answers, managing your tasks, planning your day, and entertainment.
- HTC U11 is also the first smartphone on the market to feature hands-free wake word access to Amazon Alexa. By simply asking questions such as "Alexa, what's the weather today?" or saying things like, "Alexa, turn on my living room lights," Alexa will respond to your needs anywhere you go, making it easy to control smart home products, ask for news, weather, music, and the 12,000-plus skills in the Alexa skills store. The Alexa voice service is currently available to customers in the United States, U.K., and Germany.
- And in mainland China, HTC and Baidu DuerOS have built a strategic partnership to create a voice-based virtual assistant with speech recognition and voice interaction to satisfy Chinese users' needs, which can better understand Chinese people and help them find what they want.
- HTC U11 is the first smartphone to be commercially released worldwide that is exclusively powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile Platform. So no matter what region of the world you live in, you get an octa-core processor with breakthrough speeds, jaw-dropping graphics, impressively smooth performance and outstanding battery life. Every HTC U11 also includes UFS 2.1 for an extremely fast processor paired with the fastest memory performance. Experience Gigabit Class LTE (up to 1Gbps) with the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which is designed to deliver fiber optic speeds on the go for lightning-fast music and video downloads and to get almost instant access to the web, social media sites or your content in the cloud. You get 25% faster graphics than the HTC 10, with 35% or 3 hours more video playback, 30% or 8 hours more music playback and 43% or 3.5 hours longer web browsing time via a LTE network6.
- A blazing fast processor with amazing camera and incredible HTC USonic sound means you'll want a lot of storage for apps, games, photos, music, and entertainment: HTC U11 offers 4GB RAM/64GB storage and 6GB RAM/128GB storage options, so fun on your phone is always available.
- HTC U11 also offers a fingerprint reader for enhanced privacy and security. Requiring just a few minutes to set up, the fingerprint reader will unlock your phone with the press of your finger – making it faster and easier to jot the note, capture the photo, or do anything you want with your phone on a moment's notice.
The HTC U11, available in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Solar Red, and will be available worldwide from May 2017 onward. Please see htc.com for detailed specifications and more information.
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