01:41AM EDT - We're here in Taiwan for the launch of HTC's newest Flagship smartphone.

01:42AM EDT - Press are getting seated. HTC flew about 150 journalists for this event

01:44AM EDT - It's just Ian today, taking care of pictures and text

01:44AM EDT - I've been in Taiwan a couple of days already - yesterday HTC gave us a factory and labs tour

01:44AM EDT - I've done factory and lab tours before - either building the devices or compliance/consistency testing

01:45AM EDT - most companies have similar processes for both

01:45AM EDT - However if you're ever invited to a lab tour, I highly suggested trying to get some time in the anechoic chamber/room. Always fun when I go in one :)

01:46AM EDT - So for this event, HTC is launching their new flagship smartphone

01:46AM EDT - It feels somewhat of an odd time to launch one, well after MWC, basically on top of Google IO (but not in the US), and only a couple of weeks away from Computex

01:47AM EDT - (yes, that means I'm flying back home to the UK and then flying back to Taiwan for Computex)

01:47AM EDT - Nonetheless, as Aicha Evans of Intel always says: Time to Market matters

01:47AM EDT - and today this launch is the extension of the HTC U smartphone line

01:48AM EDT - earlier in the year, HTC launched the U Play and U Ultra

01:48AM EDT - This device should be big pluses on both

01:48AM EDT - A little insight into our world for readers:

01:49AM EDT - we typically get prebriefings for these events, and this is no exception, but we're not allowed to talk about the device until the NDA lifts

01:49AM EDT - sometimes the NDA lifts at the beginning of the press event, making most of the press event somewhat redundant (hey, just read our news post)

01:49AM EDT - Or the embargo lifts part of the way through

01:49AM EDT - Or the embargo lifts at the end of the event

01:50AM EDT - This is that last one: I know what's coming, but I can't tell you

01:50AM EDT - So we're going to have to wait as HTC announces the new device, and the features

01:50AM EDT - Welcome to the internet, I'll be your guide

01:50AM EDT - (If the WiFi works properly)

01:50AM EDT - We just got a 10 minute warning, with the name of the new device flashed on the screen: HTC U11

01:51AM EDT - The main thing for this device is the Squeeze

01:52AM EDT - more info to come, but the video consists of squeezing sponges, honey, oranges, avocados, play-doh

01:54AM EDT - Squeezy

01:56AM EDT - Apparently the event WiFi is down already

01:56AM EDT - I'm running off of a WiFi hotspot. Taiwan is crazy cheap for data for visitors

01:56AM EDT - $20 gets you a SIM card with unlimited 4G for 10 or 14 days

01:56AM EDT - and coverage is everywhere

01:57AM EDT - Compared to US carriers, I end up paying $20/GB or something crazy when I visit SF with a visitor SIM

01:58AM EDT - This squeeze video is on repeat. Every. 30. Seconds.

01:58AM EDT - Well on the name, HTC U11

01:59AM EDT - It's designed to be the successor from the M7, M8, M9 and HTC 10

01:59AM EDT - one minute warning

02:00AM EDT - Here we go

02:00AM EDT - MC on stage

02:01AM EDT - 'Where HTC is from, what inspires us, and what has happened over the last 20 years'

02:01AM EDT - Chialin Chuang to the stage, president of smartphone and connected devices

02:02AM EDT - 'HTC celebrated 20 anniversary yesterday'

02:02AM EDT - 'Today marks the start of the next 20 years'

02:02AM EDT - Going through some innovations: Boomsound, dual Ultrapixel

02:03AM EDT - 'These have all been widely copied'

02:03AM EDT - 'In 1997, we started working on personal mobility devices'

02:03AM EDT - '2007: first HTC Touch phone'

02:04AM EDT - '2017: we see 5G coming in 2/3 years'

02:04AM EDT - 'The next generation of smartphone must have:'

02:04AM EDT - 'New ways to interact'

02:05AM EDT - 'Voice and PLatform based on natural language across multiple platforms'

02:05AM EDT - 'Next gen multimedia'

02:05AM EDT - Introducing HTC U11

02:06AM EDT - Apparently the leaked video was an internal 2015 video

02:06AM EDT - 'Thinking about something as intuitive as squeeze'

02:07AM EDT - 'A new baby will reach out and squeeze the mother's finger'

02:07AM EDT - 'Squeeze shows your feelings'

02:08AM EDT - 'Each media will get a U11 to test'

02:08AM EDT - 'The first thing you do is grip the side'

02:08AM EDT - 'Now imagine applying a little squeeze - and all sorts of interesting things will come out'

02:08AM EDT - Film time - it's that 30 second squeeze film again

02:08AM EDT - No it's a different one

02:09AM EDT - Squeeze for photo, squeeze for Google

02:09AM EDT - 'With a little squeeze you can turn on all sorts of applications'

02:09AM EDT - 'Simple squeeze to open camera'

02:09AM EDT - Squeeze to selfie

02:10AM EDT - Long squeeze to change camera from front to back

02:10AM EDT - 'As simple as squeeze'

02:10AM EDT - Action Squeeze: while skateboarding, hold phone and squeeze to selfie mid-air

02:11AM EDT - 'Squeeze becomes the only way to capture the moment'

02:11AM EDT - 'How do we combine squeeze with the next generation trend'

02:11AM EDT - 'We see the voice commands'

02:11AM EDT - 'A little squeeze for OK Google Assistant'

02:12AM EDT - Squeeze to enable OK Google, then say 'OK Google' to activate

02:12AM EDT - Or use a different wake word

02:12AM EDT - 'Alexa'

02:13AM EDT - The wifi in the room is bad, having some issues with the demo... but it is just about working

02:13AM EDT - 'You can set up a short or long squeeze then followed by a voice command'

02:14AM EDT - 'In China HTC is working with Baidu to power the voice commands

02:14AM EDT - 'Becase we have 4 microphone arrays detecting voice at distance, we can hear the signal very well and filter out the noise'

02:15AM EDT - 'Because of this, we can enable a 3D recording with AdioZoom'

02:15AM EDT - When recording music on a video, the microphones will 'zoom' to give the music better SNR

02:15AM EDT - HTC Camera has been ranked with DXOMark 90

02:16AM EDT - Highest rank ever in DXOMark

02:16AM EDT - 'Next generation of HDR+ give us really good contrast'

02:16AM EDT - 'Super fast on photo and video'

02:17AM EDT - 'Lot of reduced noise in low light'

02:17AM EDT - Now audio

02:17AM EDT - HTC USonic

02:17AM EDT - 'Why did you take out the 3.5mm audio jack'

02:18AM EDT - 'USonic with Type-C combined with two microphone, detects the ear canal reflection to beef up the frequencies were needed'

02:19AM EDT - Because the microphone will detect the noise inside your ear, we can send the counter noise to provide Active Noise Cancellation

02:19AM EDT - Next gen HTC Boomsound

02:19AM EDT - One speaker uses the internal of the device as a resonance chamber

02:20AM EDT - Now industrial design

02:20AM EDT - VIdeo time

02:20AM EDT - 'Squeeze to show the best you'

02:20AM EDT - 'Music adapted to each user'

02:20AM EDT - 'Squeeze for the adventurous you' 'Squeeze for Selfies'

02:21AM EDT - Squeeze works with gloves btw

02:21AM EDT - We sort of understand how it works according to a vague explantion, but that's under embargo for a bit

02:22AM EDT - 'We pioneered the metal unibody design for a couple of years'

02:22AM EDT - 'So what's right for the next couple of years?'

02:22AM EDT - 'Ergonomics, aesthetics, color'

02:22AM EDT - 'This is all needed in a flagship'

02:23AM EDT - 'Between the user and the display is the cover glass'

02:23AM EDT - 'Need to fit inside your hand, so we started bending the glass from the front'

02:23AM EDT - 'Not just bent 2 ways, but 4-ways

02:24AM EDT - 'How do we make sure the color is right?'

02:24AM EDT - 'Glass has been used for hundreds of years, but how to make it stunning? We try to do things differently'

02:24AM EDT - 'We evaporate minerals onto the inside of the glass, along witha couple of other ingredients I can't say'

02:24AM EDT - I suspect binding agents

02:25AM EDT - first color: Amazing Silver

02:25AM EDT - It's silver with a blue ocean tint from different angles

02:25AM EDT - 5 different colors

02:25AM EDT - Sapphire blue, brilliant black, ice white, solar red

02:25AM EDT - 'Solar red is not just red - it's bronze too'

02:26AM EDT - Technically he said gold

02:26AM EDT - Film from the industrial design team now

02:27AM EDT - Liquid design

02:27AM EDT - Video made by group of 25-yr old employees. 'HTC is young'

02:28AM EDT - Nigel Newby-House, VP Product to the stage

02:28AM EDT - 'Liquid Surface is a new step in HTC's new aesthetic'

02:28AM EDT - 'Pushing the limits of aluminium and glass'

02:28AM EDT - 'Durability of Alu with the feel of glass'

02:29AM EDT - 5.5-inch, QHD

02:29AM EDT - 'Glass takes a lot of skill'

02:29AM EDT - 'We had to shift glass from ART to science'

02:30AM EDT - 500C+ temps

02:30AM EDT - 'Had to fine tune the tolerances'

02:31AM EDT - 'By applying the color to the back, it floods the back of the glass to have a durable effect in a vibrant color'

02:31AM EDT - 'You've never seen black like it... with hues of green'

02:31AM EDT - IP67 rated

02:31AM EDT - Squeeze is called Edge Sense

02:32AM EDT - Uses eight strain gauges

02:32AM EDT - tune sensitivity

02:33AM EDT - Users can customize

02:33AM EDT - 'You can choose any app to the two base functions from the lock screen'

02:33AM EDT - 'The force you apply can be personal to the user'

02:33AM EDT - 'Pocket Mode with a proximity sensor, so you don't get false presses'

02:34AM EDT - Works in the rain and with gloves on

02:34AM EDT - Voice control

02:34AM EDT - One always on low power mic

02:34AM EDT - Wake words

02:35AM EDT - Snapdragon 835 supports dual wake words

02:35AM EDT - So HTC U11 supports two wake words

02:35AM EDT - Google Assistant is one, Alexa is the second

02:35AM EDT - 'Helps Amazon expand the ecosystem of Alexa devices'

02:35AM EDT - (I'm not a fan of Alexa, see my twitter feed)

02:36AM EDT - (I'm not a fan of Alexa, see my twitter feed)

02:36AM EDT - Alexa will be supported in US, UK and Germany in the next 30 days

02:36AM EDT - HTC Sense Companion

02:37AM EDT - Look at the user behaviour, tailors alerts to how you work

02:37AM EDT - 'Most comprehensive suite of personal assistants'

02:38AM EDT - Now imaging and video

02:38AM EDT - Again, DXOMark of 90

02:38AM EDT - For both video and images

02:38AM EDT - 12MP Ultrapixel 3, OIS, EIS, f/1.7

02:38AM EDT - 'Ultraspeed Auto Fous'

02:38AM EDT - *focus

02:39AM EDT - 'Fastest HDR Ever'

02:39AM EDT - 5-axis OIS+EIS for video

02:39AM EDT - 'most stable smartphone for video ever'

02:39AM EDT - 'all the high end basics for audio'

02:39AM EDT - 4 mics for multi-directional sound

02:40AM EDT - 'Acoustic Focus: audio responds with image zoom feels like you're there'

02:40AM EDT - demo video of a violinist getting clearer as you zoom in (wind gets louder too)

02:41AM EDT - Front camera: f/2.0, 16MP, 'Ultrapixel type experience', 150 wide angle lends

02:41AM EDT - *lens

02:41AM EDT - USonic takes 2-3 seconds to set up

02:42AM EDT - 'Expect to see more innovations with Audio via USB-C'

02:42AM EDT - Note, Audio over USB-C is meant to now have more features as people develop them. Good to see HTC moving forward withit

02:43AM EDT - USonic headphones come in the box, as well as a C-to-3.5mm headset and a clear case

02:43AM EDT - More BoomSound

02:43AM EDT - 'In order to drive volume, you need bigger audio, but smartphones always want to be small'

02:44AM EDT - 'So one speaker gets to use most of the internal space as a resonance chamber'

02:44AM EDT - Sound rooms for demos later

02:44AM EDT - Now performance

02:44AM EDT - 'Spend weeks to tune performance'

02:45AM EDT - UFS 2.1 memory confirmed

02:45AM EDT - He just said it as 8-core

02:45AM EDT - 'Region Specific availability next week, full distribution early June'

02:47AM EDT - Looks like that's a wrap. News embargo is still in place for 10 minutes or so. Time to pick up a sample :)

POST A COMMENT

15 Comments

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  • supraman21 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    What a joke this company turned into. They had so many chances yet they keep making the same mistakes. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    Eh? I hate comments like this. Spell out what you think they've done wrong; we can't read your mind! Reply
  • bubblyboo - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    Everything Reply
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    The removal of front firing stereo speakers and the fact that it is still gone and now we have one speaker "resonance chamber" marketing gimmicky bullshit. Using the same 12MP 1.4um pixel sized camera with OIS that was on the HTC 10 last year. Going with SHIT glass on the back despite having a great metal design for no reason (there is no wireless charging on this thing at least they did not mention it). Reply
  • mxnerd - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    It's got DxOMark score of 90. It's boomsound is a lot louder than HTC 10 and is amazing.

    https://youtu.be/O3NLfpJn0cM
    Reply
  • mxnerd - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    https://youtu.be/O3NLfpJn0cM?t=413 Reply
  • shinjitsu - Thursday, May 18, 2017 - link

    Not the same 12MP 1.4um pixel size. Last year was larger, higher f/1.8 aperture.

    HTC U11: 12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm, OIS; 16MP front camera, f/2.0
    HTC 10: 12MP, f/1.8, 1.55µm, OIS; 5MP front camera, f/1.8, 1.34µm

    Camera is now using a dual-pixel technology, same as Samsung last year. But scores higher on DxOMark (if you can trust it) and as mentioned, louder Boomsound.
    Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    "However if you're ever invited to a lab tour, I highly suggested trying to get some time in the anechoic chamber/room. Always fun when I go in one :)"

    Dare I ask what you do in one?!
    Reply
  • CleverBullet - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    Anything that needs testing with a lack of echos. Specifically audio or rf device characterization - microphones, speakers(?), antennas, etc. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - link

    Sleep somewhere quiet for a change Reply

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