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On a stage in New York City Tuesday morning, HTC officially introduced the next version of its flagship Android(s GOOG) smartphone, which it called the HTC One. But if you were paying attention to early rumors, the device the company unveiled was the same one leaked just last week.
As expected, the new One has a large 4.7-inch 1080p display with 468 ppi resolution. It’s LTE-capable and runs Android Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s operating system. The One also has an aluminum body, dual front-facing stereo speakers — which are part of a system its calling BoomSound — two microphones for recording, two touch-sensitive buttons, and in an attempt to stand out from the Android crowd, a new custom HTC home screen. There’s also a cloud-based music player on board that can show song information and lyrics.
HTC spent time highlighting the new “Ultrapixel” camera: it has an f/2.0 aperture lens and a sensor that it says gather “300 percent more light” than other smartphone cameras. The camera can produce what it’s calling Zoes, which are still images strung together to make short, three-second animated clips — basically HTC’s version of Vine. The camera also supports 1080p video.
In another attempt to stand out, HTC went even bigger, introducing a new HTC-only feature called BlinkFeed, a stream of social updates, news and information. Stylistically it looks a lot like Flipboard; HTC says it has 1,400 content partners signed up. ESPN was one of the big ones to get name-checked, and a company executive was given a speaking slot to talk about the partnership. Others are AOL(s AOL), MTV, Vice Media, Cool Hunting and Reuters.
Not only is it a smartphone, but HTC has added its own software to make it a TV remote. Sense TV will turn the One into a program guide and remote control for “most TVs, set-top boxes and receivers.” The company did not name specific devices it would work with.
The new One comes in silver or black and in 32GB or 64 GB capacities. There’s no price yet, but the device is set to arrive in late March, though the company did not get more specific than that. HTC also did not announce when preorders will begin, but it is instituting a new offer: if you pre-order the new device and give HTC your old phone, you’ll get a $100 discount on the One.
Launch partners will include AT&T,(s T) Sprint,(s S) T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell and Best Buy(s BBY) here in the U.S., along with 180 other operators worldwide.