Earlier this week, HTC officially took the wraps off their 2016 flagship device, the HTC 10. The HTC 10 had been widely leaked for some weeks now with specifications, design, features and even a promotional video being seen around the world before Tuesday’s announcement. As such, we were not surprised to learn that the device has a 5.2-inch, Super LCD 5 display panel with a Quad HD resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 System-on-Chip backed up by 4 GB of RAM, a choice of either 32 GB or 64 GB of local storage plus a MicroSD card, and a 12MP UltraPixel branded rear camera (the same sensor as the Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P handsets). The HTC 10 also comes with a 3,000 mAh battery, USB-C port, optically stabilised cameras front and rear, with the main camera gaining a laser-fired autofocus system, and 24-bit high resolution audio.
Some of the HTC 10’s more interesting features are in the software, where for 2016 HTC are offering the device running Android 6.0 Marshmallow under the HTC Sense skin. HTC Sense has been changed for 2016, taking clues from the HTC One A9; many of the surplus applications that were included in older versions of Sense such as HTC Mail have been removed in favour of stock Google applications (in this case, Gmail). Sense has become streamlined and lightweight, but includes some controversial device optimisation technologies that sound like old fashioned task cleaner applications, but can also scale down applications’ screen resolutions from 1440p to 1080p in order to keep performance up and battery use down. It remains to be seen how well these optimisation technologies work and this will take a few weeks of the devices being in the hands of customers and hardware reviewers. Modern versions of Android are very good at managing multitasking power consumption providing applications are compliant and for most users, most of the time there is no point in stopping background applications.
Today’s story, however, concerns the availability of the 64 GB model, where HTC’s Senior Global Online Communications Manager, Jeff Gordon, has effectively said on Twitter that for the North American market, it will only be available as a 32 GB model in either “Carbon Gray” or “Glacier Silver” colours. Unlike the other two big name 2016 flagship devices – the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 family – the HTC 10 includes adoptive storage, which means that the MicroSD card slot can be used to boost the effective internal capacity from 23 GB (the standard space available from the 32 GB variant) by using an attached MicroSD card. This could be a reasonable compromise providing the customer installs a high performance MicroSD card, but if the 64 GB variant is not to be made available in the US this is sure to upset some customers. HTC must be betting that this will not be a dealbreaker.