Earlier today, HTC finally took wraps off of the HTC 10, the latest smartphone in a long, long list of flagship devices. HTC has been here since the very beginning of Android, and was responsible for the original T-Mobile G1, and if we look at how that connected to headphones – via a funky adapter, thanks to the lack of a 3.5mm headphone out – HTC have come a long, long way. As well as focusing on their camera experiences, HTC has been passionate about offering their customers some of the best audio experiences. They were first to the market with front-facing stereo speakers with their BoomSound speakers in the original HTC One, and they’ve taken things to a whole new level with the HTC 10, even supporting Apple’s AirPlay standard.
While Google and the Android world has moved on and forged the Google Cast standard for streaming audio to speakers and TV sets, most high-end speaker systems and TV sets support Apple’s AirPlay streaming standard before they support anything else. This is of course a shame for us Android users, but for manufacturers it makes sense to support a well-established standard and one that has a guaranteed audience out there. The HTC 10 will connect to AirPlay devices natively – with no modifications necessary – using the HTC Connect feature. With just a three-finger swipe, users can beam whatever it is they’re listening or watching to an AirPlay-compatible device, be that a speaker set, an Apple TV box or even a Mac OS X computer.
It’s pretty obvious that anyone moving from an Android device probably won’t be interested in this feature, but those switching away from an HTC device will no doubt be happy to see that they can bring one of their most-loved features along with them. Whether or not this is the result of a long-standing patent agreement between HTC and Apple or just some clever engineering on the Taiwanese firm’s part is unclear, but the important thing is that HTC will offer HTC 10 users one more choice to connect to other devices and enjoy their content the way they want to, and choice is an important feature to offer users.