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Rudderless HTC is building a ‘Metaverse’ smartphone with NFT

HTC's metaverse phone.
Enlarge / HTC’s metaverse phone.

HTC

HTC still makes smartphones. The company’s latest is the HTC Desire 22 Pro, a £399 (~$486) mid-range that represents the company’s first smartphone of 2022.

HTC says this phone will somehow help you “enter the metaverse”, as a “phone to transport you into the future”. The metaverse is the latest tech buzzword that companies have been buzzing about. It’s roughly used to mean “related to virtual reality”. The phone itself doesn’t appear to have any actual VR features. HTC’s latest VR glasses, the Vive Flow, use an Android phone as a controller and can display the phone’s screen in the VR environment. This phone comes with this Vive Flow controller app, but you can install it on any android phone that supports miracast and get the same functionality.

Presumably, the hyped gadgets are meant to distract from the fact that the HTC Desire 22 Pro is a generic looking mid-range phone. It has a Snapdragon 695, 120Hz, 6.6-inch, 2412×1080 LCD screen, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4520mAh battery. It has Android 12, a fingerprint reader, wireless charging, a microSD slot, and an IP67 water resistance rating, which HTC only describes as “splash resistant. “. For cameras, you get a 65 MP main camera, a 13 MP ultra-wide depth sensor, a 5 MP depth sensor, and a 32 MP front camera. Curiously, HTC’s spec sheet also lists “Face ID” as a feature, which is a trademark of Apple. HTC probably stands for Generic Face Recognition.

At least HTC's promotional artwork is nice.
Enlarge / At least HTC’s promotional artwork is nice.

HTC

Product development focused on HTC’s buzzwords

HTC’s rather disjointed strategy is what I’ll call “fashionable product development.” The company clings to the latest tech buzzword and vaguely presents it as a feature that change everything, only to abandon the idea a year or two later. In 2014, the company’s newest venture was “the Internet of Things”, which it interpreted as a camera without a viewfinder and a fitness band that never launched. In 2015, a new obsession with virtual reality brought about HTC’s only successful new product line, the HTC Vive, though you could attribute most of that success to the involvement of PC gaming juggernaut Valve. (Valve ditched HTC for its second headset, and now HTC seems to have exited the PC-VR market.) Then the company was very excited about “5G,” so its next big thing was a 5G hotspot that cost $600. , thanks primarily for being a full-featured flagship Android device in the unpocketable form factor of a smart display.

Lately, what’s left of HTC’s smartphone division has brought this trendy rudderless product strategy to smartphones. In 2017, the company touted AI and machine learning as the future, promising that the HTC U Ultra would lead to a total “transformation” of the business. 2019 brought the HTC Exodus, a “Blockchain Phone” that could run a full Bitcoin node, a hugely inappropriate use case for a battery-powered, slow, and storage-limited mobile device. Now we have the Metaverse phone, and by the way, the company has already signaled that its next adventure will be with augmented reality.

We always ask the same questions of this smartphone-buzzword gimmick: how does it improve the phone? Why would anyone want that? Why is this a selling point compared to your competitors? HTC never has satisfactory answers. To the extent that these phones do When it comes to their marketing buzzwords, the integration is usually just included software – an app that you can just as easily install on a better phone from a reputable manufacturer. It’s the same story for this metaverse phone, which just comes preinstalled with the HTC Vive app available to everyone.

The
Enlarge / The “Vive Wallet” allows you to view all those NFT images that you will certainly not regret having purchased.

HTC

Oh, by the way, we have another buzzword for you: NFTs, which of course this phone also has. HTC actually launched the “Vive Arts NFT store” a few months ago, and that phone has an app for it called Vive Wallet. Most “NFT” invocations involve a pyramid scheme where people buy URLs of bad artwork for absurd amounts of money. HTC describes its NFT store as “designed for arts and culture”, and in this case it showed someone viewing a photo of a Mona Lisa cat from their smartphone.

So far, the only countries confirmed for availability appear to be the UK and Taiwan. In the UK, the HTC Desire 22 Pro is up for pre-order now and will ship on August 1.

#Rudderless #HTC #building #Metaverse #smartphone #NFT

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