This week, one was our magic number - because that's the name HTC has given to its latest, greatest Android smartphones, the HTC One X and the HTC One S. The One X is the flagship, and it's designed for that small but lucrative niche of people with absolutely enormous hands who need quad-core power to make phone calls.
We kid, but only a little bit: the One X really is enormous, and as Gareth Beavis reports it's perfect in almost every way - apart from the battery. Big screens and quad-core processors eat power, and our review unit wanted lots of it. Nevertheless, "beyond that the HTC One X is a beautiful piece of kit. It's stylishly designed, light, has a cracking screen and comes with enough future-proofing to make us believe our grandchildren may still have one."
HTC also has the One S, which is more of an HTC Sensation replacement: the emphasis is on taking pictures and playing music. Phil Lavelle liked it a lot: "if you're not bothered about a massive memory, you probably can't do much better now. The HTC One S is a beautiful handset blessed with beautiful capabilities and is already available at very palatable price points."
HTC design worries?
But wait! There's a cloud on the HTC horizon! The iPhone had antennagate, and it seems that the latest HTCs may have bendyscreengate, and possibly chippypaintgate too. As Chris Smith reports, "HTC has been rocked by a pair of reports alleging major design flaws with the new flagship HTC One X and One S Android handsets."
And we don't mean rocked in a good way, either. It seems that the HTC One X screen can be overly bendy, while some One S handsets have suffered from flaking paint, so naturally we asked HTC what was going on. "HTC takes quality very seriously and are providing all customers with an immediate fix and we are implementing some small changes to ensure customers do not experience this issue in the future", they told us.
Reviewing good hardware can be a pain, because it's hard to say nice things. Thank the heavens, then, for phones such as the Motorola MOTOLUXE. Unnecessary capitalisation isn't the worst of it, Laura Tosney reports: It has a "poor camera", "boring design" and is "resolutely mid-range and middling... despite the attempt to pass it off as a somewhat luxury item". It's not quite as useless as a cardboard box with a mobile phone drawn on it, but it "is only just functional enough".
Motorola isn't the only phone firm having trouble this week: Nokia's just unveiled rather disappointing financial results that suggest its Lumias aren't doing the business Nokia would like. Perhaps the Lumia 610 NFC, which uses Near Field Communications technology and which will come to Orange in July, will help. Or maybe the arrival of Microsoft Office apps on the fading Symbian platform will do the trick.
Facebook buys Instagram
If there's one thing smartphone users like it's photography, and that's helped the Instagram photo sharing app become an enormous hit - such a hit, in fact, that Facebook's ponied up a billion dollars for it. The privacy-loving corporation's acquisition hasn't delighted everyone, however, and it seems that many users are jumping ship. "You know what Instagram was missing?" one user posted. "Ads and privacy invasions."
Gary Marshall isn't particularly optimistic about Instagram's future. "Once upon a time, there was a really, really popular photo sharing service," he says. "Its popularity didn't go unnoticed, and one day a giant internet firm with an inferior photo system came along and gobbled it up... no, not Facebook buying Instagram, although the wording and the promises were spookily similar. I'm talking about Yahoo!'s acquisition of Flickr."
These days, Marshall says, Flickr is a shadow of its former self, starved of investment and forced to "beg for loose change to keep the central heating on". Could history repeat? "I can't help thinking that when you look at Flickr today, you're seeing Instagram's best possible future."
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