Path of the One: the headline hits and flagship flops from HTC

From no headphone jack to an all-metal jacket


We've got our first look at the next-generation HTC One (M8), and run it through our rigorous testing process. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this launch for HTC, as it looks to battle back in a market dominated by Apple and Samsung.

This is the eighth flagship Android handset in HTC's history, a series that goes all the way back to 2008 and the first phone to feature Android to go on sale in the UK.

From the runaway hits of the Desire and Desire HD to the classy but niche HTC One, it's been a tumultuous ride for the manufacturer. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we remember how HTC got to where it is today. There's no mention of Robert Downey Jr., we promise.

T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream

HTC T Mobile G1

Name: T Mobile G1
Date of launch: October 2008
Dimensions: 117mm x 55.7mm x 17.1mm
Weight: 158g
Screen size: 3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels
Launch version of Android: Android 1.0
CPU and RAM: single core 528MHz processor, 192MB RAM
Camera: 3.15 megapixels

HTC's earliest flagship phone was one of the first Android handsets to go on sale — remember that Google's operating system started a long way behind iOS, BlackBerry and even Windows Mbbile. The general consensus was that this was a very good phone indeed, second only to the iPhone 3G in 2008.

Our review listed "an awful lot of reasons to get excited" about it — integrated GPS, the Google-powered mapping capabilities, the open Android Market and *ahem* its slide-out keyboard. Google's Android was off to a flyer, and as TechRadar put it: "The G1 is a stellar phone and points to a future when a phone is as flexible and useful as the PC on your desk."

HTC Magic

HTC Magic

Name: HTC Magic
Date of launch: May 2009
Dimensions: 113mm x 55mm x 13.7mm
Weight: 118.5g
Screen size: 3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels
Launch version of Android: Android 1.5 Cupcake
CPU and RAM: single-core 528MHz, 288MB RAM
Camera: 3.15 megapixel

Half a year after the T-Mobile G1 arrived, HTC was back with another effort. Sporting very similar specs to its predecessor (though with a whopping 96MB of additional RAM), the Magic was a slimmer and lighter animal. Its main purpose in existing seemed to be to ditch the slide-out keypad that the G1 had offered: Android was updated very frequently in the early days, and the freshly baked 1.5 Cupcake had an on-screen keyboard.

Our take on the handset mentioned the improved touchscreen, the increased quality of Google's own apps and the sleekness of the design. The iPhone 3GS appeared a month later, selling 1m units in three days. The HTC Magic took three months to reach the same number, but Android was on the march.

HTC Hero

HTC Hero

Name: HTC Hero
Date of launch: July 2009
Dimensions: 112m x 56.2mm x 14.4mm
Weight: 135g Screen size: 3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels
Launch version of Android: Android 1.5 Cupcake
CPU and RAM: single-core 528MHz processor, 288MB RAM
Camera: 5 megapixel

The HTC Hero was the first flagship device from the Taiwanese manufacturer to look something like the modern handsets we see today. That may be partly because it was the first phone to sport HTC's own Sense UI skin on top of Android. Aside from the camera upgrade, the specs were again very similar to the company's earlier efforts, but with multi-touch enabled pinching and zooming, and a standard 3.5mm audio jack finally in place.

We concluded our 2009 review with the assessment that this was the best Android phone to hit the market yet. Even with the iPhone 3GS selling well, HTC's profits and market share rose significantly as the year drew to a close.

HTC Desire

HTC Desire

Name: HTC Desire
Date of launch: March 2010
Dimensions: 119mm x 60mm x 11.9mm
Weight: 135g
Screen size: 3.7 inches, 480 x 800 pixels
Launch version of Android: Android 2.1 Eclair
CPU and RAM: single-core 1GHz processor, 588MB RAM
Camera: 5 megapixel

HTC's first flagship phone for 2010 was the HTC Desire, and it was responsible for tempting tech-savvy users away from Apple in significant numbers. In the reader survey that we ran on TechRadar at the time, 47 percent of iPhone owners said they were planning to switch to the Desire.

Its appeal was largely down to its powerful specs list, with the 1GHz CPU and 3.7-inch 480 x 800 pixel screen putting it right at the cutting edge for spring 2010. Videos and photos now looked half-decent on a mobile, while it was the first of HTC's phones to launch on a number of networks simultaneously — something that may have given it an edge over the Nexus One, which HTC was also manufacturing.