HTC Unveils Media, Music-Focused Smart Phone

HTC Corp. on Tuesday unveiled its latest smart phone, the HTC One, an Android device that takes a different approach to helping users navigate the torrent of media that’s available on today’s connected mobile devices.

Through a feature that HTC calls BlinkFeed, the phone’s home screen presents a livestream of photos, news, music and videos from about 1,400 content partners, including MTV, AOL Music, Associated Press, ESPN and Deezer (in some markets).

HTC, which unveiled the device in New York, said BlinkFeed will personalize individual feeds to match each user. Alternatively, people can select their own feed sources, or none at all.

Audio content gets a little extra love on the HTC One, which will be available starting March. In addition to HTC’s usual integration of Beats Electronics audio specifications, the new phone also will have BoomSound -– two front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier. The 15-year-old Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, which paid $300 million for a 50% share in Beats, ran into financial difficulty last year and was forced to pare back its investment in Beats to 25%.

As mobile phones turn into powerful computers that are always connected, they are increasingly becoming gateways for a plethora media and entertainment. While that presents an opportunity for content companies to reach audiences in new settings, it also comes with challenges. Specifically: how can people navigate all that content to find what they want and, on the flip side, how can media companies find their audiences on a device with much smaller screen real estate than a TV or computer?

BlinkFeed is one approach to matching audiences with content in a way that doesn’t require much work for the consumer, but there likely will be many others as more content owners clamor to get noticed on a ubiquitous but tiny screen that also happens to make phone calls.

For those who want to know the differences between the HTC One and its similarly named predecessors, Engadget has published a helpful comparison chart.