HTC Unveils Two New Models – U Ultra and U Play – for Upcoming U Series of Smartphones

HTC has unveiled U Ultra and U Play—two new models for its upcoming U series smartphones. Both these smartphones will be equipped with Sense Companion, an AI-enabled voice assistant, which will offer help, contextual suggestions and recommendations to enhance user experience.

The 5.7-inch U Ultra will be launched in mid-February, while 5.2-inch U Play is expected to hit the markets in March this year.

HTC U Ultra, running on Android operating system with the HTC Sense user interface,  will feature a fully customizable second screen to the top right of the phone’s main display to display notifications and audio playlist info. The phone will be powered by a 2.1 GHz Snapdragon 821 processor, along with a 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage (expandable up to 2 TB with a microSD memory card). A premium “Sapphire Glass” 128 GB version of the HTC U Ultra will also be launched.  The U Ultra boasts a 12-megapixel UltraPixel rear camera, with phase detection autofocus accompanying the laser autofocus. The 16-MP front camera can take 4MP photos through its UltraPixel mode. The phone will come in four colors: Brilliant Black, Ice White, Cosmetic Pink, and Sapphire Blue.

HTC U Ultra will be equipped with Sense Companion, an AI-enabled voice assistant, which will offer suggestions such as charging a low battery before moving out for a meeting, suggesting earlier wake-up time on the day of a morning meeting, or recommending nearby restaurants and hotels. It can also detect user’s at all times, and allows for voice biometric authentication. The system will evolve over time and will come up with suggestions based on user habits. Sense Companion can be relatively comparable to Google Assistant. Just a few days ago, Huawei had also presented its Mate 9 smartphone running Amazon’s Alexa intelligent assistant.

HTC U Ultra sports only a 3,000 mAh battery, which some users might find disappointing, given the huge display size of the phone.

In the United States, HTC U Ultra is up for pre-order for US$749, with orders shipping in March.

HTC U Play will be without a second notifications screen, but will have 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It will be powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, and feature a 2,500 mAh battery. The phone will also be equipped with Sense Companion.

No pricing details have been given for the U Play at the moment.

Headquarters in New Taipei City, Taiwan, HTC was founded in 1997 as a laptop manufacturer company. Today, HTC is known as a consumer electronics company that makes smartphones based on Windows Mobile and Brew. The first commercial Android smartphone launched by HTC was HTC Dream that hit the markets in 2008. The phone was marketed by T-Mobile in many countries as the T-Mobile G1. Later, HTC started marketing its own devices, including the HTC One series. In 2011, Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report ranked HTC as the 98th top brand. According to a September 2013 media report, the share of HTC in the global smartphone market was less than 3 percent. This figure however increased to 7.2 percent in April 2015. In 2016, HTC released HTC Vive to expand into virtual reality hardware section. Today HTC is making both Android as well as Windows based smartphones.

HTC unveiled its Desire 10 Pro smartphone in September 2016. This dual SIM device features a 5.50-inch touchscreen display and a resolution of 1080 x 1920 at a PPI of 400 pixels per inch. The phone is powered by 1.8 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, a 20MP primary camera, and 13MP front camera for selfies, and 3000mAh non removable battery. The phone runs on Android 6.0 and weighs just 165 grams. Connectivity options include GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and 4G.