HTC Squeeze Live Blog (Starts 2am ET)by Ian Cutress on May 16, 2017 1:39 AM EST
01:41AM EDT - We're here in Taiwan for the launch of HTC's newest Flagship smartphone.
01:42AM EDT - Press are getting seated. HTC flew about 150 journalists for this event
01:44AM EDT - It's just Ian today, taking care of pictures and text
01:44AM EDT - I've been in Taiwan a couple of days already - yesterday HTC gave us a factory and labs tour
01:44AM EDT - I've done factory and lab tours before - either building the devices or compliance/consistency testing
01:45AM EDT - most companies have similar processes for both
01:45AM EDT - However if you're ever invited to a lab tour, I highly suggested trying to get some time in the anechoic chamber/room. Always fun when I go in one :)
01:46AM EDT - So for this event, HTC is launching their new flagship smartphone
01:46AM EDT - It feels somewhat of an odd time to launch one, well after MWC, basically on top of Google IO (but not in the US), and only a couple of weeks away from Computex
01:47AM EDT - (yes, that means I'm flying back home to the UK and then flying back to Taiwan for Computex)
01:47AM EDT - Nonetheless, as Aicha Evans of Intel always says: Time to Market matters
01:47AM EDT - and today this launch is the extension of the HTC U smartphone line
01:48AM EDT - earlier in the year, HTC launched the U Play and U Ultra
01:48AM EDT - This device should be big pluses on both
01:48AM EDT - A little insight into our world for readers:
01:49AM EDT - we typically get prebriefings for these events, and this is no exception, but we're not allowed to talk about the device until the NDA lifts
01:49AM EDT - sometimes the NDA lifts at the beginning of the press event, making most of the press event somewhat redundant (hey, just read our news post)
01:49AM EDT - Or the embargo lifts part of the way through
01:49AM EDT - Or the embargo lifts at the end of the event
01:50AM EDT - This is that last one: I know what's coming, but I can't tell you
01:50AM EDT - So we're going to have to wait as HTC announces the new device, and the features
01:50AM EDT - Welcome to the internet, I'll be your guide
01:50AM EDT - (If the WiFi works properly)
01:50AM EDT - We just got a 10 minute warning, with the name of the new device flashed on the screen: HTC U11
01:51AM EDT - The main thing for this device is the Squeeze
01:52AM EDT - more info to come, but the video consists of squeezing sponges, honey, oranges, avocados, play-doh
01:54AM EDT - Squeezy
01:56AM EDT - Apparently the event WiFi is down already
01:56AM EDT - I'm running off of a WiFi hotspot. Taiwan is crazy cheap for data for visitors
01:56AM EDT - $20 gets you a SIM card with unlimited 4G for 10 or 14 days
01:56AM EDT - and coverage is everywhere
01:57AM EDT - Compared to US carriers, I end up paying $20/GB or something crazy when I visit SF with a visitor SIM
01:58AM EDT - This squeeze video is on repeat. Every. 30. Seconds.
01:58AM EDT - Well on the name, HTC U11
01:59AM EDT - It's designed to be the successor from the M7, M8, M9 and HTC 10
01:59AM EDT - one minute warning
02:00AM EDT - Here we go
02:00AM EDT - MC on stage
02:01AM EDT - 'Where HTC is from, what inspires us, and what has happened over the last 20 years'
02:01AM EDT - Chialin Chuang to the stage, president of smartphone and connected devices
02:02AM EDT - 'HTC celebrated 20 anniversary yesterday'
02:02AM EDT - 'Today marks the start of the next 20 years'
02:02AM EDT - Going through some innovations: Boomsound, dual Ultrapixel
02:03AM EDT - 'These have all been widely copied'
02:03AM EDT - 'In 1997, we started working on personal mobility devices'
02:03AM EDT - '2007: first HTC Touch phone'
02:04AM EDT - '2017: we see 5G coming in 2/3 years'
02:04AM EDT - 'The next generation of smartphone must have:'
02:04AM EDT - 'New ways to interact'
02:05AM EDT - 'Voice and PLatform based on natural language across multiple platforms'
02:05AM EDT - 'Next gen multimedia'
02:05AM EDT - Introducing HTC U11
02:06AM EDT - Apparently the leaked video was an internal 2015 video
02:06AM EDT - 'Thinking about something as intuitive as squeeze'
02:07AM EDT - 'A new baby will reach out and squeeze the mother's finger'
02:07AM EDT - 'Squeeze shows your feelings'
02:08AM EDT - 'Each media will get a U11 to test'
02:08AM EDT - 'The first thing you do is grip the side'
02:08AM EDT - 'Now imagine applying a little squeeze - and all sorts of interesting things will come out'
02:08AM EDT - Film time - it's that 30 second squeeze film again
02:08AM EDT - No it's a different one
02:09AM EDT - Squeeze for photo, squeeze for Google
02:09AM EDT - 'With a little squeeze you can turn on all sorts of applications'
02:09AM EDT - 'Simple squeeze to open camera'
02:09AM EDT - Squeeze to selfie
02:10AM EDT - Long squeeze to change camera from front to back
02:10AM EDT - 'As simple as squeeze'
02:10AM EDT - Action Squeeze: while skateboarding, hold phone and squeeze to selfie mid-air
02:11AM EDT - 'Squeeze becomes the only way to capture the moment'
02:11AM EDT - 'How do we combine squeeze with the next generation trend'
02:11AM EDT - 'We see the voice commands'
02:11AM EDT - 'A little squeeze for OK Google Assistant'
02:12AM EDT - Squeeze to enable OK Google, then say 'OK Google' to activate
02:12AM EDT - Or use a different wake word
02:12AM EDT - 'Alexa'
02:13AM EDT - The wifi in the room is bad, having some issues with the demo... but it is just about working
02:13AM EDT - 'You can set up a short or long squeeze then followed by a voice command'
02:14AM EDT - 'In China HTC is working with Baidu to power the voice commands
02:14AM EDT - 'Becase we have 4 microphone arrays detecting voice at distance, we can hear the signal very well and filter out the noise'
02:15AM EDT - 'Because of this, we can enable a 3D recording with AdioZoom'
02:15AM EDT - When recording music on a video, the microphones will 'zoom' to give the music better SNR
02:15AM EDT - HTC Camera has been ranked with DXOMark 90
02:16AM EDT - Highest rank ever in DXOMark
02:16AM EDT - 'Next generation of HDR+ give us really good contrast'
02:16AM EDT - 'Super fast on photo and video'
02:17AM EDT - 'Lot of reduced noise in low light'
02:17AM EDT - Now audio
02:17AM EDT - HTC USonic
02:17AM EDT - 'Why did you take out the 3.5mm audio jack'
02:18AM EDT - 'USonic with Type-C combined with two microphone, detects the ear canal reflection to beef up the frequencies were needed'
02:19AM EDT - Because the microphone will detect the noise inside your ear, we can send the counter noise to provide Active Noise Cancellation
02:19AM EDT - Next gen HTC Boomsound
02:19AM EDT - One speaker uses the internal of the device as a resonance chamber
02:20AM EDT - Now industrial design
02:20AM EDT - VIdeo time
02:20AM EDT - 'Squeeze to show the best you'
02:20AM EDT - 'Music adapted to each user'
02:20AM EDT - 'Squeeze for the adventurous you' 'Squeeze for Selfies'
02:21AM EDT - Squeeze works with gloves btw
02:21AM EDT - We sort of understand how it works according to a vague explantion, but that's under embargo for a bit
02:22AM EDT - 'We pioneered the metal unibody design for a couple of years'
02:22AM EDT - 'So what's right for the next couple of years?'
02:22AM EDT - 'Ergonomics, aesthetics, color'
02:22AM EDT - 'This is all needed in a flagship'
02:23AM EDT - 'Between the user and the display is the cover glass'
02:23AM EDT - 'Need to fit inside your hand, so we started bending the glass from the front'
02:23AM EDT - 'Not just bent 2 ways, but 4-ways
02:24AM EDT - 'How do we make sure the color is right?'
02:24AM EDT - 'Glass has been used for hundreds of years, but how to make it stunning? We try to do things differently'
02:24AM EDT - 'We evaporate minerals onto the inside of the glass, along witha couple of other ingredients I can't say'
02:24AM EDT - I suspect binding agents
02:25AM EDT - first color: Amazing Silver
02:25AM EDT - It's silver with a blue ocean tint from different angles
02:25AM EDT - 5 different colors
02:25AM EDT - Sapphire blue, brilliant black, ice white, solar red
02:25AM EDT - 'Solar red is not just red - it's bronze too'
02:26AM EDT - Technically he said gold
02:26AM EDT - Film from the industrial design team now
02:27AM EDT - Liquid design
02:27AM EDT - Video made by group of 25-yr old employees. 'HTC is young'
02:28AM EDT - Nigel Newby-House, VP Product to the stage
02:28AM EDT - 'Liquid Surface is a new step in HTC's new aesthetic'
02:28AM EDT - 'Pushing the limits of aluminium and glass'
02:28AM EDT - 'Durability of Alu with the feel of glass'
02:29AM EDT - 5.5-inch, QHD
02:29AM EDT - 'Glass takes a lot of skill'
02:29AM EDT - 'We had to shift glass from ART to science'
02:30AM EDT - 500C+ temps
02:30AM EDT - 'Had to fine tune the tolerances'
02:31AM EDT - 'By applying the color to the back, it floods the back of the glass to have a durable effect in a vibrant color'
02:31AM EDT - 'You've never seen black like it... with hues of green'
02:31AM EDT - IP67 rated
02:31AM EDT - Squeeze is called Edge Sense
02:32AM EDT - Uses eight strain gauges
02:32AM EDT - tune sensitivity
02:33AM EDT - Users can customize
02:33AM EDT - 'You can choose any app to the two base functions from the lock screen'
02:33AM EDT - 'The force you apply can be personal to the user'
02:33AM EDT - 'Pocket Mode with a proximity sensor, so you don't get false presses'
02:34AM EDT - Works in the rain and with gloves on
02:34AM EDT - Voice control
02:34AM EDT - One always on low power mic
02:34AM EDT - Wake words
02:35AM EDT - Snapdragon 835 supports dual wake words
02:35AM EDT - So HTC U11 supports two wake words
02:35AM EDT - Google Assistant is one, Alexa is the second
02:35AM EDT - 'Helps Amazon expand the ecosystem of Alexa devices'
02:35AM EDT - (I'm not a fan of Alexa, see my twitter feed)
02:36AM EDT - (I'm not a fan of Alexa, see my twitter feed)
02:36AM EDT - Alexa will be supported in US, UK and Germany in the next 30 days
02:36AM EDT - HTC Sense Companion
02:37AM EDT - Look at the user behaviour, tailors alerts to how you work
02:37AM EDT - 'Most comprehensive suite of personal assistants'
02:38AM EDT - Now imaging and video
02:38AM EDT - Again, DXOMark of 90
02:38AM EDT - For both video and images
02:38AM EDT - 12MP Ultrapixel 3, OIS, EIS, f/1.7
02:38AM EDT - 'Ultraspeed Auto Fous'
02:38AM EDT - *focus
02:39AM EDT - 'Fastest HDR Ever'
02:39AM EDT - 5-axis OIS+EIS for video
02:39AM EDT - 'most stable smartphone for video ever'
02:39AM EDT - 'all the high end basics for audio'
02:39AM EDT - 4 mics for multi-directional sound
02:40AM EDT - 'Acoustic Focus: audio responds with image zoom feels like you're there'
02:40AM EDT - demo video of a violinist getting clearer as you zoom in (wind gets louder too)
02:41AM EDT - Front camera: f/2.0, 16MP, 'Ultrapixel type experience', 150 wide angle lends
02:41AM EDT - *lens
02:41AM EDT - USonic takes 2-3 seconds to set up
02:42AM EDT - 'Expect to see more innovations with Audio via USB-C'
02:42AM EDT - Note, Audio over USB-C is meant to now have more features as people develop them. Good to see HTC moving forward withit
02:43AM EDT - USonic headphones come in the box, as well as a C-to-3.5mm headset and a clear case
02:43AM EDT - More BoomSound
02:43AM EDT - 'In order to drive volume, you need bigger audio, but smartphones always want to be small'
02:44AM EDT - 'So one speaker gets to use most of the internal space as a resonance chamber'
02:44AM EDT - Sound rooms for demos later
02:44AM EDT - Now performance
02:44AM EDT - 'Spend weeks to tune performance'
02:45AM EDT - UFS 2.1 memory confirmed
02:45AM EDT - He just said it as 8-core
02:45AM EDT - 'Region Specific availability next week, full distribution early June'
02:47AM EDT - Looks like that's a wrap. News embargo is still in place for 10 minutes or so. Time to pick up a sample :)