What makes the HTC One A9 so special? We've been speaking to HTC to find out just that, and why it might be the phone for you...
Update: You can now get the Deep Garnet HTC One A9 exclusively from Vodafone UK!
We’ve waxed lyrical about the excellent HTC One M9 many a time over the last year. Booming BoomSound, a beautiful display and feature-laden interface made HTC’s latest flagship a huge hit in our book, but HTC isn’t a company to sit on its laurels. The HTC One A9 is a new premium smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer, and you can order it from us now.
So what’s the big idea behind this new addition to the HTC One family? We’ve been speaking to Giuliano Ghidini – HTC’s Director of Product Marketing – to find out why the A9 might just be the phone for you.
Make this A9 to remember
The first thing to get straight is simple: where exactly does the A9 fit in the market? Giuliano insists that this is no mid-range smartphone. It’s another premium device, only with a slightly different target audience.
“You’ll see as soon as you pick it up that it’s a very premium device,” says Giuliano, “with lots of features aimed at enhancing your mobile life.”
That’s clear from the moment you look at the design. HTC is as close as any company to perfecting the art of crafting all-metal smartphones, and the One A9 is a beautiful example of that. “The design is definitely influenced by the history of the HTC One family,” says Giuliano. “We’ve focused on the symmetry of the phone and the quality of materials used, so it looks even cleaner than other HTC devices. It’s really beautiful.”
And that message of build quality and utility is matched by the type of components that HTC has stuffed inside the A9. This phone is less about the raw numbers under the bonnet – as Giuliano puts it, the A9 is “not concerned with specifications for their own sake” – but more about the quality of each item on the spec sheet. For example, there’s an excellent 13-Megapixel camera on the rear, and the same 4-Ultrapixel selfie snapper as the HTC One M9 on the front. HTC has simplified the camera layout too, as well as adding optical image stabilisation to correct for your shaky hands and get great pictures also in low light conditions.
The screen is equally good – a gorgeous 5-inch bright, high def display that provides incredible contrast and clarity, and you can still see the screen even in really bright sunlight.
“Phones are everyone’s main camera, so you’d expect flawless execution in that department.”
“I think that cameras and displays are as important in a smartphone as design and build quality or layout now,” explains Giuliano. “Phones are everyone’s main camera, so you’d expect flawless execution in that department. And because the phone itself is the first place you want to see everything you create, of course the display has to be of the highest quality too.”
Android 6.0 and HTC Sense: “A real pleasure to use…”
“We start from understanding how you’ll be using our phones,” says Giuliano, “and what you really want, and then we make sure they get all of that and more.”
Chief on lots of earlier adopters’ wish lists at the moment is Android 6.0 Marshmallow – the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the HTC One A9 is that it’ll be launching with Android 6.0 as standard. That’s no mean feat, considering that the only other phones running the latest Google operating system at the same time will be Google’s own Nexus devices.
“It’s a great for us to be able to offer you Android 6.0 at the same time as the Nexus devices without compromising on your experience of using HTC Sense,” says Giuliano. “You’ll be able to get new services like Now on Tap and Android Pay – which will be available in the UK in the near future.
“There’s also the addition of adaptable storage, which means you can use an SD card as internal storage for music, applications, videos and anything else you like. That gives you the option to upgrade your phone storage in a very inexpensive way”
And don’t forget about the battery too. Android 6.0 is an important part of the way the One A9 will manage battery consumption and efficiency, bringing lots of new functionality to improve that aspect of the device.
“We’ve worked very closely with Qualcomm to optimise the battery.”
“We’ve worked very closely with Qualcomm [who provides the A9’s central processing unit] to optimise the battery,” says Giuliano. “Android 6.0 is a big part of that as well; it has new power management and app standby options, letting you really customise what your phone is using power on.”
As it turns out, HTC’s work with Google is what Giuliano is most proud of when it comes to the One A9.
“The result is fantastic,” says Giuliano in closing. We’ve managed to improve the quality of our user experience and software design, whilst adding the latest Google innovation at the perfect time.”