HTC plans better camera phone, smartwatch

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TAIPEI: HTC Corp plans to unveil a marquee phone in March with improved camera and audio features, and its first smartwatch, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the Taiwanese company tries to stem three years of falling sales. Shares rose.

Code-named M9, the phone features a 20-megapixel rear camera and an HTC UltraPixel front camera, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public. The smartwatch will link with Under Armour Inc’s fitness service, building on a partnership announced earlier this month, the person said.

HTC will release the products around the time of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where the world’s biggest smartphone makers, including Samsung Electronics Co and Huawei Technologies Co, will showcase their models. The smartwatch represents HTC’s latest effort to move beyond the slowing smartphone market after last year’s introduction of the “Re” action camera.

Its new phone resembles last year’s M8 in size and design, with gold, gray and silver options, and features Qualcomm Inc’s eight-core Snapdragon 810 processor, which has advanced video capabilities, the person said. The device includes Dolby Laboratories Inc’s Dolby 5.1 audio technology and HTC’s latest Sense 7 user interface with improved location-based services.

The UltraPixel sensor developed by HTC features fewer, larger pixels designed to get clearer images in lower light.

HTC posted its first quarterly sales growth since 2011 in the final three months of last year, while full-year sales fell. — Bloomberg

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 20, 2015.