October 14, 2013
HTC Reveals One Max Smartphone Ahead Of Schedule
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
HTC is following in Samsung’s footsteps and plans to release a larger version of its flagship device later this month. After the details of this new device leaked online, HTC formally announced the One Max today, a 5.9-inch phablet device with a quad-core processor, 1080 HD screen and a fingerprint scanner.
HTC’s flagship One smartphone was well reviewed and in many cases earned higher marks than the Samsung Galaxy S III. HTC didn’t celebrate the same sales numbers as Samsung, however, a fact that many blame on poor marketing. The Taiwanese company saw its profits fall by 91 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and continue to see some of the lowest stock numbers in its history. The One Max looks to be in many ways a fine competitor in the phablet space, but a few interesting design choices could limit sales.
Last month Apple introduced the iPhone 5S with Touch ID, the company’s long awaited fingerprint scanning technology. While not the first device to be unlocked with biometrics, it is the first in what many believe to be a new generation of devices with the security feature built in. HTC is now the second of this new era with a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, underneath the camera. The scanner on the Max can do more than Apple’s, such as unlocking and locking the device, as well as opening a specific set of apps. The phone/tablet hybrid can be trained to open up to three different apps, each trained with a specific finger.
The phone also uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a chip available to any smartphone manufacturer. Apple’s iPhone 5S operates on a proprietary A7 chip, and the company claims any fingerprint scans are isolated to one part of this chip which can’t be accessed by any other piece of hardware. HTC offered a similar promise, downplaying fears that a user’s fingerprint data could be pilfered from the Max.
"The fingerprint data is encrypted and stored in local memory and can't be readily accessed or copied. The fingerprint data cannot be easily converted into any other form or used by a third party,” said HTC in a statement to BBC.
It’s likely many security experts will ask HTC for even more information about the fingerprint data gathered by the scanner in the same way they sought more information from Apple.
As Android is famous for being a relatively insecure operating system, it’s likely these questions will be amplified.
Elsewhere, the Max has a removable back that allows users to access the Micro-SD card and give the device extra storage. Yet as Cnet points out, users can only remove the aluminum back to access this card; it does not allow users to swap out the battery. Covered by the removable back is the 1.7GHz Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM and a four megapixel camera. The company says the larger sensor of its UltraPixel design helps to overcome the relatively small camera.
The One Max will be available in 32 and 64 GB variants and will be available to phablet fans later this month. It arrives shortly after Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3, a device with a slightly smaller screen and the ability to pair with the Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s long-awaited smartwatch.