Bonnie Cha

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HTC Hoping to Make Another Big Impression With One Mini

For HTC, a company that has struggled to keep up in the competitive smartphone market, the launch of its One handset was a biggie. But for its next product launch, the company is going small — literally.

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Today, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer introduced the HTC One Mini, a scaled-down and more affordable version of its flagship device.

Launching in August or September, the One Mini keeps to the same design aesthetics as the HTC One — aluminum chassis and dual speakers — but features a smaller, 4.3-inch 720p HD touchscreen and a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. (The One has a 4.7-inch 1080p HD touchscreen and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor.)

It also lacks the infrared feature that allows you to use the smartphone as a remote control, and has a smaller battery than the original HTC One.

These modifications aside, the One Mini keeps many of the same features as its bigger brother, including HTC’s UltraPixel camera technology and software, and BlinkFeed, an interface that lets you view all your social network updates and news right on your homepage.

Mike Woodward, president of HTC North America, said customers have been asking for a smaller version of the HTC One since it launched in late April.

According to Woodward, the One has been HTC’s most successful product launch to date, though he wouldn’t provide any sales numbers to back that up. (According to The Wall Street Journal, an unnamed HTC rep said it had sold five million HTC Ones since launch.)

Woodward credited some of the One’s success to the scale of the phone’s launch (it’s available in 181 countries and on 583 networks around the world), and some to the company’s efforts to promote the One and its premium features.

“We’re really pleased with the reaction from customers and the tech reviewers,” Woodward said in a phone interview with AllThingsD. “Now that we’ve created the best product that we can, we think it’s appropriate to expand with a family of devices.”

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Creating an entire portfolio of products under one name certainly isn’t new. Samsung, for example, offers a wide range of products under its Galaxy brand, including ruggedized smartphones and connected cameras.

But, having already been in a situation where it offered a huge number of products and had to scale back as the competition got fiercer, HTC wants to focus on quality, not quantity.

When I asked if HTC was considering creating a bigger version of the One, Woodward said, “We want to be really focused. We’ve been studying those opportunities [to expand] but whatever we do, we want to make sure it stays true to the HTC One, and we think the Mini does that.”

While the One Mini might be welcome news for some folks, Verizon customers are still waiting to get their hands on the original One. As first reported by Ina Fried, Verizon will get its own version of the high-end Android device, but it has yet to hit store shelves. Woodward didn’t have any updates, other than to say that it’s still slated to be released later this summer.

Release dates and pricing for the HTC One Mini will be announced closer to launch, but the phone will cost less than the HTC One.


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