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CyanogenMod founder gets an HTC One, thumbs it up as dev friendly with great design

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CyanogenMod founder gets an HTC One, thumbs it up as dev friendly with great design
Steve Kondik, of CyanogenMod founder fame, got and HTC One from AT&T over the weekend, as the phone launched officially on Friday. He couldn't resist jotting down a few words on the design, build quality, software and developer features, which you can read below.

The only thing he didn't appreciate was the unimaginative app drawer, which is the weak point in Sense 5.0 indeed, but he quickly unlocked the bootloader and installed CWM anyway, plus it's Android, so you can experiment with looks and launchers until the cows come home. He was hired by Samsung for two years, but couldn't really appreciate the corporate culture, and left amicably a month ago, and still has good things to say about the Galaxy S4 below, too:


The HTC One

I promised a review of this device when I got my hands on one, so here goes.

I picked up the One on AT&T yesterday. I haven't really used an HTC device in quite awhile, and I'm pretty happy with this phone.

The very first thing I did was to unlock the bootloader. HTC (like everyone) got this very wrong in the past, but they finally got it right. The production device is fully unlockable on the AP side using an unlock code from HTCDev. It only took a couple of minutes to follow the prompts on the site and I was greeted with the UNLOCKED message in HBOOT. Installed CWM and did a backup.

This hardware is sexy. It's got clean lines and feels very solid when you are holding it. The 1080p display is gorgeous and bright, although I'm not convinced that I would pay a lot of extra money for 1080p on a phone if all other things were high-end. Oddly enough, the phone looks like the little brother of my Samsung Series 7 laptop which is a good thing. There are only two capacitive buttons, which took a bit of getting used to- you have to double-tap the home key to see the recent apps list. It's a good design, and it makes plenty of room for the front-facing stereo speakers.

HTC has taken a very different approach to software than Samsung has, and has chosen to focus on media and content instead of UX features. You're immediately greeted with the Sense launcher which has a full-screen pane that aggregates data from various social networks and news feeds. It works well and I find myself actually using it. There's so much room for improvement and additional data sources, but it's a good start. The launcher in general is pretty decent, at least until you open the app drawer. HTC has decided to go with a 3-column app drawer with a vertical tray that doesn't do free scrolling. It's very painful to use if you have a lot of apps. Folders are supported in the drawer which makes it a little easier, but it's still not the best experience. One feature that HTC did well is the lock screen. It supports a number of different layouts (I use "productivity") and shows you quick information without having to unlock the device.

The performance of the device in general is off the charts. Under the hood, it has the same chipset as the Galaxy S4, so the performance of both devices is similar. It's probably more horsepower than most people will need for quite some time.

Overall, I like where HTC is going with this. They have decided to skip the "kitchen sink" approach to really focus on a few things, and it works. It's also developer friendly, which is important to me and probably to most people reading this. I really think HTC might be back in the game with the One. It's an awesome device. They will of course have to contend with Samsung's unstoppable marketing machine though.

If I had to make the choice between the One vs the S4, my head would probably explode so I'll just carry both I think :)

source: SteveKondik (G+)

29 Comments
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posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:10 26

1. Topcat488 (Posts: 1162; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


I give him a thumps up.

posted on 24 Apr 2013, 00:13

25. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


no, his mission has failed.....still Touchwiz on SGS4, still no AOSP on SGS4
but of course its probably not his fault....its fault of Samsung's crappy strategy = to load Android with so much mess that is impossible to deliver fast updates

I would buy an SGS4 even for 750$, but no Nexus, no deal.....stick with GN

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:15 20

2. zizicomments (Posts: 5; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


that's right,HTC one for me as well

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:17 11

3. PermanentHiatus (Posts: 267; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


HTC One: "The least repairable phone ever." - iFixit

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 03:09 17

8. boosook (Posts: 1031; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Who cares... you wouldn't be able to repair it yourself anyway.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 03:23 3

9. PermanentHiatus (Posts: 267; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


Speak for yourself. You'd be surprised to see how easy it is to fix some phones. It took me 15 minutes to replace my GS3 screen.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 11:23 7

19. BiN4RY (Posts: 82; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


I hope spending ~$250 replacing that screen to void your warranty was worth is instead of having Samsung professionally replace it for you while retaining warranty for around the same price.

posted on 24 Apr 2013, 00:15

26. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


and what about to replace a battery on the go? deal breaker together with slow updates....

posted on 05 May 2013, 12:14

27. Jacobkral (Posts: 2; Member since: 05 May 2013)


Oh shut up with that line, I'm sure the Window salesman hates bullet proof glass too.

The thing is, most phone repairs will cost more than the device is worth to replace anyway, and if it isn't made cheaply in the first place, it won't need repairing. Out of my 3 htc phones (G1, G2, One S) none have ever had problems I couldn't fix on the software side. Battery is a non issue, because spare batteries are a waste anyway, get an external and use it with anything, without having to turn off the phone, and holding a higher capacity, and easier to charge. If your phone freezes just hold the power button and it will force a reset.

If you need it (which you shouldn't considering htc gives you double for the same price) micro sd adaptors actually do exist for phones that don't have a slot.

Metal > plastic

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 03:37 8

10. dicemoney (Posts: 57; Member since: 28 Mar 2011)


All I have to say is bestbuy protection plan

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 03:41 3

12. Sniggly (Posts: 7114; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Agreed. The quality of our replacements isn't any worse than anyone else's, and we don't do deductibles or replacement limits.

Also, and I grant this is more of a manager's discretion thing, but we don't usually refuse claims unless the phone is pretty much completely in pieces.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 06:19 1

17. rizevnarastek (Posts: 330; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


BestBuy mobile is a great store. I like how you do business

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 05:45 7

14. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Only a careless person who breaks his devices easily will complain about reparability

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 06:03 2

15. dsDoan (Posts: 219; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)


I've never broken a phone in my life. I care about repairability.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 20:01

24. blingblingthing (Posts: 441; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


I'm with you EXK. I've had a HTC One X (AT&T) and LG Nexus 4 now. I haven't dropped either of them. To be honest if I broke, I will try to get it off my hand.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:29 1

4. Sniggly (Posts: 7114; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


He looks kinda like Romo Lampkin from Battlestar Galactica. It's probably the sunglasses.

I agree that the One is a very nice device. If I weren't holding out for August I'd be very tempted to spend money I don't have right now to get it. So far reports on the camera performance are good, which was my biggest worry.

We didn't get many Ones in, but I've already sold about half of them, mostly to customers who weren't even coming in to get it. In fact, one lady decided to buy the One (after she had already decided on an iPhone 5) after taking a look at the One I was selling the customer ahead of her, and also after I pointed out some of its features and easy ways to pull out of the Apple ecosystem.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:30 2

5. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


Man, you are playing safe.. hehe But at least which one will you use more often:)

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:49 3

6. doubler86 (Posts: 318; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)


I have both phones, ready to take the HTC One back. As a developer, nothing beats the easiness of the Odin process. HTC has gotten a LOT better, but still if you want to root, Samsung and Moto are the way to go. (except for any Nexus of course)

posted on 05 May 2013, 12:19

28. Jacobkral (Posts: 2; Member since: 05 May 2013)


You must be the most incompetent dev on earth then, i can root any htc in less than 30 min.. Samsung imo is actually more difficult but still easy and moto.. Lol.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:59 5

7. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5620; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


the One is obviously going to be a very hot device among the Android community abroad.
i'd hardly get one to replace my MAXX HD as my DD but it's the most current phone that i'd like to have the most.
oh and Steve needs to go into the app drawer settings and poke around. there's an option to change the grid size. HTC's default settings in Sense 5 are a little questionable.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 06:17 1

16. rizevnarastek (Posts: 330; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


There's less clutter in the app drawer with the default settings and you can have things in folders anyway. The best option in my opinion is the "frequently used apps" layout. Other launchers don't have it and it's a nice feature that simplifies the UX.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 16:08

22. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5620; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


well at least you like it. o:

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 03:39 5

11. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


great one.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 04:47

13. nostarwhere (Posts: 9; Member since: 12 Mar 2013)


No surprise he does that after leaving Samsung.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 16:28 1

23. chocolaking (Posts: 453; Member since: 22 May 2012)


because he couldn't really appreciate the corporate culture. It must be a terrible experience for him.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 08:31 4

18. amats69 (Posts: 1086; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


Thumbs up to you Mr Steve Kordik.....now the expert has spoken! I really Love HTC One..can't wait for next week!

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 14:55 1

20. henrickrw (Posts: 407; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


HTC Garbage!

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 15:33 3

21. f1r3z0r (Posts: 82; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


All my fingers up! I will get my HTC one pronto and of course I will root it and install CM 10.1 or newer

posted on 20 May 2013, 13:49

29. jamosjamos (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 May 2013)


I'm not claiming other device makers are much better, but though HTC talks about their commitment to developers, they don't always follow through. They have yet to release kernel source for ICS for the Thunderbolt. How much dev support will HTC offer for the One after it's been around a year or so?

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