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HTC to shift from aluminum unibody construction into using more plastic for its phone shells

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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HTC to shift from aluminum unibody construction into using more plastic for its phone shells
HTC has been playing around with a new concept for designing its acclaimed phone chassis that have earned it a reputation of the upscale ride among smartphone makers. 

Back in June we reported that the Taiwanese are toying with the Nano Molding Method (NMT), which fuses the plastic area against the etched metal of the chassis, disposing of the numerous latches, slots and overlapping layers that were needed so far to keep things together in a metal-plastic bond. 

Now the share price of Catcher, a company that does the aluminum unibody chassis of HTC, fell yesterday on rumors from investment sources that HTC is planning to use more plastic and less metal in its phone shells construction

We don't know how the new design of HTC's future phones will look like, but a change was definitely needed, as they were starting to look very similar to each other with the current way of building the unibody shell. It's nice to hear rumors about innovations for a change, rather than report on the next litigation scandal between cell phone manufacturers.

source: Digitimes

49 Comments
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posted on 16 Sep 2011, 05:30 6

1. JGuinan007 (Posts: 627; Member since: 19 May 2011)


NOOOO!!!!! I love the aluminum construction it feels more solid and not so cheap as plastic.

Oh yeah first!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:05 12

2. Man2006 (unregistered)


Nooooo! I love HTC's beautifully designed phones with superior build quality. I hope they change that decision. HTC = Best Looking Smartphones in the Market

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:30 1

14. SMB (Posts: 30; Member since: 02 Aug 2010)


iPhone 4 is the best looking. HTC phones are just solid black or dark charcoal. No personality.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:59 9

17. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Everything's subjective. I think the iPhone 4 is elegant, but the exterior antennas around the edges (with requisite and troublemaking gaps) look clunky to me. HTCs look and feel smoother to me.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 09:32 2

18. ca2l3vin (Posts: 22; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)


Extremely subjective comment. Besides the Radar just premiered in all white and htc has been known to change colors especially in Europe. besides glass on glass to me may look elegant but I think flimsy/delicate when I see it. I would prefer to have a phone that I feel wont break or could possibly take a small fall in a year or 2 that im going to be using it.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:40 5

26. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


IPhone is a nice looking device but it is not very durable without a case..and if you going to put a case then does it matter how it looks?...also people can't say its the best design because as a phone it is probably the worst design because of the antenna issues..I cannot use the iPhone 4 without a case

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 12:32 4

29. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Agreed. My fiancee picked up an iP4 and a case on the same day. Another woman at the checkout did the same. It's accepted as fact that you need a case to protect the phone. Why bother with a pretty all-glass exterior if nobody bothers to look at it?

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:45 3

36. joseg81 (Posts: 164; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


@SMB -as opposed to the brick with rounded edges that is the iphone...they need a redesign and not just different size/shapes of buttons.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:17 7

3. Amjw (unregistered)


HTC has said that it is moving away from metal bodies because of the necessity of more antennas like lte and nfc: you can still read the story from July herehttp://tweakers.net/reviews/2198/een-kijkje-in-de-keuken-van-htc.html

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:22 11

4. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)


Even if its plastic, it'll be premium, because it's HTC, they'll make it feel premium, because they can! Since it's their signature ;)

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:05 1

24. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


drink the juice... dude

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:33 6

5. mhog (unregistered)


The htc phones are going to be just like the flimsey lg and Samsung phones now.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:40 11

6. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


except plastic is actually more durable and scratch resistant than metal.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:57 12

9. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


Nope, metal is more durable than plastic.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:16 9

12. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


no its not actually. your PERCEPTION says that, but physical reality says otherwise. plastic is more resistant to drop dents, scratches, and it absorbs vibrations better which helps protect your screen an internal parts from cracking when it is dropped.
oh yea,and its ligher weight.

that little bit of tin that cellphones use is more decoration that practicality.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 09:33 3

19. wowser (unregistered)


Plastic cracks, metal doesn't. That's a physical reality.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 10:11 7

21. Heatfan316 (Posts: 357; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


Metal dents, remix is right and you're wrong that's reality

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:19

30. wowser (unregistered)


stock up on glue then, for when the plastic cracks on it.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 21:30

40. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


ive dropped my phone on every surface, thrown it across the store to prove durability, had it be abused by my young child, and it doesnt have a scratch, dent,vibration damage, or crack in it. Try that with an Evo or an iphone4, then come back n tell me how much more durable tin is over plastic.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 10:44 4

23. box (unregistered)


Metal can crack when exposed to extreme conditions. You'll rarely if ever see those conditions exposed to a phone, but it is possible.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 21:23

38. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


plastic cracks because it absorbs the vibration that breaks your screen and internal components. Its not the fall that smashes your screen (unless its a direct hit of course), its the vibration. Vibration runs right through metal, where plastic absorbs it. I will drop my GalaxyS and you can drop any metal HTC phone.. and we will keep doing it until one cracks the screen. Bet you lose.. and quickly. Most HTC's also use gorilla glass now so that arguement is mute.

And metal dents and cracks. Its cheap frikkin tin and aluminum on phones, not titanium.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:45 3

27. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


I have been saying this for a long time that plastic is way more durable and is is the best choice of material for a phone because of what you have said already....plastic is also best because it stops any noticable interference with the phones signals/wifi etc...you just got to look at the sensation and ip4 signal interference because of the metal...

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:37

33. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


Very true. The biggest thing that I love about Samsung (besides the AMOLED displays, of course) is their use of plastic to make the phones so thin, light and durable. One of my best friends has the Samsung Mesmerize, and that phone can take so much more of a beating than my EVO ever could handle. Drops, kicks, falling out of his pocket while running at a full sprint down a hillside road (the phone then slid across the concrete for an alarming distance). Not only is there a single scratch on the surface of the phone, but with the new Gingerbread update, his phone runs even more smoothly than my EVO.
My next phone (I'll likely be buying one outright within the next 3-4 months) will be a Samsung. Either the GSII or Nexus Prime, If it is released on Sprint (or at least officially announced) by that time.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 10:41 3

22. newfdog 13 (Posts: 64; Member since: 06 Mar 2010)


Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Plastic - More efficient, durable, stronger. End of argument.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/index.html

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:27

31. wowser (unregistered)


FYI, the plane is NOT made out of plastic. Did you like yourself twice?

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 20:19 1

37. newfdog 13 (Posts: 64; Member since: 06 Mar 2010)


hey tardboy, go back to chemistry class, carbon fiber is a form of plastic.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 01:03

41. wowser (unregistered)


Hmmm. You must be highly intelligent if you have to resort to name calling rather than intellectual discussion. Plan to have an unhappy life ahead of you. The link that was provided in this thread to boeing does not list the plane as using carbon fibers but rather composite materials. Composite materials don't necessarily involve the use of carbon fibers and plastic. It can be confirmed through wikipedia however, that the 787 is in fact made largely out of CFRP's. So I will stand corrected there. It is however, also composed of about 45% metal. Finally, to compare composite materials used to build an airplane to the metals and plastics used in a cellphone is completely ludicrous. The quality, strength etc of the plastics in your cellphone do not compare with what's in an airplane.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 07:04

44. wowser duh (unregistered)


Hey wowser, you don't know what you're talking about. The other guy was correct. You were wrong. Plastic is plastic. Using technical words to describe the same material does not change the material. Neither does your ignorance and self serving fact that you just need to prove to a public that you truly think you know what your talking about.

By the way, your Mom called and didn't realize you weren't in the backyard playing anymore. LOL!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:34 3

32. darth8ball (Posts: 519; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)


let the sheep think what they want. they don't realize that no one wants a phone that is too heavy so when you have no tech inside(Apple) you can use heavy materials, but when you pack your device with technology, you need lightweight casings.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 02:29

43. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


really? you NEED light weight casings? are you really so weak or are you just too lazy to hold a few more ounces in your hand. after building things myself i have a much higher respect for how metal construction feels than plastic that can be ripped out from under the tightness of a screw or get warped from too much pressure. REAL MEN like a phone constructed with cold. tough. metal. why do you think screws and nails are metal and not plastic? metal can take a beating. metal doesn't need to be taken easy on.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 02:13

42. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


then go drop your phone unprotected on to some concrete. metal may not absorb an impact as well as plastic but since it's so munch denser metal doesn't scratch as easily as plastic. when you drop something a chain reaction may occur based on how you dropped it. if you drop plastic on something smooth without any jaggedness then it'll be fine but drop it on something that's not smooth like concrete and it does anything but take a direct impact like say slide or flip around then it's gonna get some deep scratches and it's gonna be pretty messed up. it would take a lot to damage metal anymore after the initial drop. i have a friend with a Samsung Vibrant and it looks bad. it's got dents and scratches, it's a mess. reaffirmed my resolve to not want a plastic phone.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 16:48

47. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


my vibrant looks brand new and its put through hell between my proving its durability to customers, my clumbsiness and constantly dropping it, and my daughter doing the same.

You have to try pretty hard to make that phone look like crap.

and with any phone.. get a case (most are made of plastic..lol)

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 18:14

48. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)


well i have only your word that you've put your phone through real abuse and then i've seen a Vibrant that looks like s**t myself. naturally i'm going to believe the ladder. i really doubt you took your customers outside of the safety of your carpeted store to show them any REAL durability tests just like the kind i said plastic fails in. subconciously you won't allow yourself to do that because you know it's going to get some serious damage if you do. my Droid 3 actually has a rubber case. it fits much better than crappy plastic and retains the sturdy feel of the phone because of it's snug fit. :P

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:42 9

7. KEVlN (Posts: 83; Member since: 19 Aug 2011)


I trust HTC... They won't make any unnecessary moves. Innovation is a good thing guys. I'm sure they'll still have that premium build quality that we know from HTC.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 06:52 4

8. willywill_evo (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)


I hope not, HTC are #1 when it come to building a solid phone

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 07:08 4

10. dcgore (unregistered)


As long as the overall quality and feel improves/stays the same, i won't mind.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 07:56

11. dacastrator (unregistered)


OHH NOOO!! PLEASE NOO!!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:18

13. Galen20K (Posts: 512; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


Oh I have a very bad feeling about this, I really love their quality uni-body metal design. I trust htc that they know what they're doing tho, so I'm sure it will turn out just fine and still be high quality.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:54 2

15. oreodesire (unregistered)


My HTC Desire is still running strong, even after being dropped many times on carpet, bathrooms etc.

As long as its a HTC branded phone, you know its great quality.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 08:58 3

16. AnnDroid (Posts: 52; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)


I agree with the notion that I trust HTC. My last 3 phones have been from HTC (EVO, Fuze, 3125). All three have survived being dropped many times, the 3125 survived being dropped weekly and my husband is still using it (doesn't want a data plan).

HTC makes quality phones. Period.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 09:54 2

20. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)


Its kool ppl htc knows what its doing

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:07

25. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


you guys wanted the beats audio and not bit** about higher prices.. well not with plastic..shut up... now...

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:49 1

28. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


Everyone that thinks HTC makes quality phones think again because there internal hardware such as camera and speakers have been subpar compared to other manufactures... quality is a lot more than how it looks.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:49 1

34. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


Quality is also a lot more than how it feels. Many people complain about how Samsung phones feel too plasticky and light, but that is exactly what makes them so durable. Along with having the best hardware on the market, their excellent build quality makes Samsung, IMO, the best phones available. I love HTC phones, but having an EVO with the 3500mAh battery leaves me desiring something thin and lightweight, but still fast and powerful. And boy, does Samsung deliver exactly that.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 14:26

35. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


wrong.... here... read this...
That flimsy battery cover

We absolutely LOVE the Galaxy S II's slim profile and light weight, but Samsung simply needs to do better with the quality of its materials. We don't consider the frame of the phone itself to be flimsy despite its plastic build, but the rear battery cover definitely detracts from the overall feel of the device.

The carbon-like finish does provide a solid grip when held, but the cover is a chore to remove, and even tougher to click back into place. In fact, the first time we had to remove it we almost broke it — such is the flimsy feel of the plastic. In comparison to the iPhone 4's all-metal body, the Galaxy S II definitely feels inferior in this regard.

where did i got this...http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/388590/five_things_we_hate_about_samsung_galaxy_ii/...

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 21:27

39. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


notice the word
"feel", "we concider" and other terms

those terms are SUBJECTIVE, not OBJECTIVE. Personal opinion, not hard evidence.

your proving my point. your PERCEPTION makes u think metal is better and premium when it actually IS NOT.

idiot ibots think that the tin surrounding that crappy glass front n back is "premium", when its actually half the reason u need a darn case to make a call.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 08:19

45. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


again personal opinion...try and break the thing and it is very hard...it could have been a solid piece of plastic but it would easily break if bended but because its flexible it is less likely to break
also if i were to drop my iphone4 or gs2 i wonder which is most likely to shatter lol lets hope it never happens.

where did i get this from...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErXqnQKs-tA

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 12:00

46. Junior in Jamaica (unregistered)


Yeah maybe less deathgrip issues (re: Sensation).

And less samey, samey. You can use high grade plastics, more matte, less glossy and still pull off a good build. Less weight too.


P.S. Detaching my phone and seeing all those connectors in the shell is not really cool.

posted on 19 Oct 2011, 09:28

50. roysterdoyster (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


My concern is about the weight and importantly how that weight feels in your hand, pocket. I have had a MK1 Milestone since its launch. Great feeling of weight and security, Only damage is the paint finish coming off on the raised bevel surrounding the screen.

Its looking I have to wait up to another year for a decent weighty metal unibody phone.

Disappointed of China

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