HTC has officially announced its HTC One Max, a 5.9-inch phone that includes a fingerprint scanner on the back and which creeps even further up to tablet sizes.
The new phone takes its design cues from the well-reviewed HTC One and HTC One mini and shows off a new version of HTC’s grid-link “BlinkFeed” software layout. The HTC One Max’s display is a full 1080p HD screen and the phone runs on a quad-core Snapdragon processor.
The phone’s fingerprint scanner can be programmed to launch up to three different programs depending on which finger users press to the sensor. HTC is also touting the phone's camera and video capabilities, including a way to make GIF-like photos and shoot from the front-facing and back-facing cameras at the same time.
In the U.S., the phone is coming to the networks of Sprint and Verizon. No official pricing or release dates have been announced yet, though Sprint noted in a company blog post that the phone will be out “later this year.”
Early takes on the HTC One Max have not been that favorable, with many early hands-on evaluations focusing on how awkward the phone is to hold, particularly with one hand. CNET’s Brian Bennett also noted that the HTC One Max has the same processor as the earlier, smaller HTC One. “Trust me; these are great components, but they’re not as impressive when compared” to the phone’s main rivals from Samsung, LG and Sony, Bennett said.
The phone-tablet hybrid, or “phablet,” is showing up in a lot more company product portfolios these days. Samsung kicked off the trend with its Galaxy Note line, and continues to pump up the size of that line’s models, most recently with the Galaxy Note 3’s 5.5-inch screen.
This trend — like so many in the smartphone world — is likely driven by adoption in developing markets where consumers aren’t interested in buying both a tablet and a phone, analysts say. And consumers in Asia, where smartphone makers are seeing some of their strongest growth, also tend to like larger screens for reading while commuting and for the screen real estate when writing. That's spiked interest in larger phones from several smartphone makers, and from Microsoft, which has updated its Windows Phone software to support larger displays.
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