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A lot of people are discussing this purchase as a way to bolstering Google's hardware R&D prowess, which I sort of don't understand: what are some of the most impressive phone innovations that came from HTC in the past 5 years?

Just off the top of my head some things that HTC did before anyone else:

  * First LTE phone in america (Thunderbolt)
  * Dual front speakers (BoomSound)
  * Low-MP camera (Ultrapixel)
  * Unibody aluminum phone (One M7)
  * Squeezable edges (U11)
  * Glasses-free 3d display (Evo 3d)
I am sure I am forgetting some.

HTC has always had really nice hardware on their phones and once in a while they get the software right too. While a lot of these innovations have failed in the market, in the right hands they could all be just what Google (or some other company) needs to get in front of this market.

I appreciate some of these, but some I'm not sure I do for all of them. Just because they released something before everyone else doesn't mean there was real brilliance behind it --- do people really care that squeezing the phone is a new medium for interacting with it? (Maybe it's too early to tell for this one, but I have my doubts.)

First LTE phone: I'm not sure I see why this is "innovation" on its own; the LTE specs were known for years before LTE networks rolled out, and I don't think HTC made the low-level components that made it possible anyway (e.g., the filters). Not that it didn't require some new work, but I'm not sure the R&D dept. had to work hard on this one.

Low-MP camera: why is this important and/or innovative?

BoomSound: Is this really innovation? It didn't create much of a trend in the smartphone market, and it used off-the-shelf parts.

I don't know much about the 3d display unfortunately.

I should have been clearer with my comment though, and asked what they have done that have been impactful and clearly required a huge amount of expertise, i.e., things Google might be interested in.

As an example of something that might fit the sort of work I am thinking about is this: https://atap.google.com/soli/

None of these are really scientific breakthroughs but it shows HTC can be on the cutting edge of phone hardware.

To address what you mentioned:

  * First LTE phone means they were ahead on hardware integration, testing, and price to get to market first.
  * The Low-MP camera demonstrates that they saw the end of the highest-megapixel wars and the shift towards picture quality being subjective.
  * BoomSound has certainly kicked off a trend,  The iPhone 7 made a big deal (TV ads, etc) about its much louder dual speakers.  Nobody before HTC cared about phone speakers.

Please don't use code blocks for text quoting. They cause side scrolling which can be annoying in desktop browsers and nigh unreadable on mobile.

Common methods to quote text blocks on HN are to use a > prefix and/or asterisks to italicize the quoted text.

Anecdotal, and nothing super groundbreaking, but my HTC One M9 has a camera I'd say gives the iPhone the besg running for its money out of any Android I've seen. The phone is also an absolutely solid build...many years of ownership and I've never had a case, yet I've dropped it on at least six occasions with no problems. I'd say HTC is the Nokia of smart phones when it comes to durability. Finally, the software experience--up until ATT nearly FUBARed it with OTA trash--has been extremely pleasing.

So it's an elegant phone at a price a few hundred dollars cheaper than an iPhone with honestly a very similar feel all around. Unfortunately, though, I don't plan to buy a new version beyond what is currently available if they are vacuumed up by Google.

M9 was known for a shitty camera with fucked up colors. Did you forget the pink tint?

Hmm, never happened on my phone at all. Maybe I got a good batch. Again--I said it was only anecdotal :)

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