The Chinese versions of the HTC One will differ from the models sold in the West, a leaked picture reveals.
There’s no disputing that the aluminum unibody of the HTC One lend it excellent resistance to mechanical shocks (as illustrated in our recent HTC One drop test), but also a special look and feel that can’t be emulated through other designs. But the unibody approach has its own set of drawbacks, mainly the sealed battery, which cannot be replaced by the user, and the absence of a microSD card slot or of a secondary SIM slot.
At least two of these inconveniences will apparently be absent from the Chinese versions of the HTC One. The device selling on China Unicom (one of the big three carriers in the country) will feature a removable back cover that exposes a microSD card and two SIM slots. One of the slots can accommodate the WCDMA SIM used by the Chinese carrier.
As you can see from the featured image, the battery of the device, codenamed 802w, is still non-removable.
Seeing that China got a slightly improved version of the HTC One (well, at least from some perspectives) begs the question – why hasn’t HTC offered the same features in North America, Europe, and other markets?
It’s a matter of balancing the perceived priorities of the consumers in each market. HTC, as every other phone maker, tries to meet the lowest common denominator, the design that will appeal to the largest number of potential customers. In China, the dual-SIM and the SD slot are a priority for a larger number of users, while the more premium feel conferred by a unibody design is secondary.
In the Western markets, HTC probably considers that people don’t care as much for these features, and put a greater value on the solid, luxurious feel of a solid metal chassis. A wise decision? We’ll see when the HTC One goes on sale.