Update, 2:52PM EST: The video was taken down from Vimeo and Shaun Saperstein’s website (you can still see it in on Evan Blass’ Twitter feed). That makes it seem like the video was not supposed to be publicized.

Original post, 09:10AM EST: HTC’s smartphone business is in dire need of a reboot, but the company’s other big venture – virtual reality – is actually growing steadily. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore that HTC would want to use the Vive brand to boost its smartphone lineup.

According to media leaked by Evan Blass, that’s exactly what we should expect from HTC in 2017. Provided that the video below is real and accurate, and not just a design concept or experiment, HTC appears to be preparing a Vive smartphone.

The phone’s design is a fresh take on the antenna lines trope we’ve been seeing so much from HTC, Apple, and other companies over the past years. It’s not clear if the lines on the sides are functional or just cosmetic, but the styling is a welcome departure from HTC’s design language from current devices.

The Vive smartphone makes an appearance in a promotional video that purports to give us a sneak peak of an initiative called “CMF Kitchen.”

In product design, CMF stands for Color Material Finish. So a CMF kitchen would be a place where designers play with various colors and textures for products – and that’s exactly what the video is depicting.

The clip decries the lack of originality in modern phone design and gives us a “sneak peek” of three ways HTC us innovating in this field: “chemicals,” “super fibers” and “litmus.” It looks like the company is experimenting with funky colors and novel finishes, moving away from the silvers, blacks, and golds that are so prevalent today.

The video is high production value and it definitely looks like something that HTC would produce to tease its products. The problem is this video wasn’t obtained by Evan Blass from some inside source at HTC. The video has actually been publicly available online for over six months.

A Google search for “HTC CMF Kitchen” reveals that the video was first published in June 2016 on Vimeo by videographer Shaun Saperstein. According to his Linkedin profile, Saperstein has been employed as a visual/motion designer at HTC until June 2016. Saperstein is the author of another concept video that Evan Blass tweeted out today:

This second clip has been published four days ago on Saperstein’s YouTube channel. It shows the same “side control” interface that we’ve seen in a different concept video for a device called HTC Ocean, from Danelle Vermeulen, another graphic designer with HTC. That video leaked out in September 2016.

We’ve reached out to Saperstein to inquire about the videos and we’ll update if we hear back.

In the meantime, take the HTC Vive smartphone, the CMF kitchen, and Ocean with a big grain of salt. It’s hard to believe that HTC would allow its designers to openly share internal materials, especially ones that reveal flagship phones. It’s not impossible, it’s just more likely that the videos we’ve seen are side projects made for the designer’s personal portfolio. That’s how Shaun Saperstein is using the video on his personal website.

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Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • This is awesome. This is Innovative in terms of design. Would have expected Samsung Galaxy (Edge) to thought of that.

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  • Kiva Gordon

    It looks cool

  • Timothy Risse

    the ocean concept would pull HTC out of its rut. that’s real innovation.

  • Timothy Higgins

    I think my daughter is representative of many young adults. Phone technology has reached a maturity level where even lower level phones are “good enough” . She wants a phone that expresses her individuality, and is not particularly interested in the latest and greatest. Her phone is an OG Moto X, using her design choices at Moto Maker. I just received my Pixel XL, and offered her my old HTC M8, a technically more powerful device. She declined, citing her Style as the reason. These clips speak to that feeling. HTC has been criticized for keeping too long to the same design language. I understand low to long-range phones actually sell more units. HTC may be retrenching their business model with this trend.

    • libra89

      Yeah, I can relate to her a bit. I like the idea of a phone being an expression of you to a point. I was really drawn to the Nextbit Robin because of how different it looks. That phone doesn’t blend in a crowd and neither do I.

  • neonix

    You really gotta wonder why nobody is capitalizing on unique finishes like this, though. Motorola was the closest thing with Moto Maker, buy even those options were limited and not all that unique or unusual.

    We’ve seen sandstone and wood and leather, but nothing that’s really eye-catching like splatter paint, gradients, airbrushing, etc.

    Maybe they just don’t bother cuz they know most people are just going to slap on a big ugly plastic case anyway. :|

    • Grant Ding

      Have you never heard of Dbrand skins?

      • neonix

        I have. And skinning something is never as perfect as stock materials and finishes.

        And Dbrand doesn’t have that many unique options either. They have pretty much exactly what I mentioned (sandstone, leather, wood, etc.), but nothing like what you see in this video.

        So again, you really gotta wonder why no phone manufacturer is capitalizing on unique finishes like these.

  • Grant Ding

    I could believe in this coming from HTC. When you can’t improve the technology, make a $600+ phone feel like it’s supposed to be a personalized accessory.

  • Kunal Narang

    This is innovation that HTC needs. Let’s see what the product is.

  • Parkempty

    I like the design which is on the right. But Korean people says that the right one is ugly