Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, June 16.

1. HTC, no, why?

Former smartphone giant HTC is back, with the Desire 20 Pro and U20 5G, two new models that it hopes will revive its fortunes, announced at an event in Taipei.

HTC is only releasing these two new mid-range phones into its homebase of the Taiwanese market, for now.

  • The HTC U20 5G, HTC’s first 5G model, will still be manufactured in-house, and while it’ll be priced at NT$18,990 (or about US$640), it doesn’t scream flagship. The 6.8-inch display packs the less spectacular Snapdragon 765G chipset, which is the same as the LG Velvet, making its way to the US and Europe in the coming weeks
  • Also, that display is LCD, with a punch hole for the front camera, a rear fingerprint reader, and a big old chin, 5,000 mAh battery, and 48MP quad-camera setup that looks average in terms of specs.
  • The Desire 20 Pro is much more budget, at NT$8,990 (or about US$303), and won’t be made in Taiwan. It’s a 4G only phone on the aging, cheap Snapdragon 665 platform, and packs a 6.5-inch LCD, and more basic quad camera setup.

htc u20 5g 2 1

Umm:

  • Neither device is particularly ambitious in any facet. They’re not going to compete on price, cutting edge features, or a combination of the two.
  • The best feature might just be their potentially long battery life. And that’s about it.
  • This is exactly what HTC was doing when sales tanked to new lows. After a brief hiatus, returning with more of the same uninspiring offerings at a price that hurts doesn’t make much sense.
  • We know people still want a new 2020 HTC flagship phone! 63% of people voted they were ‘psyched’ about a new HTC flagship.
  • This isn’t it.
  • Maybe it doesn’t matter: we may not see either phone sold outside of Taiwan, and even if we did, they’re just not at the same level at all. And HTC must know that.
  • So, the dream of an HTC beast phone may just be that. Maybe it’s no longer possible. HTC’s problems have been long documented, as our old friend Adam Doud wrote back in 2017, when Google bought 2,000 or so engineers from HTC for $1.1 billion.

HTC VR:

  • HTC also announced the new Vive XR Suite (Engadget), a set of Microsoft Office-like services for VR, catering to work and social activities. I have less bad to say about that.

2. Asus ROG Phone 3 specs leak: Fastest Snapdragon 865 phone? (Android Authority).


3. Galaxy A71 5G: Samsung will soon release its cheapest 5G phone in the US, starting at $599 (Android Authority).


4. Details emerge for upcoming new Nest-branded smart speaker, codename ‘Prince’ (Android Authority).


5. CloudFlare’s CEO explains the sequence of events yesterday that started with T-Mobile’s network largely collapsing after configuration problems. But don’t believe DDoS attack reports! (Twitter).


6. Apple faces dual EU antitrust complaints as App Store pressure grows, and Apple Pay is probed. Apple said it was ‘disappointing’ that some companies who made complaints “simply want a free ride”. This is big. (Yahoo Finance).


7. Philips Hue’s latest smart bulb is blindingly bright: 1600 lumens, $20, and you can dim it. Not bad (CNET).


8. Six former eBay employees and execs charged in a bizarre, nasty cyberstalking scheme. Weird and very horrible (The Boston Globe).


9. Hands on with Lego’s new Super Mario sets which seem like winners. Details: available August 1, and at minimum, you’ll need the Adventures with Mario Starter Course for $60, and there’s 10 expansion sets and more (The Verge).


10. What technology has accidentally killed the most people? With scientists and historians involved, this is a great read (Gizmodo).


 

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