The year is 2013, the month is April and two great new Android handsets have just started shipping into the hands of consumers. In one corner we have the Samsung Galaxy S4, a plastic-clad handset that, despite packing quite a hardware punch, would receive a somewhat tepid response due to being “too similar” in design to the S3. In the other corner, there’s the brand new HTC One, a phone that breaks some of HTC’s past conventions to bring us a metallic unibody that is arguably years ahead of the competition in terms of design — especially Samsung.

The HTC One (M7) had awesome speakers, a great design, and finally gave Android users a phone that, at the very least, held its own against Apple aesthetics. In our own “Friday Debate” style article back in 2013, our team largely came to a consensus that we preferred the HTC One. Many in the tech world felt the same. HTC’s North American President, Mike Woodward, was equally confident in the One vs the S4 saying this:

“We look at [the Galaxy S4 reviews] through the lens of the HTC One, and it stands up positively.” “The design seems to be attracting the most attention and we’re really proud of that.”

Yet despite a bright looking future, the HTC One attracted fans but never really managed to wow the public as a whole in the way that Apple or Samsung did. Still, at least HTC had style on its side, and no one could compete with that. Well… until everyone started doing metal, and in a bizarre twist of fate, Samsung would eventually steal HTC’s crown as one of the Android kings of premium design by going glass and metal. And they haven’t let go of that crown since.

What did you think of the HTC One back in the day? What are your thoughts as to why HTC’s premium design wasn’t enough to help it conquer its rivals in a bigger way? Let us know down in the comments.