MWC 2014: HTC announces Desire 816 and 610, Power To Give initiative

HTC is showing off a couple of mid-range Android devices with their compelling design features. They also talked about a new initiative and a study as they attempt to reach beyond simple design initiatives.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
MWC 2014: HTC announces Desire 816 and 610, Power To Give initiative
Image: HTC

Given that HTC is announcing their next One flagship smartphone at the end of March we didn't expect news of the One at MWC. Instead, HTC announced their new "flagship mid-range" phone, the Desire 816. They also made a couple announcements reminiscient of the ones Nokia used to make that focus on other actions and intiatives that can be taken to improve the well-being of others.

HTC Desire 816

The HTC Desire 816 brings a lot of what is found in the HTC One to a lower priced phone designed to bring value with their design. The key design elements include dual front facing stereo speakers with HTC BoomSound, HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Sense 5.5, a 5.5 inch display, and a high quality 5 megapixel front-facing camera. HTC really is trying to make their new devices the ultimate in "selfie" phones.

Like other previous Desire devices, it is targeted for the worldwide market with initial availability slated for China in March. Global retail availability is slated for April with no pricing or details for the US market, but I imagine we will see it launch with prepaid services.

Specifications for the Desire 816 include the following:

  • 1.6 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 5.5 inch 720p display
  • 1.5 GB RAM, 8GB storage, microSD expansion card support up to 64GB
  • Bluetooth 4 with aptX and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • 2600 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 156.6 x 78.7 x 7.99 mm and 165 grams

HTC Desire 610

The new Desire 610 looks similar to the Desire 816 with a smaller display and slightly lower specifications. It still has HTC BlinkFeed and HTC BoomSound stereo speakers.

HTC Desire 610 All Colors
Image: HTC

Specifications for the Desire 816 include the following:

  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 4.7 inch qHD display
  • 1 GB RAM, 8GB storage, microSD expansion card support up to 64GB
  • Bluetooth 4 with aptX and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 2040 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 143.1 x 70.5 x 9.6 mm and 143.5 grams

The HTC Desire 610 will be available across Europe starting in May.

HTC Power to Give initiative

You have probably heard of the SETI project where you can donate computer time to help send signals to space. HTC is launching an intitiative, HTC Power To Give, that attempts to harness spare smartphone procesing power.

The idea is that your powerful Android smartphone sits idle at home or work when it is plugged in and connected to WiFi so maybe that power can be used to help society in a number of ways.

Dr. David Anderson, from my graduate alma mater Berkeley, helped develop the Android application that you can use to select organizations you want to donate mobile computing power to. These include efforts to battle cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's, help ensure all children have clean water, and the search for extra-terrestrial life.

The app will be available in the Google Play Store for HTC One and Butterfly owners. HTC plans to roll it out to other Android smartphones after the six month beta test is complete.

Good design makes you happy

Nearly everyone who used the HTC One commented on its fabulous design elements and it still stands out from the crowd today. HTC commissioned a research effort that evaluated and reported on results from 2,177 participants. It turns out that good design does indeed make us happy and we do have emotional attachments to well-designed objects.

I found the tips to fuel happiness and creativity interesting. They included things like having a good friend at work, brighten up your home with natual lighting, laugh more, and get active. HTC already makes gorgeous smartphones and with their vague statements about wearables they may be working to help make us happy in other areas too.

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