After a month or so of hype, Samsung’s newest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has landed to some lukewarm reviews.
The consensus among critics seems to be that the Galaxy S4 is a good phone, but not as good as its chief Android rival, the HTC One.
There are two major reasons:
First, the Galaxy S4 is made from plastic, which feels cheap in comparison to the beautiful and durable metal construction on the HTC One.
Then there’s the software. Samsung packed its phone with a ton of features critics found gimmicky or flawed. The HTC One keeps most of the focus on the core Android experience.
So HTC has to be feeling pretty good right now. It built what is widely considered to be the best Android phone in the world, despite being outspent by Samsung in marketing.
“It’s really been a great week for us,” said Mike Woodward, HTC’s North America president, in an interview. “We’re seeing brisk sales so far.”
Woodward wouldn’t go into detail on specific sales numbers, but did mention some retail partners had sold out of the HTC One since the phone launched last week.
“We look at [the Galaxy S4 reviews] through the lens of the HTC One, and it stands up positively,” Woodward said. “The design seems to be attracting the most attention and we’re really proud of that.”
However, there is one big hangup with the HTC One. Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the US, doesn’t sell the phone and there aren’t any immediate plans for it to start. That’s a lot of potential One owners who are missing out. All four major US carriers will sell the Galaxy S4.
Woodward said HTC is focusing on the Droid DNA with Verizon, another nice HTC Android phone. But the DNA isn’t nearly as pretty or as fully featured as the One. There are some rumours that Verizon will eventually sell the One, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
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