HTC announces flagship U Ultra, featuring AI-based virtual assistant

By Christine Chou, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan-based consumer electronics manufacturer HTC Corp. (宏達電) on Thursdayv officially announced its latest flagship smartphone, the U Ultra, which houses a new artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant called HTC Sense Companion. It also unveiled the HTC U Play, another mid-range handset with AI software that can learn from a user’s phone habits and tweak its behavior to support them. Like Apple’s latest iPhones, Lenovo’s Moto Z and the HTC Bolt, neither of HTC’s new smartphones has a headphone jack. This means users will need to rely on wireless headphones. The company presented the bundled USonic earphones, which have the capacity to detect sonic pulses and adjust audio to match each user’s unique ear architecture, stated HTC. HTC U Ultra features a glass-metal design and a small second screen at the top of the display — a 160 x 1040 pixel resolution display that offers a faster window to show information, including upcoming events, weather forecast or customized notifications. U Ultra includes a 5.7-inch Super LCD 5 display with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 coating on top.

Its rear camera has 1.55-micron pixels and f/1.8 aperture, as well as PDAF, OIS, 4k video and high-resolution audio. The front camera has a 16MP capacity with UltraPixel mode and 1080p video. The phone runs on a Snapdragon 821 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up to 2TB using a MicroSD card. HTC said pre-orders for the U Ultra, which will come in black, blue and white, will open at noon on Jan. 12 on their official website. There will also be another color variant pink, to be made available when it becomes available globally. The company did not disclose the exact date it would go on sale. According to local media, the firm’s suggested market price for the premium, ultra-hard, sapphire edition of Ultra U with 128GB internal storage is NT$28,900 (approximately US$910) and NT$23,900 (US$750) for U Ultra.