HTC 10 - Performance10 (plus capacitive navigation buttons)

Here is the story behind the latest HTC 10 teaser

In preparation for the launch of the HTC 10, the Taiwanese company has offered another social media teaser. This time we see the forthcoming flagship Android smartphone from another angle, and the message is clear – it is all about performance.

A photo, which HTC shared across its social media accounts, not only contains an outline of the bottom section of the smartphone, it also carries the tagline ‘Performance10’.

Previous HTC 10 teasers have referenced attention to detail as well as camera technology. Now HTC is promising potential customers a snappy performance from the device, which is likely to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset.

Recently an unofficial image of what appeared to be a HTC 10 emerged, running the AnTuTu benchmarking app. Whatever the source of the image, it is unlikely HTC were too upset, given the device was shown blowing away the competition, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Xiaomi Mi 5.

Another interesting point worth noting about HTC’s own teaser image is that capacitive buttons are clearly visible. This marks a change in design philosophy, as the navigation buttons were placed on screen in the cases of both the HTC One (M8) and HTC One M9.

What can we learn from the latest #powerof10 teaser?

In the early days of Android, it was the Sense user interface that put HTC on the map. Sense offered Android a more polished appearance, and it remained popular for some time thanks to being more lightweight than rival offerings, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Yet in 2016, Android is now a mature operating system, and the benefits provided by the likes of Sense have reduced, given the functionality of stock builds. At the same time, the UIs developed by Android smartphone makers have gained a reputation as suffering from lag.

Although Sense has been one of the better UIs – in terms of performance – for a while now, there have been rumours of a slimmed down version becoming the norm, following the lightweight implementation seen on the HTC One A9, last year.

There are a number of potential advantages for HTC in reducing the bulk of Sense. Whilst the UI once helped differentiate HTC from its competitors, in 2016 moving closer to stock Android would actually set the Taiwanese company apart from the likes of Samsung and LG.

In addition, the past couple of years has seen concerns grow around mobile security. By cutting back on Sense, it would become much easier for HTC to implement Google’s security fixes.

The HTC 10 may therefore be launched with the promise of timely Android updates – a proposition the company first trialled with the HTC One A9.

And finally we come to performance. Those aforementioned AnTuTu results were interesting as they showed the HTC 10 outperforming 2016 rivals that offer similar specs.

How could the AnTuTu results have been achieved? A more streamlined software offering probably played a large role and could see the HTC 10 marketed as the best-performing Android flagship of 2016.