In just a few days, HTC and Verizon will take the stage where they will presumably announced and thus, launch the HTC Droid DNA, a 5-inch phablet that will likely become the latest edition in the Droid series of smartphones.
The Droid DNA isn’t a typical Droid smartphone however. Instead, it’s looking like it will be the first that features a massive display, even bigger than the 4.7-inch displays on the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD. The screen is why the Droid DNA, and other devices with larger screen sizes like the Galaxy Note 2, are not called smartphones but phablets. That is, they are essentially small tablets that work as smartphones.
It’s a concept that failed many times before the Samsung Galaxy Note arrived back in 2011 and it’s now one that has become so mainstream that manufacturers like LG, Sony and HTC are jumping on board with their own respective phablet devices.
As a long time fan of Droid-branded smartphones, the HTC Droid DNA is extremely intriguing even more so when you throw in the fact that it might feature a quad-core processor and a ridiculous display.
What’s more is that this device might be the first real competitor to the Galaxy Note’s reign as the Phablet King. Or, it might just end up in the bargain bin with the LG Intuition. Like I do with many devices, updates and release dates, I’ve been giving this Droid DNA some thought.
Here are those thoughts.
Its Most Intriguing Feature
Easily, the most intriguing rumored feature (lest we forget it’s still not announced) of the Droid DNA is its display. Not the size of the display, though a 5-inch screen seems more manageable than the 5.5-inch display of the Galaxy Note 2, but the resolution and the pixels-per-inch count of the display.
The HTC Butterfly J, a device that is supposed the sibling of the Droid DNA, will be hitting Japan with a full HD 1080p, LCD-3 display and it’s possible that the Droid DNA will have the same display. Throw in the fact that it has 400+ pixels per inch, the iPhone 5 has 326ppi, and HTC has my attention.
The Galaxy Note 2 display isn’t an upgrade over the resolution found on the previous model so this is a weakness that HTC can and should capitalize on as a full HD display on a phablet, which are productivity and content consuming beasts, looks and sounds amazing.
I still have my doubts about whether it will indeed show up on the Droid DNA given that no other phone in the U.S. has this technology on board yet but if it does, look for this to be the centerpiece of HTC’s announcement and a major reason why people buy in.
The Others Aren’t So Bad Either
That’s not to say the other features look bad either. The Droid DNA looks like it’s going to be an extremely powerful smartphone, with or without the full 1080p display. It’s rumored to have a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 8MP camera.
The processor and RAM should ensure that games and other content work smoothly with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, its presumed operating system, and look great at the same time. Additionally, as we saw with the camera on the HTC One X, HTC has been putting forth some high quality cameras and I expect the HTC Droid DNA to have a camera that blows the ordinary camera on the Galaxy Note 2 out of the water.
It also looks like it will have a solid design reminiscent of the Droid Incredible series. Keep in mind, HTC also has stressed that it wants to keep its phones thin and I expect the Droid DNA will adhere to that policy.
Price is Key
Still, hardware alone is going to win the battle against the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It’s going to need some other pieces if it wants to really compete and put a dent in the Galaxy Note 2’s sales.
First, price. This is an area where HTC can definitely make a splash. While the Galaxy Note 2 toils with $299.99 on-contract price tags, the Droid DNA could easily swoop in with a price tag far under that and steal away customers who are on the fence about spending $300 for a smartphone.
We’ve seen a rumored $199.99 price tag and that, combined with the high-end hardware, would put HTC right into the thick of things as far as the tablet race is concerned.
Something else HTC needs with the Droid DNA is something other than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 offers some useful applications for its S-Pen stylus and it also offers split screen multitasking that truly takes advantage of the device’s quad-core processor and massive display.
HTC needs to do something unique with its software. The Android/Sense combo just won’t cut it when the Galaxy Note 2 offers some truly incredible and unique software features.
Convince people that they need the screen real estate. Make the 1080p HD, if it’s there, count.
Won’t Dethrone the Galaxy Note 2…Yet
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has sold millions worldwide, three million to be exact, even before hitting AT&T and Verizon. However, I truly think there is room for a competitor in a space that the Galaxy Note has dominated for the past year and from the looks of things, the Droid DNA might be it. Just not this year.
The full HD display could definitely make it a sleeper hit with consumers but don’t expect to hear HTC touting sales numbers for this phone like Samsung has with the Galaxy Note 2.