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HTC launches its first Android One device

HTC launched several new phones this week, including a revised version of its U11 flagship, the new U11 Life and a high-end U11 Plus. The latter device was initially destined to be Google’s Pixel 2 XL before the company made a last-minute decision to partner with LG instead.
Of the three new handsets, only the Life can be bought with Android One. Android One is a Google initiative that offers the latest version of Android without any modifications. Originally designed as a way to spur smartphone adoption in emerging markets, the company’s now expanding the project to more regions and device manufacturers.
The Life is HTC’s first Android One device. This gives you a chance to buy an HTC phone without any of the company’s own Android tweaks preinstalled. Out of the box, you’ll get Android 7.1 Nougat with Google’s stock apps and interface. Going forward, monthly security updates will be offered. Android 8.0 Oreo will arrive later this month, followed by a guaranteed Android P update next year.
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Like all Android One phones, the U11 Life will ship with Google Assistant installed. Google and HTC have customised the software here to add support for the U11’s Edge Sense technology. You can squeeze the sides of the handset to open Assistant to listening mode, letting you say a voice command without having to tap the screen or wait while Assistant responds to the “OK Google” hotword.
The 5.2-inch handset’s design is based on the regular HTC U11. It retains the glass finish and overall aesthetics of the U11. The material choices have been downgraded though to match the lower price, resulting in a smaller, slightly tougher and more mid-range device.
Internally, the U11 Life uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630 processor. There’s 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 16MP main camera and USB-C for external connectivity. The battery is a 2,600mAh unit which HTC rates for two hours longer video playback than last year’s HTC 10.
The U11 Life will cost $349 when it launches. The Android One version will be offered in select markets worldwide. Initially, it will be confined to Germany and sold through Amazon and Media Markt stores. Google and HTC said availability will expand to more countries in Europe and the Asian Pacific region next year, giving Android One another widely distributed handset option.

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