“iPhone Copies Us, Not the Otherway Around”
In a classic battle tactic worthy of Sun Tzu, HTC lands first blows at the release of the new One A9 – a $399 metal clad, ‘unlocked’ cell phone. Specifically, HTC accuses iPhone maker Apple of copying their designs. Though the attractive, shiny and tough One A9 and iPhone somewhat resemble each other, it would be hard to mistake one for the other. Some wonder at the wisdom of tweaking the Cupertino powerhouses nose, but street fighter rules reward hitting first.
You may recall a 2010 legal battle between these contenders was resolved by HTC taking a 10 year licensing agreement. While arcane disputes over look and feel fall on mostly deaf consumer ears, copyright and design controversy marks just another day in the tempestuous hand-held sector.
In a tech progression, the One A9 will be the first device to drop CMDA – an older but common multiplexing digital communication technology that locks a phone into the network it was designed for. HTC claims the phone will run on the Verizon network using less expensive LTE tech, though Verizon makes no promises at this time.
The main consumer advantage in dropping CMDA is choice. European phone users have long been able to switch cell services at will, but this ability was adopted by the Cellular Telephone Industries Association in February 2015 after President Obama signed it into law in August 2014.
Before that, unlocking a phone – also known as “jail breaking” – remained an underground hack frowned upon by cell service providers and manufacturers alike. HTC’s out-of-box unlocked phone allow users to easily move between carriers while keeping the same number. The end result will be greater competition to force monthly service pricing down – always a good thing, even if manufactures like HTC and Apple can’t keep their costly patent disputes under thumb in the never ending chess match of price point and features that marks the smartphone age.