2013 is the year of the second screen. We’ve seen smart watches from the likes of Pebble, Cookoo, and i’m Spa (makers of the i’m Watch), and wearable eyeglasses from Google and Vuzix as these companies look to bring the second screen to life. Though these devices will almost certainly be niche products and not enjoy the same mass market adoption currently enjoyed by smartphones and tablets, there is currently a market for these wearable second screen devices, which is much more than we can say for a new solution today out of HTC.
As CES repeatedly demonstrated in 2013, smartphones are getting bigger. There wasn’t a single flagship phone at the show with less than a 5″ screen, leaving customers wary of how they’ll be able to tote such massive devices around in a pocket-friendly way. HTC’s 5″ Butterfly is no exception, and the company has developed a more ergonomic secondary phone to be bundled with the Butterfly in China to “unburden” consumer pockets (via The Verge).
The HTC Mini carries both NFC and Bluetooth connectivity to the HTC Butterfly, and is essentially a remote-control candybar style device that gives you “freedom” from your overgrown smartphone. The Mini carries a small, square screen which, once paired with your smartphone via NFC, delivers notifications, text, appointments, email, and more to the smaller screen via Bluetooth. The Mini can also make and receive phone calls, with a built-in microphone and speaker making for a true second phone experience.
Yes, you read that right. HTC’s solution for overgrown smartphones is an undergrown one, which as The Verge points out, requires you to worry about charging yet another device should you wish to use it (though, you likely won’t). It has additional useful functionality as well, such as the ability to control content from the Mini when your phone is hooked up to your TV and serves as a controller for your smartphone’s camera should you want to take a self or group shot without the awkwardness of actually holding your device away from your body. In that way, at least, the HTC Mini is somewhat useful, though we can help but scratch our heads about why this type of device exists at all.
So while second screen devices may be all the rage in the coming year, HTC flat-out got it wrong with the HTC Mini. Similar functionality can (and ultimately will) much more usefully be built into connected wearable devices such as those mentioned at the outset of this article, with consumers much more likely to opt for convenient, wearable devices such as watches instead of yet another phone to carry.
What do you think? Would you use the HTC Mini, or are you more looking for a smartwatch or external glasses solution for your second screen needs?
Via: The Verge
Image Credit: Anqu
This article was written by Anthony Domanico
Anthony is the Editor in Chief of Techgress, and a big mobile and gaming geek. He's covered mobile technology for the better part of three years, and gets excited about shiny, new things. He currently uses an iPhone, iPad Mini, and Nexus 7, but Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry devices are never too far away.