Let me preface my comments here by stating that I've never had the opportunity to be a part of designing a smartphone. I've probably designed a thousand or so of them in my mind, but I've never felt the excitement of seeing my ideas come to fruition. I have, however, spent quite a bit of time trying to imagine the position HTC was in when pen met paper to start the creation of the One. The most interesting thing to me about it is that even with all the ideas I've had, the phone sitting in front of me on my desk trumps them all.
When the average consumer looks at the HTC One, I imagine they appreciate the beauty of it, but not nearly as much as they would if they understood the stakes behind it. This device is the culmination of a lot of hardwork, a lot of frustration, and a lot of desperation from a company that has done so much right over the years, but hasn't been able to really break through. A lot of that falls on their own shoulders, as failed marketing scheme after failed marketing scheme has put them in this position they're in today. I find that when our backs are against the wall, however, that our best work comes out. HTC has certainly proven that statement true with the HTC One.
There are those of you who will say "But it's just build quality and design. There's more to it than that." While I agree, I put the most emphasis on the design of this device because of what it means for HTC going forward. If you've ever used a Droid DNA or HTC 8X, you've experienced the curved back that creates this illusion of thinness while achieving an incredible feel in the hand. This is something I believe they'll utilize in the future on most their devices because it simply works.
The rest, and I may have people who disagree with me here, was crafted after the iPhone 5 came out. The anodized aluminum, the chamfered edges, and the bezel; HTC saw a great design that resonates with so many consumers, but knew they could do it better. The curved back eliminates the rigid, almost lifeless feel the iPhone 5 has while maintaining the thin frame. It's more comfortable to hold and balances the weight of the device. The only thing left was to figure out how to utilize the bezel, and HTC hit this one out of the park with the final stroke to the canvas of a masterpiece. The top and bottom of the bezel became the front-facing speakers, a design element that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but incredibly functional.
Yes, this is only one device, but going forward, it will be so much more. HTC now has a template, a build quality and design that will become synonymous with the name "One". So when I look down at my desk at the Stealth Black version of the HTC One, I see a beautiful device that is a joy to use. Looking beyond that, I see what will become a successful brand, all stemming from the moment the final draft of this design was presented.