PatentBolt has gotten their hands on a new HTC device design which indicates that HTC might be working on a competitor to Apple’s iPod Touch. HTC filed a patent back in early 2011 for a “handheld electronic device” which makes no reference to cellular bandwidths, essentially ruling out the possibility of the device being a phone. The patent application was made public just this month.
As you can see from the illustrations, the device would feature complete slide out stereo stereo speakers on the front of the device, making it a multimedia powerhouse. The patent application shows a rear kickstand geared for landscape viewing, perfect for consuming video content. The design is similar to the Windows Phone-based HTC Surround, which came out back in 2010, though it’s clear HTC has gone back to the drawing board with this current device.
HTC would not be the first Android manufacturer to make a standalone multimedia player; Samsung has been selling its Galaxy Player devices for a while now. What we don’t yet know from Samsung is how well these devices are selling, and if they have been able to pull a sizable chunk of users away from Apple’s iPod Touch. With this patent application, HTC clearly hopes it will be able to create the ultimate multimedia consumption device.
Of course, HTC’s device might never see the light of day, as a patent app does not a product make. Still, we like that manufacturers are more open to challenging Apple in areas where Apple has an extremely strong user base. With Android OS found on about 50% of smartphones in the US, more and more users who are tied to Android’s ecosystem would at least consider Android for their next multimedia device. But whether or not standalone media players will continue to thrive in the era of all-in-one smartphones remains to be seen.
What do you think of HTC’s design? Would you buy a standalone HTC media device, or do you want to see HTC bring this technology into its next line of Android smartphones?