Mar 14 AT 8:36 AM Nick Gray 32 Comments

A closer look at the micro arc oxidation treatment of the HTC One S


HTC has been experimenting with various materials to give their handsets a unique look and feel since the introduction of the HTC Hero. They started with a simple Teflon coating to give the handset a soft-touch feel which eliminated smudges and finger prints and then moved on to a uni-body aluminum shell which encased the handsets components in a single piece of crafted aluminum.

The latest evolution in HTC’s choice of design materials was unveiled at Mobile World Congress with the HTC One S. ItĀ features aircraft 6,000 series aluminum which is treated with micro arc oxidation by blasting it with 10,000 volts of energy. This gives the metal a ceramic feel and causes it to become five times harder (that’s three times stronger than stainless steel).

The shell of the HTC One S is so durable that HTC claims that it does not even need a protective case. While most other OEMs are still pushing out Android phones which are encased in cheap plastics, HTC is paying attention to the details and delivering unique devices which are a lot more than a screen and a dual-core processor.

Do you think other OEMs should pay as much attention to the production material used on their devices as HTC does?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • alexanderharri3

    Doesn’t need case?
    So this super strong back also protects the glass from breaking on impact on bottom/front face where a case can be that needed buffer?

    While it’s nice the back cover doesn’t need….well covering. The front is still made of glass. (Bravo for keeping back cover tech moving forward….and away from iGlass.)

    • Alan Reboli

      You read my mind. I have never said to myself “Man, my case needs super protection” Last time I dropped my phone it wasn’t my case that suffered, twas the glass that case across an ill fate.

    • aranea

      Isn’t gorilla glass almost indestructible? I dropped my atrix several times without a case. The plastic back case have a crack and quite many scracthes on it yet the glass is in mint condition (knock on the wood). So I love what HTC has done with the one series.

  • David Gomez

    looks really cool I don’t like using covers and I am usually careful with my phone so I don’t need one but it is nice to know that this will give it better protection

  • Paul

    I love the HTC One s BUT HTC is preventing me from buying this phone because of the Very low 16gb storage. 32gb should be the minimum on a high end phone like this, & I do not what the One X because of the Massive phone detentions.

    • ranwanimator

      Do you mean dimensions?

      • Lord Hasan

        In another dimension she meant dimension. But in this case she meant detention lol

  • Mikel

    Great going HTC!! Now we need a new EVO made with this great stuff! I think every manufacturer should be improving their products. Glad to see HTC stepping up their game.

  • KennyL

    great tech but why don’t you put this on your top end phone instead of the mid-range one?

    • dVyper

      I read someone on engadget say that this case can hinder NFC which the X has.

      • Nick Gray

        You are correct, the aluminum uni-body shell interferes with all redio signals which is why HTC has a few openings around the top and bottom where they house all the antennas.

  • tao.lviv

    Cell phone in protective case it’s like a hot chick in winter coat =)

    I hate cases, and I’m not very careful when carrying my phone – so this new aluminum material is just perfect for me.

  • Logan Edwards

    Love them or hate them, this is one of the reasons Apple does well with their products: scrutinized design and choice of quality materials for their products, e.g., the unibody macbook pro that is milled out of aluminum.

    I am very happy that HTC is moving forward with higher quality design and better use of materials. This may be enough to push me towards an HTC device in the future (with the addition of the hi-res screen, etc..).

    I feel that most tech manufacturers tend to skimp on materials in order to boost their profit margin.

    • Tangent

      What I find odd is how while Apple is a great example for using tough materials on their macbook pro, the iPhone seems to be the polar opposite. Instead of using a nice durable aluminum, they go with shiny glass front and back. I can’t say for sure if it’s due to materials or clumsy users, but I’ve seen *way* more iPhones with cracked glass front and/or back than I’ve ever seen damaged non-iPhone phones…

    • TBash

      So is glass that shatters from a 2 foot drop a design feature or what? because out of the 15 or so Iphones at my work at least 5 of them have all kinds of lovley spider cracks in the glass from not too high a drop with cases on. And not sure what they mean by other OEMS Motorola has been using quality materials in there phones for quite some time.

  • Joel

    Just like how some people still feel like getting a screen protector for Guerilla Glass, no matter how much tech you put into making a durable casing, some will still go out and buy a case for it,

    I like what HTC is doing, but im gonna go along with the old saying: “Its whats on the inside that counts.”

    • WlfHart

      Everything counts, some parts are just weighted more than others. Personally I applaud them for their creativity and giving people a more comfortable option of going sans case. Though I do agree the insides could use a little more storage for us cloud-phobic folk.

  • amgala

    Wow, awesome work HTC! It’s always nice to see innovation which will improve future devices!

  • spazby

    never had a case for a phone… don’t like them, they take away too much…

  • Max.Steel

    I hate using cases. They often make the phone bulky and unattractive. I used one on my G2 when I first got it and took it off the next day. I have never used a case since then and my phone still looks brand new except for the back cover wearing out a bit.

  • donger

    Wow, I always liked the shape and form factor of this phone, reminds me of my nexus one.

  • Nathan D.

    There is no competition when it comes to handset quality with HTC and there android phone. The closes thing that competes with HTC is the droid razor with it’s Kevlar back but other then that other OEM uses plastic.

  • kwills88

    To be honest, I rather they pay more attention to software than hardware, while having a phone with a really great build is always a plus, if it’s software holds it back, then the phone will just be eye candy from a distance. Though, I’ve always love HTC designs.

    • professandobey

      Agreed, but it seems HTC is working on their software with Sense 4. I personally demand vanilla Android, but I see why manufacturers put skins on, and applaud their efforts to get it right.

  • Tech Freak UK

    Is this only available on the One S? It’d be a shame if it is, as it looks like a great feature and a strong USP.

  • bittunas

    If it is five times stronger than stainless steel then it is how much stronger than an IPHONE 4$..
    Ans :- 50 times.. :P

  • xsynth

    I would love for more manufacturers to pay greater attention to the build quality. Having something like that for the back of my phone would be great.

    I’ve always put a case on my android phones (the clear sticker ‘shields’ as they basically add no size and looks like there’s no case) because I don’t like to get the back all scratched up just from putting it down on surfaces and having it move/slide around.

  • joogleme16

    I would have to say yes. As far a long as mobile technology has come, it’s a surprise that the durability hasn’t advanced as much as the internal workings have. I commended HTC. I have always admired how dedicated to detail they have been with their products. It’s about time a smart phone can be presented to be durable enough to be used without a case.

  • Matt Yearian

    Very neat, I think I’m gonna wait for this to come out on Sprint. I was going to get the Galaxy Nexus phone, but from all of the issues I’ve heard with it don’t think thats a good idea anymore. This phone seems to be packed full of great features. I just hope it comes out within a reasonable time frame.

  • Broadband Expert

    Good choice of material especially for those who can’t take care of their mobile phones, accidents really happen! Durability and quality worth it!

  • Chris

    I love that I don’t need to use a case and reading up on this MAO/PEO tech, ( seem to be the leaders) I like that it’s grown from the aluminium so it doesn’t scratch or scuff and it’s harder than stainless steel, glass, sand etc. Brilliant!
    I wish all the other phone companies were using this stuff because my iPhone could do with it!

  • KK

    I find the following link with Micro-arc Oxidation technique and they also can do black Ceramic:

    It seems MAO has a number of applications