Imentioned in my last article that the HTC U11 was shaping up to be a pretty solid phone but a few things were holding it back that were directly tied to its software. While my customization article is still in the works, it does look like HTC is taking heed to some of the issues that plague the U11 and fixing them in future updates.
XDA forum member, and HTC insider, Hamdir recently mentioned in the ongoing U11 thread that a few awesome updates are headed towards U11 owners shortly, and these updates tick a few issues off my checklist.
The first issue is with the color calibration of the display. While the display is not quite as eye searing as the Galaxy S8 can be on its default setting, it is clearly ramped up in comparison to sRGB and what I prefer. There is an sRGB setting in developer mode, but it is disabled making you stuck with the default setup unless you make use of a custom rom and kernel. Fortunately though, it appears HTC is set to fix this in a future update by enabling a display setting toggle through the main settings menu like many other devices on the market.
Secondly, I had a few issues with the camera, namely that it was laggy when opened, has near unacceptable shutter delays, and it is missing 1080p60 shooting modes. Squashing lag, HTC pushed out the 1.16.xxx.x update starting with the dual sim model that fixes much of the shutter lag that the phone, making launching the camera and snapping a photo a more reliable and quicker process. While this update still has yet to make it to the US or UK models, it likely will do so in the coming weeks. Hamdir is also happy to report that in another, even further out update, 1080p60 looks to finally arrive for the U11. In an update that was just pushed to HTC software testers the phone will finally join its other flagship competitors in offering the buttery smooth frame rate for video recording. While this update is still a few weeks to months away, it is really nice to see HTC addresing shortcomings and enhancing updates.
Not all is rosy though, as most most models are still lagging behind on security updates with my model still sitting on an April security patch. This isn’t just borderline unacceptable, this is totally unacceptable. While it is understood that companies want to focus on software enhancements, these should not be done at the expense of security. Running one, maybe two months behind can be argued away, however, when you start falling 3 months behind there is a problem.
Unfortunately, this is not just a problem affecting HTC U11 owners, as HTC 10 owners have been frequently complaining about the lack of timely updates, and for good reason. Some variants of the HTC 10 have not seen an update since March. The argument can be made that the HTC 10 was a very poor selling phone, but that still does not absolve HTC of their responsibility to providing timely updates, much like OnePlus cannot be given a pass for their treatment of the OnePlus 2 owners, and HTC has also broken update promises on devices where updates were a selling point.
HTC just posted that their revenue was up 8% compared to 2016, and was over 50% better than May and is headed in the right direction. Things are looking up for the struggling company but they need to continue focusing on the whole experience to ensure they maintain their current customers and continue to gain new ones. As security updates become more of a mainstream item, some companies that rely on MDM (Mobile Device Management) tools are requiring current security patches to allow email or network access. This can be a huge detractor for customers who buy a phone only to find out they cannot use it like they want to. While this market is small, it is still an unnecessary issue. HTC is not the only company that is doing this, but we are talking about HTC here and they need to fix this update situation, period.
So as I mentioned earlier the U11 is already one of my favorite phones of the year and with a few improvements it will quickly close the gap. Keep in mind though, that these updates could be removed or canceled prior to release, so take it as a near possibility and remember that anything could change at any time. Either way, I eagerly look forward to some of these updates as they appear to be fixing some of my nagging issues with the phone.
Correction (7/8 @ 2pm et): The original article mentioned that the HTC 10 has not received an update since January, that was incorrect. Most variants of the HTC are on various stages of security patches from March through May. The article was since updated.