12
Apr
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Update: According to The Verge, HTC has indicated that it's "aware of the reports," and is currently investigating the situation. Stay tuned for further info.

Update 2: Turns out that HTC is ready to make good on this issue, but only by telling customers to return their chipped phone to the store from which it was purchased and get a replacement. If, however, you'd rather send it off to HTC to be repaired, that's always an option. Below is HTC's official statement on the matter.

HTC is committed to delivering a high quality product and great experience for all our customers. There have been a few, isolated reports of this issue. The finish on the One S was laboratory tested as being at a hardness similar to ceramic. While that's hard, it doesn't mean it's impossible to damage. Regardless, HTC takes quality very seriously and are providing all customers with an immediate fix and we are implementing some small changes to ensure customers do not experience this issue in the future.

Could it be that HTC's Micro-Arc Oxidation process isn't all it's cracked up to be? The process, which HTC promoted in a video last month, involves running 10,000 volts of energy through aircraft-grade aluminum, creating a thin ceramic surface, and resulting in a body that's 5x stronger than aerospace aluminum and 3x stronger than stainless steel. HTC boasted that this process would essentially eliminate the need for any sort of protective case, but some users are beginning to second-guess the claim.

XDA user enlan recently opened a thread containing photos of a One S with rather unsightly damage near the sharp top edge of the device, causing several other users to chime in, either confirming that their devices had similar damage or questioning how HTC could make such an oversight.

IMAG0771 Untitled-5

Photos courtesy of XDA users enlan and robban87, respectively.

While it hasn't been confirmed that the issue is due to a production flaw related to the micro-arc oxidation process, many users suggest that perhaps the ceramic surface is simply unable to "hold on" to the aluminum body, either when dropped or through normal contact with other objects. From user reports, it would seem that only the black version of the One S is affected, as the grey/silver version does not undergo the same MAO process as its counterpart.

HTC, meanwhile, is remaining silent, and has not responded to our attempts to reach out.

Of course, we'll be here to update you on any word from HTC or further developments. In the meantime, let us know if you've experienced chipping issues with your One S by voting in the poll below.

Is your HTC One S chipping?

View Results

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Source: XDA

Thanks, Alex!

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Brendon

    Well you could always sand it down and be lefts with beautiful metal

    • 18in

      mmm brushed aluminum , always nice at sight

    • Pauloselhombre

      If someone could de a how to video on the process I would genuinely give it a shot. Not that I need hand-holding on how to sand something, rather I'd like to see if it's actually possible to get at all of the coating without damaging the edges of the screen, camera lens, etc before committing to it.

  • http://nope Double

    I know what the one S is, but I also like clicking things. WHAT DO I DO!!?!?11!!one!1

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Guess you've got yourself a dilemma.

    • protozeloz

      Houston we have a problem

  • http://blog.initialdraft.com Daniel

    Ufff... a "new" phone with that marks already?... Dont like it!!!

    If I was to buy this phone, then I'll go directly to the grey/silver :-S

  • whargharbl

    Looks like the exact same sort of damage I have on my black HTC Legend, which has an aluminum unibody housing with a black coating.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      We expect a case made of something "5x stronger than aerospace aluminum, and 3x stronger than stainless steel, theoretically eliminating the need for a protective case" to not just chip away after a week.

      • jjrudey

        HTC has some explaining to do. Looks as if their special coating is weaker than plastic.

  • Awesome Sauce

    wow, maybe sprint made the right choice after all. take ur fancy ceramic and shove it, we want the same ol' plastic!

  • Jared E

    Haha, 8!% said they didn't know what the One S was. I think the survey failed XD

    • Matt

      Haha. It was really the only option for people who don't have the One S and want to click something.

  • jeff donuts

    too many people take this soo seriously. omfg big deal it has some scratches. there gonna happen get over it. i think im just gonna stop reading the comments from now on cuz the people are sooooo f@cking ridiculous these days. scratches,screen size,resolution,size,form factor,battery, complaints from everything.i honestly dont give a f2ck about. i mean i do but not sooo serious like the hardcore fanboys. im very satisfied with my gs2 and i have zero complaints about it.

    • Sam

      are you 12 or something?

      • Anjie

        what does loving gs2 have to do with scratches? Scratch places that are visible to you and you'll be complaining. We want our money for it's worth

    • Jaz

      What are you talking about? The point here is that a phone that was said to be scratch resistant is getting chips only within weeks of use. It took almost 2 months before my evo3d showed some paint chips from wear. This is the reason why people are complaining. If you don't like what you are reading then don't read it. Duh!
      Last time I checked this was a site that helped out each other by commenting. Don't like it then leave.

    • redeux

      I have a crappy lg optimus v and after a year it still has no scratches like the ones shown. I take pretty good care of my phones but have managed to drop this one 2-3 times. Regardless, I'd be pretty ticked if I had the One S which is supposed to be scratch resistant and it's showing signs of wear before a crappy phone that cost $100 without contract.

  • TOMMMMMM

    This is interesting, I have the EVO 3D and the paint is chipping off the front bezel (not the back plastic part) without me ever roughing up my phone. I'm not sure if its actual ceramic that is chipping off or if it's the pain like on my 3D.

  • jerry

    HTC never ceases to amaze me at failing

  • Sal

    I can't believe 9 people already dropped it...smh

  • http://raincitybadger.com Steven Schwartz

    What is also going on is people are complainers royale now. It is almost a hive bitching mentality. A few people have a issue then everyone has the same issue. They nit pick everything and nothing is good enough. Give HTC a chance to find out if this is a issue. How many people really dropped it hard and are saying, "I did nothing it just chipped" We are moving to a moaning entitlement society now and it is shocking. While I am sure there are batches that are may have flaws the whole line is not cursed. I also blame blogs for fanning these flames.

    • Andy

      doesnt sound like its 3x stronger than stainless steel though....unless they all whacked it with a sledge hammer?? who would do that? i guess like you say, time will tell. but as for bitching, i think most folk just want what they are buying. we dont want manufacturers to start making wild claims i.e a super 6 day battery in this phone hmmm just 18 hours.....oh stop whining! hmm ok

  • Jastag

    This is yet ANOTHER example of the BS HTC build quality. How is it that people still think that HTC has even decent build quality?

    More importantly, how is it that HTC never encountered this problem while the phone was being "tested"

    These manufacturers dont even test these handsets in real life situations before they release them.

  • http://raincitybadger.com Steven Schwartz

    This is also why I do not believe all this marketing crap. Yes people want what they pay for but also buyer beware, companies have always made wild claims about products, does not mean we should all believe them. Phones will scratch and dent, they are not magic. And people will drop a device just right as to exploit a weakness that the manufacturer could not test. So it goes to both to own up to consumers for having unreasonable expectations and vendors for creating marketing claims. Been going on for ages they said the Titanic could not sink.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      In my opinion, the fact that manufacturers make wild claims about devices doesn't absolve them of accountability when something appears to go wrong.

      As for exploiting an untestable weakness, I'm not sure there is such a thing.

      Consumers will continue to expect what manufacturers promise because the manufacturers promise it. I could find very little purpose in advertising anything if the expectation was that consumers would not believe it.

    • Mike

      Bottom line is they touted the strength of this process as a feature of the phone. Nobody should make promises they cannot keep, and if they don't keep them they should have to pay the consequences. False advertising is illegal plain and simple.
      Now, we don't know if the process really is flawed, only time will tell but if HTC's process isn't at least 3x stronger than stainless steal they shouldn't advertise it as so.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

        You don't know what false advertising is. False Advertising (in the legal sense), put very simply, is claiming a product includes a feature it doesn't or substantially different qualities (like claiming there's 2 gigs of ram when there's only a gig). This is just an example of over-promising the capabilities of a feature, similar to saying a phone will last 2 days on a charge, but in the real world it probably only makes it 12 hours. This is a gaff for HTC, sorta like the iPhone 4 "Antenna Gate" thing about 2 years ago.

        I haven't read the complaints, but I get a really strong feeling that the majority of complaints are coming from people who wanted to 'test' the performance of MAO and a few probably came from the really clumsy or rough users. I don't recall the precise claims HTC made, but I believe they were promising MAO would be extremely scratch resistant, I don't remember claims that it was impervious to severe trauma from drops on hard surfaces.

        Frankly speaking, no matter what surface you're talking about (anything from plastic all the way to MAO), if the phone is taking enough of a strike that it's chipping the surface, you're treating your phone too rough. Notice, I'm not talking about scratches, which easily happen by just having sand or keys in a pocket. Just because the body/case of a phone is extremely strong doesn't mean the internals or the screen are indestructible from a fall or being hit.

        One disclaimer, I retract virtually everything I've said IF people are buying this phone and they are getting body's that are already cracked/flawed and the surface is basically falling off or can be rubbed away. :)

  • Chich

    You are all talking about strength as an absolute measure. You have to talk about the type of strength. The ceramic will of course be extremely hard and it's compressive strength would be huge. But the fracture toughness or brittleness would be would be total crap, especially when the layer is so thin. SO, without having done any research into the specific process (although its most likely just some aluminium oxide) i would say HTC has tried to market the process as a miracle when in fact, it's pretty commonplace. But he process does exactly what it should and the results are exactly as expected IN ALL CASES.

    • larrygeary

      Yes, exactly. A diamond can support tons of weight, yet a man with a chisel and mallet can split it in half. Ceramics are strong, but brittle. This is an example of the use of the wrong material for a job. They should have consulted Kyocera (Kyoto Ceramics); they know everything there is to know about ceramics, and could have told them this wouldn't work.

      Owners will either have to exchange for one without the coating, or just suck it up and buy a $9.00 case.

  • AC

    The hell, HTC? You didn't learn from last time? Everyone I know with a Thunderbolt, myself included, has a filmy layer peeling off of their kickstand.

    • Dami

      I can attest to this.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    HTC has issued a statement that they're looking into it.

  • James Hoffman

    Not really surprising that it cracks. You have to consider the stress concentration factors present on the edges combined with the fact that ceramics are far more brittle than metals and plastics. Just because its five times harder than steel doesn't mean it has endurance performance.

  • bobomb

    Again HTC? WTF?? We had a similar problem with the Hero. How the bloody hell does this kind of thing happen? Is nobody in charge of QC over there?

    Oh well, this and other things HTC is going in the wrong direction with have influenced me to buy Samsung this time.

    Maybe they'll bring it around, I hope so. I used to really like HTC, and still want to.

  • mnl87

    People who honestly thought the micro-arc oxidation would truly offer more durability are a bit naive in my opinion. The fact that the other variant of the one s does not offer the coating while being priced equally already gives away that all of this is simply marketing.

    • larrygeary

      Just as the Kevlar backing on the Droid RAZR doesn't make it bullet proof. It's an applique that serves as an aesthetic design element, not a structural component.

    • Pauloselhombre

      The problem isn't really that people genuinely believe that the process would make the phone more durable. The problem, in the UK at least, is that if you want to get this phone on any of the major networks you're stuck with whichever version they've chosen to stock. In many cases this is the black model with the chipping issue. 

  • toshistation

    If they really wanted it to be indestructible, they should've just made the casing out of Nokia 3310's.

  • skinien

    It's unfortunate that there seems to be an issue. But, I bet my paycheck HTC won't come back and say that the users are holding it wrong.

  • gmquinto

    Same. When I first got my Thunderbolt I thought the kickstand was a pretty cool feature. Turns out i've pretty much never used it so it is basically just a really bad looking part of my phone.

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