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InBrief
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HTC loses Jason Mackenzie, a longtime top-level executive

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HTC: We are not building an Android Wear watch (at least, not anymore)

A quote from a high-level HTC executive is circulating this morning categorically denying that the company is building an Android Wear smartwatch, despite a leak of what very much looks like an HTC / Under Armour Android Wear smartwatch last week. So, what do we believe? Well, after reaching out to HTC, they confirmed to us that the quote - "we're not going to have an Android watch" - is accurate. I would take that as the end of discussion on the matter: No HTC Android Wear smartwatch is happening.

Further, speaking to an unnamed source, we've learned that the Under Armour watch pictured above is actually a very old prototype, not something the company is currently working on, and probably hasn't worked on in a long time.

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More pictures of HTC's Android Wear smartwatch emerge

HTC's Android Wear watch, codenamed Halfbeak, leaked back in October on Chinese social network Weibo. Since then, we haven't heard a peep from the Taiwanese company regarding the watch. Nevertheless, a bucketload of new photos have popped up, again on Weibo, showing the watch in all its glory.

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[Update: RUU file] HTC's One A9 is finally getting its Nougat update tonight

HTC has been sort of falling apart lately. While the 10 was a solid improvement over the last year's M9, the A9s was a downgraded and even more iPhone-inspired version of the A9, and the recently-announced U Ultra is already somewhat doomed thanks to its lack of a headphone jack, very small battery, limited availability, and ambitious price tag. In the latest installment of the saga, the mid-range One A9 is just now receiving Android 7.0 Nougat.

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Unlocked HTC 10 and One M9 in Europe will receive Nougat in the next two weeks, possibly carrier models too

The HTC 10 was released early last year to mostly positive reviews, minus the high price tag, and caused us to give HTC the "Most Improved OEM" award for 2016. The Nougat rollout for the unlocked HTC 10 in the US started last month, but users across the pond will have to wait a little longer. Graham Wheeler, Product and Service Director for HTC EMEA, announced that the unlocked HTC 10 and One M9 in Europe will receive Nougat in the next two weeks.

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[Because that doesn't sound ridiculous] HTC has an app to update the firmware of its USB-C to 3.5mm adapter

What was wrong with 3.5mm audio jacks? They have been standard for many years, they worked reliably, and you could find tons of headphones that supported them. But no, companies have to sometimes invent reasons to change things around and here we are with the 3.5mm jack mysteriously disappearing from modern smartphones to be replaced by USB-C digital audio. Yes, I know that size constraints matter, but so far, the released phones with no jack don't make a good case for that argument and don't provide any new hardware that uses the additional empty space favorably. And for the record, I am ranting even though I use Bluetooth headsets 99% of the time; I just like having the 3.5mm plug option for that 1%.

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There will probably be no HTC 11

During my briefing for the new HTC U Play and U Ultra last week, a point of discussion around "flagships" came up during the presentation. HTC wants to send the message that U is now the premiere brand for the company, and that U is where HTC's premiere products will be found.

There was an interruption by an HTC rep, something along the lines of "we won't say there will be no HTC 11" (I'm paraphrasing here - this isn't a directly attributable quote), but the HTC executive making the presentation then responded with something that basically worked out to "well, we kind of are saying that." There was a pause, and the presentation moved on.

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Hands-on with the HTC U Play and U Ultra: I am confUsed

Last week at CES, I had a chance to spend some time with the new phones from HTC, the U Play and U Ultra. You already know the details on these phones (check out our post here), so I'm more interested in the question of what, if anything, makes them worthy of your attention.

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The HTC U Ultra and U Play showcase a new design direction, both launching in early 2017

HTC has been lagging behind its competitors for years, despite some fantastic hardware and critical acclaim. So for 2017 the company is going in a completely new design direction, dumping the aluminum unibody phones it's become known for and shifting to a more generic glass front and back. The first products displaying this new direction are the HTC U Ultra, the new flagship phone, and the U Play, a mid-range model. They'll both go on sale later this year.

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Unannounced HTC 'Ocean Note' Leaks with glass frame and secondary ticker display

HTC is looking for a hit after the mediocre performance of its 2016 lineup. It scored the contract to manufacture the Pixel, but that doesn't do much to help its flagging brand. The Ocean Note (a code name) looks to be HTC's next attempt to get people interested in its devices again. Photos of the device have leaked (from the depths of Weibo), and it has some traits you'll find very familiar.

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