If it walks like a flagship, and quacks like a flagship...that doesn't make it so. At least that's the case at HTC, where the upcoming HTC Butterfly S (and expected successor to the Droid DNA in the U.S.A.) holds all the raw numbers over the HTC One but will not be stealing its place as HTC's premier handset.
The Butterfly S features a faster 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor than the HTC One, a 5-inch 1080p screen (with newer Super LCD 3 and Gorilla Glass 3), a microSD expansion slot, a huge 3,200mAh battery, plus all the new HTC features like BoomSound speakers, BlinkFeed, Sense TV, and the rest.
Apart from the HTC One's higher-PPI screen and the all-metal chassis, compared with the Butterfly's car-paint-finished plastic casing, there isn't a spec the HTC One is stronger on. On matters of pure specifications most might argue the Butterfly S is the strongest phone in HTC's lineup. So why doesn't it become the new flagship?
At HTC's Frequencies Asia event in Bangkok on Wednesday, Justin Zhang, head of product portfolio, South Asia, for HTC, said this is a reasonable question but HTC feels comfortable that the HTC One is still very much the flagship in the company lineup.
"It isn't just about specs anymore, it's about design and experience. Consumers want different things," Zhang said. "Some are looking for the best thing out there, some are following other trends. Then there are the enthusiasts who know what they want. For them it's the screen, or it's battery life. The One is still our flagship phone, but the Butterfly had its own success and we heard a lot of its fans saying they'd really love to see all the new HTC One features in a Butterfly, so we are giving them that."
"Interestingly we always thought the Butterfly would attract the 'high-end geeks'," Zhang said. "That's who we thought it was for. But it turned out the Butterfly has been more successful with female consumers than ever for us. Because they love the design."
HTC also confirmed the Butterfly S will be released in 4G versions in the regions that support such an option. The original Droid DNA was LTE-capable, so this confirmation should come as no surprise in the U.S. market.
The Butterfly's mixed global branding is also likely to play a role in keeping the One on top, as well as the One's metal unibody enclosure as a standout signature design choice. HTC earlier confirmed it will continue to use and refine its metal unibody production process introduced for the HTC One in future phone designs.