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HTC’s smartphone division limps on with metaverse-focused Desire 22 Pro

It hasn’t released a competitive flagship device in years, but HTC’s smartphone division isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. Today it announced the HTC Desire 22 Pro, a follow-up to last year’s HTC Desire 21 Pro, and the company’s big attempt at capitalizing on the so-called metaverse. In the UK, it’s listed at £399 and will ship on August 1st.

There are a couple of different aspects to the phone’s metaverse functionality. To start with, it’s designed to be the “perfect companion” to HTC’s recently announced Vive Flow VR headset and used to access Viverse, HTC’s take on the metaverse. The headset is designed to work with any Android phone, though, so it’s not entirely clear what the Desire 22 Pro offers that isn’t available elsewhere.

There’s also some NFT functionality here, with HTC’s Taiwanese site advertising that the phone includes a digital wallet to manage crypto assets, and comes with a free NFT. This appears to vary by market, however, since similar language is not present in the marketing materials on its UK site.

Elsewhere, the Desire 22 Pro’s specs are thoroughly midrange. It’s got a 6.6-inch 1080p display with a high 120Hz refresh rate, and a hole-punch notch in its top left containing a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Around back there are three rear cameras, a 64-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

Internally it’s powered by a Snapdragon 695 processor, with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a 4,520mAh battery. It supports wireless and reverse wireless charging, runs Android 12, and has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Desire 22 Pro comes in either black or gold.

The approach is very reminiscent of HTC’s previous blockchain-powered smartphone, the Exodus 1, which it released in 2018, and followed up with the more affordable Exodus 1S the following year. But neither phone appears to have reversed HTC’s smartphone fortunes. The company’s market share reportedly plummeted to less than half a percent in 2018, the same year it sold much of its smartphone talent to Google. Nowadays, HTC sells so few smartphones that it doesn’t register on public smartphone market share trackers.

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