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

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It hasn’t released a competing flagship 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 major attempt to capitalize on the so-called metaverse. In the UK it is listed at £399 and will ship on August 1.

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

There’s some NFT functionality here too, with HTC’s Taiwanese site advertising that the phone includes a digital wallet to manage crypto assets, and comes with a free NFT. However, this seems to vary by market as similar language is not present in the marketing materials on the UK site.

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

Internally, it is powered by a Snapdragon 695 processor, with 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a 4,520 mAh battery. It supports wireless and reverse wireless charging, runs on Android 12 and has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Desire 22 Pro is available in 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 the year after with the more affordable Exodus 1S. But neither phone seems to have reversed HTC’s smartphone fortune. The company’s market share has reportedly plummeted to less than half a percent in 2018, the same year it sold much of its smartphone talent to Google. Today, HTC sells so few smartphones that it doesn’t register publicly smartphone market part followers.

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