HTC U Play wants to make you use AI for less


The HTC U Play is the smaller than the new HTC U Ultra, but we wouldn’t call it the runt. It’s meant to be a more affordable version of HTC’s new line of phones that use AI, or artificial intelligence, software to try giving you a more streamlined experience.

In particular, it declutters your notifications pane by putting only the alerts you care about on a secondary screen at the top of the phone. How well does it work? Well, we don’t know yet. We didn’t get enough time to set it up and try it out, which is especially important for a phone that says it’ll learn over time.

But we do know that this glass phone — which comes in shimmering white, pink, blue and black — is the less expensive, more midrange alternative to the flagship U Ultra. For instance, although its 16-megapixel camera sounds heftier than the U Ultra’s 12-megapixel “Ultrapbixel” shooter, HTC says that the Ultra’s camera will take the crisper photos of the two.

The U Ultra and U Play use the same 2-inch strip of screen to display alerts, and also have the same AI software running on top of Android 7.0.

You can preorder the phone in select markets starting January 12. It’ll cost less than the flagship Ultra, but we don’t have pricing just yet. We’ll update as soon as we do!

Hardware specs
5.2-inch screen (1,920×1,080 pixels)
2-inch notifications screen (swipable)
16-megapixel front and rear cameras
Octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor
32GB and 64GB options (3/4GB RAM)
Up to 2T microSD card
2,500mAh battery
Fingerprint sensor with NFC
Dual-SIM optional
Colors: Ice white, sapphire blue, cosmetic pink, brilliant black