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HTC's One M8 Is Beautiful -- And Four Other Tech Observations From the Trenches


HTC's new smartphone faces tough competition from Samsung.

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Last night, I attended PepCom's Digital Focus event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

It was a big showcase for companies like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) to show off their latest and greatest gear.

Press from all the big tech outlets were there, and many were eyeballing my badge to see if I was a somebody. I guess I'm not!

Here are some highlights based on what I saw:

1. At the past few tech showcase events I've been to, there was clearly an overload of smartphone cases. Thankfully, there were less of those last night. Wearable tech looks like the next category to get a big push as there were quite a few wearable devices, such as smartwatches, on display.

2. Best Buy's (NYSE:BBY) booth featured the Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) Fire TV (see my full review here), fitness bands, speakers, and... a hair straightener. Best Buy has carried personal-care items for a long time, but featuring a hair straightener at a tech convention struck me as symbolic of how tough consumer electronics retail is.

3. Predictably, people were awfully curious about Samsung's (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) Galaxy S5 smartphone, which launches today. I overheard the poor guy at the booth repeat, "No, this isn't the S5" about 6 million times. Keep your eye out Monday as we may start seeing analyst notes on initial demand. There was also a lot of interest in Samsung's smartwatches.

4. I played with the HTC (OTCMKTS:HTCXF) One M8. The hardware looks and feels really, really nice -- maybe even up there with my Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5S. HTC really has its hands full taking on the Samsung marketing juggernaut, but HTC did a fantastic job with this device. If I was to ever switch back to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, HTC would probably win my money. As a sign of the times, the One M8's camera system has a special "selfie" mode.

5. And speaking of selfies, remember the big Oscars selfie engineered by Samsung that broke the record for most re-tweets? Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) now has a painting of the picture at its headquarters.

If we've already seen the peak in social media, wouldn't that be the ultimate relic of this generation?

Twitter: @MichaelComeau

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