Verizon and HTC's latest twist: The $199 Droid DNA

The companies unveil the device during a New York event. The DNA features a 5-inch screen and other high-end specs and goes on sale November 21 for $200 with a two-year contract.

The Droid DNA features a 5-inch screen and quad-core processor. Sarah Tew/CNET
Verizon and HTC unveiled a new device that the two hope will appeal to customers during the holiday season, while helping to reverse HTC's floundering fortunes.

The phone, the Droid DNA, sports a 5-inch screen, putting it more in the "phablet" category with Samsung's Galaxy Note. It runs on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and includes a boatload of powerful features, including a Super LCD 3 display with 440 pixels per inch, capable of playing 1080p HD video.

HTC noted the screen rivals traditional HDTVs, while the pixel density is among the highest available on any smartphone. The iPhone 5's Retina display, for example, is 326 pixels per inch.

The device runs on a quad-core, 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, with 4G LTE integrated on the same piece of silicon as the application processor. Having one chip instead of two improves battery life.

The phone is also capable of wireless charging and full HD video chat. The device has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1-megapixel camera in the front. HTC noted its phone features HTC ImageSense and HTC ImageChip to create faster image processing and better quality photos, as well as a quick-launch camera option.

The Droid DNA also has Beats audio and two amplifiers, one for headphone and one for speaker. And it's equipped with near-field communications technology to share music and other content by tapping other NFC-enabled devices.

Droid DNA goes on sale on November 21 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. Pre-sales begin today. The phone is available exclusively through Verizon.

HTC and Verizon unveiled the Droid DNA today during a New York event. Sarah Tew/CNET
The hefty specs should appeal to customers looking for alternatives to the latest gadgets from Samsung and Apple during the holiday season. For HTC, it's pretty important that they do.

The Taiwanese handset maker really needs a hit phone. Previously the darling of the smartphone world, HTC has been having a tough time lately. Samsung and Apple are dominating the industry's profits and market share, leaving little for HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and other handset vendors. HTC also has faced litigation, though it reached a settlement with Apple a few days ago.

The company has said it plans to go bolder with its messaging to consumers and the media, relying less on joint marketing campaigns with the carriers and standing more independently to tell the HTC story. It also has said it would try to generate buzz through social media and by seeing out influential celebrities and "superfans" for endorsements. So far, it's unclear whether such steps are paying off.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. PT and again at 9:05 a.m. PTwith additional details about the phone.

 

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