Windows and HTC jump into jumbo phonesThe bulky HTC One Max goes up against Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, larger Windows phones are on the way with latest update, and Sonos' new speaker includes a free network bridge.
-It is the season for larger smartphones. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. HTC has revealed its latest supersized phone, the HTC One Max. It's a smartphone with a high-def 5.9-inch screen, and just like the rumors foretold, it has a fingerprint scanner on the back. You can use that scanner to unlock the phone or open apps. This model is also different because you can remove the back plate to add a micro-SD card to expand the storage, but you won't be able to access the battery to replace it. If you want a large phone and you're between the Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max, well, when you just compare hardware specs, the Note 3 wins. The One Max has an older, slightly slower processor, and its camera is good, but it was by a different measurement than megapixels. It uses a branding term called ultrapixels. The Note is also a little smaller, thinner, and lighter, and it comes with a stylus. HTC's extra large phone goes on sale in the UK within the next couple of weeks. For the US, it will be sold at Sprint and Verizon, but it may not arrive until November. Larger screens are the trend these days, so much so that Microsoft updated its Windows Phone 8 operating system to work with phones that have screen sizes between 5 and 7 inches, and it would show an additional column and several more rows on the start screen. There are no Windows Phone 8 devices of that size yet, but we could see one in a week. The rumored 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520 is expected to be announced at an event in Abu Dhabi on October 22. If you already own a Windows 8 phone, you also get a few perks from the update including task switching, a driving mode, and the ability to assign a unique tone alert to a specific contact. The update will roll out in the coming weeks and months to every Windows Phone 8 device. Moving from smartphones to speakers, wireless speakers are a growing category and if you're in the market for a multi-room speaker, check out CNET's review of the Sonos Play 1, which has been awarded an Editor's Choice for it's category. It's a stylish and well-made speaker for $200 and it plays music from your personal library as well as some services like Amazon Cloud, SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio, but it's not Bluetooth. It's a little more complicated because it creates its own wireless network, and Sonos is throwing in its $50 bridge device for free to get you started. It doesn't play every type of streaming service so if you primarily use Google Music All Access, iTunes Radio, or Xbox Music, then you're better off getting a Bluetooth speaker. That's your tech news update, but you can get more details at CNET.com/update from our studios in New York. I'm Bridget Carey.