Probably one of the most interesting and controversial decisions about the HTC One series involves something as basic as button placement. Rather than use on-screen buttons like the Galaxy Nexus, the HTC Ones implement back, home, and task switcher as capacitive buttons below the display, concurrent with the official Android platform guidance that deprecates the menu button. The result is the official version of Google's vision for button placement. Official platform direction is one thing, however many real Android applications still haven't implemented the action bar and instead use a menu button for legacy reasons. The result is that HTC shows a small black action overflow bar with the menu button in many applications. At the end, you get a UI with the same vertical pixels lost on rendering on-screen buttons.


On August 2nd, AT&T started pushing out an update which bumped the Android platform version from 4.0.3 to 4.0.4. In addition to further improving WiFi connectivity and stability (a changelog is below), the update adds a new tab under settings which lets users change the function of the task switcher button. Users can now optionally choose to have the task switcher button act as a menu button, with long press activating the switcher. Choosing one of two options as shown above removes the maligned menu button entirely. This is a much needed change that remedies probably the most outstanding user complaint. 

New features:
• Additional NFC Capabilities
• More content choices in HTC Hub
• Car application update to provide access for third party music applications
• Wi-Fi connectivity improvements
• Improved Bluetooth automobile compatibility
• Increased 3G/4G connectivity
• HTC Sense improvements
• Contacts synchronization enhancements
• Network time correction

What's especially surprising is that the AT&T HTC One X (MSM8960) was first to get this update, instead of the International HTC One X (Tegra 3). We reached out to HTC who confirmed that all HTC One S and One X devices will get this update which adds the option to re-purpose the task switcher button. No word yet on other Ones or the EVO 4G LTE.

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  • psinno - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Really helps your brand perception when you treat the global HTC One X as a second rate phone.
  • LordConrad - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    I like the the menu button, it ensures that the menu is always accessed from the same location. Without a dedicated menu button, what's to keep each app from having it's menu in a different place? And how is the average consumer going to know that a short-press or long-press will change a button's behavior? The dedicated menu button is much more straightforward and avoids confusion, I'm glad my phone has one.
  • KamikaZeeFu - Sunday, August 5, 2012 - link

    Google deprecated the menu button because it wasn't obvious to the customer. Some apps didn't have any functionality for the menu button, some hide their entire functionality behind a press of the menu button.

    Ever since ICS the style guideline was for apps to have an action bar where the most common functions are located and an overflow menu if there were more funtion than screen space or for settings.

    The only confusion could be if that bar would be at the top or bottom.

    "And how is the average consumer going to know that a short-press or long-press will change a button's behavior? The dedicated menu button is much more straightforward and avoids confusion, I'm glad my phone has one."

    You set the behaviour under settings, look at the screenshot. Default behaviour is recent apps button = recent apps and nothing else.
  • Targon - Sunday, August 5, 2012 - link

    They may also be dealing with the issues with Apple by making the buttons DIFFERENT from the stupidity you see on the iPhone. The one button takes you out of what you are doing there, so with this change, they are making Android operate differently. This seems like a better approach overall since the task switcher is more important than "home" or menu for power users.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Monday, August 6, 2012 - link

    I agree with you, I like the menu button a lot. whenever I need something, I always press the menu button first. It's so much easier to touch the options popup by the menu button than looking for buttons all over the screen and try to reach for it.
    The menu button is especially nice for a larger phones. I think Google should try to keep both the menu button and the on screen buttons, I know it's redundant but it's so much better in many cases.
    Just like the back button, so much better than trying to look for a "back" button on the screen.

    This is one of the biggest thing I need to get use to with my Nexus 7 versus my SGS2. A task switcher versus a menu button.
  • dexterx - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    I sim unlocked my HTC One i eligible for upgradation??

    If I update my phone, will i be getting any problems??

    Some one please confirm..many thanks in advance..

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