Just came back from Bangkok to attend the first-ever Frequencies Asia which is presented by HTC. The gathering was attended by 3 dozen media and tech bloggers from around South Asia.
The event allowed us to interact with key people from HTC (the designers and engineers) as well as their partners (Qualcomm). There was also time to share ideas and insights among participants/delegates which is totally different from the regular media events we normally attend.
In one of the sessions, the lead designer of the HTC One showed us the piece of aluminum slab used to laser-cut the unibody chassis of the handset.
They start off with a thick slab of aluminum subjected under a laser cutter for several hours — first, carving the curved back panel of the aluminum alloy, carving out the interiors, and then finally polishing the exterior to give it a smooth finish.
Notice that prior to the finish, the color and glow of the aluminum is very different from the finished product. For the black variant of the HTC One, they had to anodize the surface to give it that chrome look (similar to the One S before).
It’s worth noting that the designer had to consult the antenna engineer first if the unibody design will work after all the radio and wiring are put in place. the decision was to make the body itself part of the antenna, then use some polycarbonate material to provide opening at the back of the body for the radio signals to pass thru.
Only after seeing this design will you really appreciate the time and effort put into making the design of the HTC One. The only other smartphone manufacturer than has been able to do this on a massive scale is Apple (with the iPhone 5).