Why HTC’s clock always says 10:08

May 22, 2012

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Long-time Android fans and HTC aficionados have probably noticed that in HTC's advertisements and press shots, their distinctive clock widget always shows 10:08. Why is this? Is it because of some connection with a founder's birthday? The moon landing? A Masonic ritual? Well, no: the real reason is much more ordinary, if somewhat obscure. HTC's official blog clues us in on why.

See, 10:08 is the time at which the maximum number of cells on a digital 12-hour clock (like the one you've probably got sitting next to your bed) are lit up. Of course "88:88" would be ideal, but since the clock is constrained to real time and most of them only have two cells for the first hour position, 10:08 is as full as the cells get. Of course, modern touchscreens aren't limited to this, so why keep the trend going? HTC doesn't say this in their post, but it probably goes back to the original HTC Touch running Windows Mobile 6, way back in 2007. The TouchFLO interface introduced in this model eventually became the Sense UI we know today. You can see the digital-style clock in the Wikipedia photo below:

Wikipedia also tells us that 10:08 (or something close to it) has been a popular position for analog clocks and watches in marketing materials for decades. Reasoning varies, but the most obvious seems to be that the symmetrical hands wouldn't obscure the manufacturer logo (either below the 12 or above the 6) or the date or week view, if such is present. There you have it folks - conspiracy theorists, it's time to move on.

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  • KC

    No, this 10:08 is only understood by the Chinese Cantonese, reading it in Cantonese means “guaranteed to prosper”, “definitely will be rich”.  It’s has nothing to do with whatever this article says.

    • Chris

      your source? 

    • Liaw Kim Poh

       I knew Cantonese, this sounds like a better reason

  • Wow, we didnt know this. Good piece of useless information for bar conversations.

  • Slow news day..

  • Rob

    This isn’t right, surely?. 08:08 has the most available digits.

    • Michael Crider

      Yes, but a lot of digital readouts for time only have two cells in the first slot, since 12:00 is as high as it goes on the AM-PM scale. 

    • casualsuede

      Most phone clocks don’t show the first “0” so that would not necessarily be true.

  • Retief de Villiers

    I remember as a child (a looong time ago!) noticing that Seiko watch advertisement always displayed the time as 10:08:42, so this is not something started by HTC, but a long standing “tradition”.

  • Rspec

    World War 2 ended at 10:08 fools…

  • Ann

    i thinl 20:08 has the maximum number of cells lighted up.

    • Yep, I was trying 16:08 but you got it higher 😉 anyway lets hope they’ll bring a new nexus 😉

    • Yep, I was trying 16:08 but you got it higher 😉 anyway lets hope they’ll bring a new nexus 😉

  • Customfish

    10:08 just looks very aesthetically pleasing on an old-style LED/LCD 7-segment display, for the reasons given – ie it uses the maximum number of segments ‘lit’. Co-incidentally, 10:08 also looks pleasing on an analog face, with the hands looking symmetrical and nicely placed. You often see ads for Rolex and the like with the hands at 10:08.

  • Tone

    It’s an advertising ploy from selling old clocks, their hands would always say 10:08 or 1:50, this way their hands look like a smiling face, seriously, google clocks for sale and look at them all. For some reason does this with a digital display, their is one ad for a htc phone that has an old clock pointing to 10:08

  • Paddy O’Ruadhán

    10:08 is a traditional position for analog clocks in adverts, as it makes the clock look ‘happy’, and is a ‘rule’ in advertising. They have clearly just carried on this tradition into the digital age.