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.


  1. 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.

    • 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. 

  2. 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”.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.


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