We recently showed you what HTC is planning with the next version of HTC Sense UI. Beyond just the UI, what else is on HTC’s roadmap?
One area that Android-powered phones are in need of improvement is something called “shutter lag”, the amount of time from pressing the camera button to the time the picture is actually taken. HTC has made improvements addressing this issue in the latest version of Sense. “With that lag you have, you usually miss the shot when you have things that are moving. We are trying to make it easier for people to make better quality pictures,” HTC’s Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera said.
It’s these kinds of obvious “why didn’t we do this sooner” fixes that I believe we’ll see more of as HTC progresses as a platform vendor.
One can only do so much to differentiate one device from another. Ask a “normal” user what the difference is between an HTC Incredible, Incredible S, Desire, and Desire S and they’ll likely try and avoid the question. Then look at what HTC did with their “Facebook phone” the Cha Cha (or Cha Cha Cha in Spain). Just by changing the form-factor and putting a Facebook button on the front, people know that phone from all the others.
I think HTC is starting to see that it’s not the Sense UI alone that sets their devices apart. Rather, it’s innovative form-factor with intelligent co-branding and marketing that help one phone be singled out from the crowd.
We’ll see more demographic segmentation in the not-too-distant future. For example, the typical HTC smartphone is used mostly by males, who make up 70% of today’s statistics. What about all the women out there? It turns out that the HTC Wildfire S, with its 3.2-inch screen, is smaller and cheaper, and apparently appeals to women a lot better than today’s HTC offerings. Women are “one of the markets we see we have an opportunity to develop,” said Kodera.
It’s the inexpensive device that will likely help HTC expand sales into emerging markets and demographics, with a sub-US$100 Android phone being the magic number to target.
A few things are fairly obvious: HTC knows phones, and they know how to build them well. If they continue to succeed with UI and can break into the middle-low-end market, I forecast we’ll see HTC successfully challenging even bigger competitors in the coming months and years.