By Joel Johnson at 1:38 pm Wed, Jun 24, 2009
I slapped some hair jelly on and a big blast of cologne and joined Popular Mechanics' Seth Porges (friend of the show) and host Randall Bennett to talk about the HTC Hero and the future of HTC on today's episode of TechVi.
I think HTC has a bit of an uphill battle for two reasons. The first being that non-geeks in the states have no idea who they are. As mentioned, it wasn’t until the last model cycle that they started slapping their name anywhere near their phones. Everyone knows who Apple is, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wants a smart phone that hasn’t heard of Palm.
The other big issue is fighting the idea that you can only do x, y, or z on an iPhone. I’ve run into several people that were shocked to find out that you could use Google maps, read their email, and many other apps on a Windows Mobile phone (or other smart phone). Heck, I ran into one lady that was wanting to swap her HTC Touch for an iPhone so that she could have a program that would identify songs for her. She never thought that there might be an app for that for her phone (AT&T actually ships most of their smart phones with one).
Sorry for the rant, but I’m getting tired of the world apparently believing that there is no smart phone besides the iPhone. I just bought a new phone. After careful consideration, I bought an HTC Fuze instead of the iPhone because it had more features that I wanted (physical qwerty keyboard, mini-USB port instead of a proprietary port, can be tethered…). Now if only someone would make a smart flip phone with a proper qwerty keyboard.
Another reason HTC doesn’t have much chance to become an IT phone like the iPhone or the Pre: it’s a hardware company, with some minor dabbling in OS skinning. It doesn’t control every little detail of a phone, and moreover, its product line is split between two operating systems. How hard can HTC push Android when they’re trying to push WinMo just as hard on other sets?
That may even be Android’s biggest hurdle â€” who’s really selling the OS? There’s no advertising campaign to match the Pre or iPhone because the average phone buyer understands a phone by its hardware. Meanwhile, Android-set manufacturers like HTC don’t even advertise much â€” they leave that to the carriers. And carriers aren’t capable of extolling the virtues of an OS to a public that only knows Apple = cool.
(Sidenote: WinMo’s still got its hooks in a lot of Enterprise customers who aren’t eager to audition new software. It’s not going anywhere for a while. And I’d be willing to bet it stages a Palm-esque comeback in the next two years.)
Waitâ€¦are you saying you went out of your way to make your hair look like that? On purpose?
Here I was hoping someone had vi running on an Android phone.
Cologne? How strange. Was it Smell-o-vision. You’re as cute as ever Joel! Dig the beard.
HTC phones are second-tier because they were/are stuck with Windows Mobile. Looking forward to Hero.
I’m guessing none of you guys have ever developed on any of these phones. To say that Google did the “bare minimum” is pretty ridiculous in the grand scheme of what Android is really about. They chose a great route for building a mobile operating system- focus on the developer-exposed API, OTA updatability, widespread hardware compatibility etc. AKA, the things that a full-blown operating system requires. The iPhone doesn’t even support multithreading, while Android has a truly innovative way for applications to work together. Working with their API is a blessing as compared to the iPhone’s offerings- not to mention you can develop from any platform in a well-established language.
The beauty of their strategy: let the hardware companies and carriers do their own branding and create their own innovation at the UI level. They save a ton of developer time by having the core OS already written (and written well), and can focus on what they should make their central focus- usability innovation. And consumers win by having applications work on a variety of phones.
MORE SEXY GUYS DAMNIT
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