updated 04:55 pm EDT, Mon September 12, 2011
HTC says iPhone lost chic, Windows Phone hurt
Apple has lost some of its cool factor in smartphones, HTC's US president Martin Fichter argued in an interview Monday. After talking to friends of his college-age daughter at Reed College in Portland, he was convinced the iPhone had lost favor. Younger owners might consider the MacBook Air cool, Fichter mentioned to Geekwire, but they were more likely to be carrying Android phones.
"None of them has an iPhone because they told me: 'My dad has an iPhone,'" the executive said. "There's an interesting thing that's going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture's devices."
Although far from a scientific study, it does corroborate more elaborate examinations that have shown Android owners tend to be younger. Reasons for the gaps have had various explanations, although the tendency towards steeper discounts on Android phones and even a desire to rebel against the iPhone's 'convention' have all been credited in the past.
Fichter was also optimistic for Windows Phone but had a pragmatic view of why it wasn't succeeding. Until Mango-based phones arrive, none of the devices running Microsoft's OS will support '4G' networks. Actual subscribers might not notice, but carriers may have downplayed the WP7 hardware because it wasn't using the faster network, he said.
He was still "very happy" about phones like the Titan coming soon, since the OS took the focus away from apps and just focused on talking to individuals.
Patents were also having a day-to-day impact on HTC's business. Apart from echoing HTC's official stance that the Google-Motorola deal would be good for Android, he saw patent disputes with Apple and others having a real effect on HTC's day-to-day operations. While patents were important, Fichter thought the near-constant action was significantly every company's ability to develop new products.
"I think disruption is the perfect word for that because it disrupts my day, every day," he explained. "We have to, from a philosophical level, relook at what we are doing with the patents so that we protect intellectual property but we stop ourselves from wasting all of this energy that should go into putting better technology into people's hands."