HTC VP of Marketing talks WP, Android, Beats and more
We got a chance to interview the HTC EMEA Vice President of Marketing Stefan Streit, who was kind enough to answer all our questions about the company's Beats technology and on their plans about Windows Phone, Android and whatnot.
Naturally HTC's newly formed partnership with Beats was of most interest to us. HTC is quite serious about improving the audio experience of its smartphones and the purchase of the Dre-founded company was a pretty major step.
Stefan told us HTC is still evaluating all possible scenarios about the Beats enhancements distribution across their portfolio so even they are not sure how exactly it will pan out.
As you know the first two HTC smartphones with Beats came with a special Beats headset and a few software audio tweaks to make best use of them. There's no different audio chip inside the Sensation XE and its unclear when/whether such will appear in the future.
What's more interesting is that “HTC is considering all options in the future and it doesn’t mean that every future HTC Beats device must automatically include a headset”. With the audio enhancement working with any Beats headphones the company is considering releasing some smartphones with just the software tweaks in markets where such headphones have good penetration already (such as the US).
Such move would allow them to bring the price down and users who already have Beats headphones won't have to pay twice for the same thing.
On Android and Windows Phone
HTC feels pretty positive about the Nokia/Microsoft deal as they believe HTC will actually benefit from it. HTC has had a really long partnership with Microsoft and it's confident that the software giant won't do anything to upset that partnership. According to Streit, anything that Nokia gets in terms of customization options will eventually be made available to other partners as well so it's a win-win situation.
Furthermore, Nokia should help rapidly boost the WP7 market share and HTC hopes to take advantage from that too. HTC currently holds half of all WP smartphones sales so the increase in popularity of the platform can only be considered good news for them.
HTC has no regrets of the Motorola acquisition by Google either and even feels that it will help Android as a whole. The welcome patent reinforcement will help all Android manufacturers in their court battles and HTC is positive that Motorola won't be getting any unfair advantages from this deal - the playing field should remain level.
On displays and CPUs
We were curious to hear more about HTC plans about two of the most important parts of modern-day smartphones.
The good news is that no bridges were burned when HTC stopped getting enough AMOLED units for its smartphones and switched to S-LCDs. So a return to the technology offering the best contrast on the market is possible, Streit admits.
However, HTC believes LCDs are still doing better in terms of color accuracy and it's easier to achieve higher resolution there, so a switch back is not by any means certain.
As for their mobile chipset manufacturer of choice, Stefan Streit said that they have a long and successful partnership with Qualcomm, but no exclusivity deal, so Nvidia or TI-powered smartphones and tablets are possible in the future.
Unfortunately, HTC is not planning to bring the 10-inch Jetstream tablet to Europe. Not only do they have an exclusivity deal with AT&T, but with no big LTE networks available around this part of the globe, HTC feels that the Jetstream will be losing a large chunk of its appeal were it cross over our side of the pond.
They do have big plans about the tablet market, though, so new devices are on the way. Until they arrive, the Flyer will have to do for those wanting an HTC slate outside US.
Streit described the sales of the Flyer as "pretty ok" with the device obviously doing good given its sales targets.
On the Apple lawsuits
In regards to the ongoing lawsuits with Apple, HTC feels that it’s holding a strong position and it isn't afraid of the outcome. The company is ready to defend itself and it is confident that it will come out on top.
A really nice point made by Stefan Streit was that all those lawsuits a waste of effort, which would be better spent somewhere, where there is benefit for the end users. There's hardly anything for consumers to gain from all those patent battles and it would be best if it all ended as soon as possible.
Of course, HTC believes that intellectual property should be protected, but according to the company, the whole patent and licensing hunt should be approached more reasonably.
A big thanks to Mr. Streit for filling us in on the latest details surrounding HTC.