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My thoughts on HTC's announcements

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#1
PaulOBrien

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I thought i'd take a minute out after today's announcements to pen my thoughts on an interesting day.

Today's event was impressive.

Not because of the super slick production, not because of the huge attendance (which, although Nokia would have you think otherwise, had little to do with it being the same week as NokiaWorld), not because of the new updates to Sense, not because of the HTCSense.com online services nor even because of the 2 cool new devices that HTC announced.

No, today's event was impressive for me because of the place it now puts HTC at in the mobile world (at least in Europe). For now, it is clear that HTC have put their weight firmly behind Android... and what a product line they have. Wildfire, Legend, Desire, Desire Z and Desire HD... all great devices in their own right, but as a set of products they cover the breadth of the what the smartphone buyer would be looking for.

Not only are the devices themselves impressive however, the rounding out of Sense and the coupled online services mean that the user experience that started as TouchFlo back on the HTC Touch is now a formidable weapon in the important battles of user satisfaction and differentiation. For most smartphone users (and I know there are some that will disagree with this statement), Sense provides a far superior experience to stock Android. Couple this with the new back end HTCSense.com services and you have a very compelling reason for consumers to either buy a HTC product initially, or to buy a second HTC product to replace their current phone.

Such is the breadth of innovations in the new Sense update that not all of them were talked about in the presentation today. Small features like skins and sounds sets will be very appealing to a lot of users, onboard maps is a clear point of competition with Nokia's Ovi Maps and most interestingly of all, a snoop around the devices on display seemed to suggest that HTC are creating their own application ecosystem of some sort. The devices on show contained a Market, but it wasn't the Android Market. It was a 'HTC Likes' application tied into the 'HTC Hub', with apps available for download. What form exactly this takes remains to be seen, but taking into account the fact that paid applications are still not available in many parts of the globe (and given the potential revenue HTC could make from running their own market), it seems to make sense. There's a lot of scope for HTC making additional revenue from on device content (they surely take a cut of the Kobo ebook sales, why not do the same with apps and music?). Watch this space.

So what now?

With a rounded out and great looking Android range, I expect HTCs announcements to turn to Windows Phone 7 in the next month. It's likely October will see HTC announce their WP7S device(s), although exactly what form this will take is as yet unknown. All HTC will say is that they are fully committed to supporting Microsoft's new platform.

One thing's for sure, HTC is here to stay and they're playing with the big boys now. Watch out.

P

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#2
Streetdaddy

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I'm quite excited to hear more about HTCSense.com, especially the price (free as in beer?)... Will be interesting to see the types of services they decide to offer as it gains popularity, and having a vanilla-security solution for Sense users is a huge bonus at point-of-sale. Thanks for your coverage of the event Paul!

Rightio then I'm off to catch a bus to the meetup! Just have to decide which venue to go to...

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#3
cheshire_carper

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They need to establish a fair upgrade programme. This redundancy of current hardware in a bid to sell new hardware is cynical in the extreme.

The current gen of phones, ie, the high end Desire units are capable of running upgraded Sense. But will they? Will they heck. They will drag their cumulative feet in a bid to shift more product. This type of practice started in the Kaiser days and I should have learned then. But Hero was a nice unit at the time. Remember the 2.1 nonsense on that? I had to rely on hackers to resolve that issue.

Desire owners will be in the same position now...and I pity you. You will cry and beg for (justified) updates but sure as is sure, feet will be dragged until well after the next gen is in the wild. I wonder if there will be any update at all.....and when Android 3.0 emerges....watch what happens to Desire HD/Z. If internal competition exists you will be low in the queue. If it does not exist, you will be high in the queue. Its a big gamble for any future adopter.

HTC lost me as a customer 6 months ago. It is quite incredible really as I have been with them from the very early days of winmob in its youngest guise.

A real customer upgrade path needs to be put in place. If any vendor makes that happen, they will have a success. The current approach we see is fooling no one. The hardware we have seen today has not raised the bar despite marketing blurb. Samsung did that months ago.

Edited by cheshire_carper, 15 September 2010 - 05:07 PM.

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#4
maxisma

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I don't like that they added ANOTHER Market.
The @AndroidPit Market will be the best one. Easy to use, PayPal payment, and soon, integrated anti-piracy.

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#5
StuMcBill

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Did you get anywhere with discussing the merits of 'fastboot OEM unlock'?

Any sympathetic ears?

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HTC One M8 & Nexus 7 (2013)

#6
rav1patel

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I get where @cheshire_carper is coming from.

The biggest problem with HTC is that you don't really know how support for your phone is going to be. Much as I'm not an Apple fan experience seems to indicate that they support their handsets with updates for around two years.

The Hero received one update from 1.5 to 2.1 and that looks to be the end of it's journey. It really felt like they took their time with 2.1 to try and get people to buy a Desire in the meantime as well. The gap between leaked builds of 2.1 appearing and the official ROM was massive.

HTC were quick with 2.2 for the Desire so credit where it's due. But will we see 3.0 and beyond when they come out?

HTC really are starting to become mainstream. The Desire is my 8th HTC and the first one that I actually regularly spot people using in the real world. Fingers crossed the success puts pressure on them to improve their support.

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#7
argh

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The current gen of phones, ie, the high end Desire units are capable of running upgraded Sense.


Maybe, but they have so little internal storage as it is, making installing more than a handful of apps require rooting / apps2sd+. If any more internal space is required for the extra Sense data (e.g. themes), there won't be any space for apps at all!

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#8
cheshire_carper

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Maybe, but they have so little internal storage as it is, making installing more than a handful of apps require rooting / apps2sd+. If any more internal space is required for the extra Sense data (e.g. themes), there won't be any space for apps at all!


That is completely the point in a nutshell though. Think about what you have written there ' making installing more than a handful of apps require rooting / apps2sd+'.

These devices have mem slots. The hacking community are making them go to work. Do you think that the manuf cannot? 2.2 is allowing movement to SD. The desire as a platform (and I do not own one) is very capable of running an upgraded sense in grunt terms and storage. But listen to the noises coming from HTC. They will not commit to the position and why? A good company would see the current userbase and seek to level support. But marketing theorists have explained to HTC that the only real differentiators in the phone would be the casing (and screen sizes). And would that compel users to upgrade? The UI is what is drawing people here - else they would not have invested the time and effort in modifying it. It is obvious when one thinks about it. Why would they ever support the current users in an upgrade sense?

But this does not detract from the fact they should. For all Apple's annoyances, they do seem to get that bit right. Whatever the hardware you are on, you feel like there is one essential device out there. With this nonsense from HTC, there are lots and you never know if todays £500 investment will be ready for swapping in a quarters time.

I would advise any purchaser to think long and hard before buying one of these, *if* you expect it to have a move into Android 3.0 in only 6 weeks time. It might (then again, it might not). If it does, then I am sure the current Desire 1 will not get Gingerbread. If only to differentiate the platforms.

Its a poor show from HTC. Very poor form. The customers can see right through it.

Hero's days are over now and on a hardware cycle fully understandable as it just doesn't have the grunt. However, we had to beg for an update that took half a year to get where it should have been at the start of those 6 months. It was a truly pitiful state of affairs and a route I will never travel again.

Edited by cheshire_carper, 16 September 2010 - 07:18 AM.

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#9
cheshire_carper

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HTC were quick with 2.2 for the Desire so credit where it's due.


...and why was that? Because they saw a really strong competitor in the market in the form of the Galaxy and had to act. They needed to differentiate. But it did demonstrate their ability to update, so why does this not happen consistently as frequent?

I imagine that if the Galaxy was not in the wild. You may have not seen 2.2 until after the current gen of Desire HD and Z had had it for a few months. Some nonsense about 'takes time to modify sense' would have been spewed. Then I argue a version would have appeared with a slightly 'less good' ( :lol: ) sense and 2.2 would have appeared alongside the HD and Z.

As it is, its worked quite nicely for them as 2.2 allowed them to differentiate from Galaxy but with the old Sense on board. And now the new handsets appear with an 'all new' Sense..... oh lordy.... the mind boggles on the begging that will occur from current Desire owners in the start of a 24 month contract.... wanting all the new features and asking 'why can't we'// :)

Edited by cheshire_carper, 16 September 2010 - 08:07 AM.

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#10
themadczech

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They need to establish a fair upgrade programme. This redundancy of current hardware in a bid to sell new hardware is cynical in the extreme.

The current gen of phones, ie, the high end Desire units are capable of running upgraded Sense. But will they? Will they heck. They will drag their cumulative feet in a bid to shift more product. This type of practice started in the Kaiser days and I should have learned then. But Hero was a nice unit at the time. Remember the 2.1 nonsense on that? I had to rely on hackers to resolve that issue.

Desire owners will be in the same position now...and I pity you. You will cry and beg for (justified) updates but sure as is sure, feet will be dragged until well after the next gen is in the wild. I wonder if there will be any update at all.....and when Android 3.0 emerges....watch what happens to Desire HD/Z. If internal competition exists you will be low in the queue. If it does not exist, you will be high in the queue. Its a big gamble for any future adopter.



I mostly agree with your observations. HTC's post-purchase service is appalling. It feels like they care only for shifting boxes, not for long-term customer retention. Their only saving grace in the UK is the absence of Motorola devices, otherwise they'd bleed android hungry customers to Moto. No doubt it is already happening with Sammy.

In my opinion people will allays want a new device, with faster specs and better performance. Not giving the chance to keep existing device with the latest OS or software layer (sense) is not the way to push people to upgrade.

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#11
cheshire_carper

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....well the new Sense has been ported already.

Let's see what HTC excuses get spewed to the incumbent community for the reasons it cannot be done :lol:

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#12
duryard

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If HTCSense.com turns out to be anything like ovi.com there will be nothing to get excited about.


Any one been for a look see yet??

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#13
Keiter

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Well, I still like the current one. I don't this kind of chang would be good.

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