HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

Summary: The meteoric rise of Android in the smartphone space is benefiting a number of companies, chief among them Taiwan-based HTC. The company is taking its "quietly brilliant" campaign to the top.

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TOPICS: Android, Google, HTC
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Android is like a runaway train going downhill, it has gained so much steam there is no slowing it down much less stopping it. The latest figures from Gartner have the Android juggernaut continuing to steal market share from RIM and Nokia to firmly take the top spot in the U.S. This meteoric rise in the smartphone space is benefiting a number of companies, chief among them is Taiwan-based HTC.

The recent revelation that HTC has passed industry giant Nokia in market cap was an eye-opener for many who follow the mobile segment. The company has quite a few Android handsets in the market place, but to pass Nokia is an incredible feat in just a few years. HTC has ridden Android to the top of the heap, and the predicted continuation of the platform to dominate is going to bring HTC right along with it.

The rise of HTC to the top of handset makers is especially impressive as the company doesn't have its own operating system as other major players had in their growth in the segment. No matter what you think about Symbian, and even Nokia is largely abandoning it, it worked in Nokia's favor over the years as it is an advantage controlling the platform on most of your products.

HTC's rise to the top started when Microsoft's Windows Mobile had a nice piece of the smartphone market share. Credit to the HTC executive team has to be given as even back then it was understood that company branding was crucial to the long-term growth in the crowded smartphone segment. That branding would allow a shift to other platforms as they come along, and allowed HTC to drop the fading Windows Mobile platform for the up-and-coming Android OS from the folks at Google.

The company's branding initiative started with the distinctive TouchFlo interface on its Windows Mobile phones. The interface had an attractive, modern look that quickly became associated in consumer's eyes with the HTC brand. It added functionality to WinMo phones not found on handsets from other OEMs, an added benefit for HTC. This interface evolved into the TouchFlo 3D interface that kept the look-and-feel of the original while increasing the appeal to buyers.

The move to Android was an easy one for HTC, with the port of the TouchFlo look to the new platform. Dubbed the Sense interface on Android, it brought the HTC look to the new platform and created an instant brand. This distinctive look sets HTC phones apart from the many Android products on the market, something no other handset maker has been able to duplicate.

Walk through a smartphone store, and it is easy to spot every single HTC product (and there are a lot of them) due to that distinctive look on the screens. All of the other Android products look similar to one another, but the HTC products are easy to pick out due to the distinctive branding created by the Sense interface. Whether you like the Sense UI or not, there is no doubt it is an effective brand for HTC. I have been asked more than once if an HTC phone I was using was "one of those Droids."

HTC's rise to the top has happened in the phone world, and with the company's first tablet poised to hit the market it can only go up from here. The HTC Flyer avoids the me-too syndrome that most Android tablets suffer from by adding special pen input to the mix. This special feature sets the HTC product apart from the crowd on its own, but the company is leaving nothing to chance. It has that Sense look-and-feel that has been so successful in the phone space. Quietly brilliant.

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Topics: Android, Google, HTC

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  • Message has been deleted.

    DonnieBoy
    • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

      @DonnieBoy
      I agree but Android has a lot of issues... I left Android frustration with my Gal S series back to iOS and I coudn't be happier... also if Android is so great how come you never see anyone using it? for every 10 iPhone users I see, I come across 1 person using a EVO or a Droid.

      Anyone else notice the same?
      Hasam1991
      • Yes, there are others that feel the way you do, but, there are also those

        switching from iPhone or Blackberry to Android. There is a lot more variety of handsets running Android, including low end models, and Android is quite good, though not as good as iOS.

        In any case, Android is surging big time, while iPhone holds its own, with Blackberry and WP7 spiraling down.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @Hasam1991

        No, I notice more people using Android phones (where I work, it's about 50/50 between iPhone & Android phones, Evo being the most common Android phone).

        If no one is using Android phones (as you imply), then why do they have more market share than iOS phones?
        illdini
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @Hasam1991

        I believe it depends on where you live and the crowds you typically mingle in. I could very easily say if iOS is so great why do I see far more Android users than iPhone users - but it's just my own experiences, as is the case your statement as well (assuming you're being honest). Sorry you've had a bad experience with Android, but many of us couldn't be happier without it.
        (As I've mentioned before, I think the reason for your bad experience was that it wasn't an iPhone. Being such an Apple fan, I doubt anything other than an iPhone would make you happy, regardless how great a device it was.)

        Also as illdini stated, if so few people use Android, as you'd have us believe, why does Android have a far greater market share?
        NetAdmin1178
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @Hasam1991 : I have a Samsung Moment and it is the second POS phone I have had from Samsung (first being an old flip phone). The GPS has quit working, it locks up, and it is slow. People with LG, HTC, or Moto Android phones don't have that problem with their Android phones.
        jabster17
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @Hasam1991 As others have stated it's where you live and the crowds you hang with. In my case I see more Blackberries than either iOS or Android phone where I live. Where I work I see more flip phones than smart phones. I say a quarter of the staff where I work use a smart phone (iOS, Android) the rest use Blackberries and regular cell phones. I don't work in a tech industry hence the people there really only want texting, e-mail and calling abilities. In any case I wouldn't want an Android only market or an iOS only market. It's great that there is all that variety to choose from as many regular consumers at this point in time don't see a need for apps just to be able to call, text and read e-mail. Plus carriers gouge you with their frickin data plans.
        jm001
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        No, quite the opposite in my office. There are 9 Android users and one AT&T iPhone user that is looking to switch because of coverage issues and dropped service. However, with the T-Mobile aquisition the AT&T network just might get better .... maybe.
        I_h8_cats
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @Hasam1991

        Not so. I use it all the time, and I see others using it. I am especially pleased with the way Maps and Navigation work on Android, though I wish Google had thought of the HTC Sense feature "Map with Compass" instead of allowing HTC to get away with being the first/only OEM to provide it.

        I would bet, though, that most of the people I see using it are not AT&T users. AT&T's grisly resurrection of the "walled garden" in Android is a huge disappointment. T-Mobile knew better -- though they may lose that advantage when the merger finally gains approval.
        mejohnsn
    • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

      @DonnieBoy Ok, lets take the MS bashing out of your statement. Nokia is declining becuase they did not keep Symbian relevant in today's market. This decline has nothing to do with their choice of WP7. Android OEMs are currently a dime a dozen, so that brings up a bigger issue on how to differentiate yourself from the rest. Up to now, everyone has had to make a UI overlay to make your phone truly competitive, that is not something Nokia has time for. They need to get on a new platform that has the UI well-defined, who other than MS fits the criteria?
      geier
      • Well, HTC passing Nokia in MARKET CAP has everything to do with the WP7

        decision, and HTC going all out with Android. You will be hard pressed to find one analyst that has anything good to say about Nokia going with WP7. In time, Nokia will have to reverse course. Not bashing anybody, just look at Microsoft market share still spiraling down, even with WP7.<br><br>And, I could also say that Windows OEMs are a dime a dozen, but, that does not mean that major OEMs are not smart to sell computers with Windows. You want to somehow try to translate Android being the best OS (other than iOS), and many OEMs using it very successfully into something negative. That falls flat. Case in point, HTC passing Nokia in market cap.
        DonnieBoy
      • Donnieboy do you ever have any intelligent to say?

        @geier
        You'll be hardpressed to find an analyst with anything good to say about Nokia had they decide to go android.

        Android OEM's are a dime a dozen, and analyst also said that it would have been a bigger mistake for Nokia to go with Android, because they would have been lost in the pack.

        any way you slice it, you're talking sour grapes, but nothing of importance or accuracy.

        I'll even go so far as to say "more fairy tales from Mommysboy - I mean Donnieboy!!

        ROTFL!!!!
        Will Farrell
      • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

        @DonnieBoy You're an unrelenting Troll
        Slurpdog
      • Will Farrell: Your unintellectual rambling does not help your image. Just

        look how well HTC is doing selling Android. Look how well Motorola is doing. Nokia could put their own UI on top of Android to differentiate themselves like HTC does. Nokia could also go with Meego and port the Android application environment in order to be able to run Android applications. Do not forget that Nokia can differentiate with great hardware. Going with the loser operating system that nobody wants will NOT help Nokia at all.
        DonnieBoy
    • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

      @DonnieBoy

      Hmm...not so sure about that. I think there's a lot of people that would like to see MS/Nokia fail, but that isn't likely. WP7 will cut into the market no matter what. Money buys things and if you advertise long enough the drones will gobble up anything. MS/Nokia have deep pockets and global appeal so failure isn't likely. There are plenty of first time smart phone buyers that will jump to WP7 because its price, selection and multiple carriers.
      Rob.sharp
    • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

      @DonnieBoy

      Why don't the photos above reflect modern HTC phones - the WP7 ones? These are not the droids I'm looking for.
      tonymcs@...
  • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

    The problem with Droid phones is the battery life. I have to charge my Droid Incredible after six hours of use while my BlackBerry Storm 2 goes all day without needing to be recharged.
    danafwest@...
    • RE: HTC: Quietly brilliant to the top of the heap

      @danafwest@...

      Blackberries are 1 trick ponys, two at the most! So battery life should be long lasting especially with puny 500 mhz chips. A modern Droid can run your home network wirelessly in addition to talk, text and surf at the same time. If your son or daughter is only getting 6 hrs I suggest you install "juice defender", that should nip that problem right in the bud, bud!
      worldbfree4me
    • partially user dependant.

      @danafwest@...

      I go a few days between charges with my Desire Z, but that's with my light use.

      The heaviest use I've managed still lasted 10 hours.
      shryko
    • Battery life

      My Aria was only lasting a day (not a heavy user anyway) before I got the 2.2 update. Somehow they have dramatically decreased the drain on the battery. I'm on my 2nd day and still have about 1/3 charge. A pleasant surprise!
      boomchuck1