Tag Archives: HTC

HTC One, Android Zero

A great point about the new HTC One from Techpinions’ Steve Wildstrom:

There was a word missing from HTC’s unveiling of its impressive new HTC One phone. HTC executives talked about the BlinkFeed streaming home screen, the redone Sense user interface, the BoomSound audio system, and the Zoe photo-plus-video app. But there was no mention of the phone’s Android software. Even on the One’s web page, you have to drill down to specs to learn that it runs Android.

Nexus is a brand. HTC One is a brand. Samsung Galaxy is a brand. Is Android really a brand anymore?

Is crapware invading Android?

One of the things that fascinates me about the way that the smartphone market is developing is whether it is following a similar path to the PC market. It’s easy to see the conflict between Apple and Google, for example, as a re-run of Apple versus Microsoft – and draw the conclusion that the end result will be similar.

I don’t think the analogy holds as strongly as some commentators believe, but there are some interesting areas where Android looks increasingly like Windows. One example of this a what some companies would call “value-added software”, which consumers often call “crapware”: additional software which customises the user experience or (in theory) adds additional “free” functionality to the supplied product.

On Android, this manifests itself as “user experiences” like HTC‘s SenseUI, but it’s not only manufacturers that want to play this game. Consider, too, the kinds of software added by networks like Vodafone:

“Vodafone has flagged up the forthcoming release of HTC’s Android-based smartphones Legend and Desire on its network next month.Legend will come with Vodafone’s 360 content and social networking portal pre-loaded.”

And this is just the start. The temptation for networks to “differentiate” themselves by skinning, amending and otherwise tampering with Android is going to be pretty intense – they’ve done much the same in the past with customised versions of non-smart phones, and they’ll do the same again with the “open” platform of Android.

Of course, the problem with this “value add” is that it rarely adds any value for the customer. The “problems” these kinds of add-ons are designed to solve are usually more to do with operator revenue than customer need.

Thus, Android is beginning its spiral into the world of crapware, software which serves no real purpose other than to give marketing people a “differentiator” which doesn’t really meet a customer need. And just as it has on the PC, the situation will get worse before it gets better – with the unfortunate issue that crapware is even harder to get rid of on a phone than it is on a computer.

(Image from louisvolant)

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HTC Google Tablet: Dead

Remember that rumoured tablet PC that HTC was developing for Google, running Chrome OS? According to an HTC executive, it’s dead.

Channelnews Australia quotes Anthony Petts, ANZ Sales and Marketing Director for  HTC as saying that all development on the unnamed tablet has ceased, and that the company will be concentrating on mobile phones for the foreseeable future.

Who’d have predicted that, eh?

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Reports of Android’s demise somewhat exaggerated

Information Week’s Eric Zeman decided that the fact he hadn’t heard much about Android on the first day of Mobile World Congress meant that the platform was in trouble:

Um. What gives? Many manufacturers have committed to the Android platform. Where are the handsets? Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest mobile events of the year. Android’s failure to show up makes me very nervous about the platform’s future.”

This got picked up by both MacDailyNews and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, which doubtless means that thousands of Mac fans the world over will take away the idea that Android is dead.

Only one problem. Eric’s report wasn’t  accurate. Let’s look at the key bits.

“Nokia (NYSE: NOK)’s new phones don’t run Android”

This is hardly news. Nokia is a major backer of Symbian, and is hardly likely to use Google’s. Sounding surprised that Nokia isn’t using Android is a bit like being shocked that Apple isn’t – fake surprise.

“HTC also failed to announce any new Android gear. Instead, it focused on announcing two new Windows Mobile 6.5 phones”

Perhaps Eric simply missed the HTC Magic, which Vodaphone will be flogging soon. Or perhaps he just got confused because it isn’t called the G2, as was widely expected.

“LG already has picked a a smartphone platform for its future, and it isn’t Android”

This would be news to LG, which confirmed in a blog post that it will be producing an Android phone later this year. LG’s strategy seems pretty clear, as I posted yesterday: give people the option to buy pretty-much the same hardware with multiple operating systems, and see what the market decides.

Seriously, I know that it’s difficult to actually leave the hospitality room at conferences, but when a reporter writes a story like this I expect him to at least wander out and talk to someone on a booth about it. That way you’re actually giving information, rather than speculation.

UPDATE: And to add to the Android fun, Samsung has announced it will ship three phones based on the Google OS this year.