HTC Brings Out The One
By Stephanie Blanchard, Assistant Editor
Once a top competitor, now eclipsed by Samsung and Apple, HTC Corp. unveiled its new 4G smartphone, the HTC One, on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Running on Android 4.1.2, (Jelly Bean) yet trying to differentiate itself from other Android devices on the market, the touchscreen device features an all-aluminum body and an update to its software interface, HTC Sense.
"This is HTC's core flagship product," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst at IHS iSuppli, in an interview with Mobile Enterprise. Like any Android device, it's an open platform which allows enterprise to run software. However, while Samsung is actively trying to capture the workforce, HTC is making more of a market play, he said.
"They are doubling down on a change in strategy," he added, noting the new device is offering a lot more consumer eccentric features such as the integrated TV blaster service. The device's 4.7-inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass and surrounded by dual stereo speakers. A 2.1-megapixel camera offers 1080p video capability. In addition, its homescreen, Blinkfeed, displays updates from popular social media apps.
Although hesitant to predict potential market share for 2013, which is still going to be dominated by the two big players, Lam did think the HTC One at least has the chance of making mid-tier smartphone makers nervous, while helping to propel the premium category in general.
Will Anyone Notice?
HTC strategically chose this week to announce its new smartphone, instead of next, as any news is likely to be drowned out by the multitude of launches expected at Mobile World Congress.
According to the company, the smartphone, offered in 32GB and 64GB models, will be available in late-March, through more than 185 carriers in 80 countries. How soon before it shows up — or even will it— at the workplace is yet to be determined.
"The enterprise market has always been traditionally different than consumer market, but in recent years, has been blurring," said industry analyst Jeff Kagan. "The lack of security is not getting in the way of penetration. We have been watching BlackBerry go from a majority to less than five percent," he said.
"But I don't think there is going to be a lot of business interest," Kagan said of HTC's new device, meaning that companies won't seek out the HTC One for corporate-issuance. However, thanks to BYOD, it might find its way into the enterprise. Still, he would be surprised if HTC became a meaningful competitor.
Nonetheless, Siemens Enterprise Communications seems willing to take that chance. The business solutions provider has recently partnered with HTC to offer mobile unified communications on HTC enterprise-enabled devices.
As part of the partnership, Siemens' OpenScape Mobile and OpenScape Web Collaboration solutions will be validated on select HTC devices to "increase users’ confidence that their chosen device will work seamlessly with their mobile communication tools."
Mobile Enterprise asked if this will include the new HTC One smartphone. "Any Android based device from HTC would fall into the partnership as we aren’t doing anything special with any individual device," said Randy Roberts, vice president of mobility portfolio management, Siemens Enterprise Communications. "Our agreements says that we will work to ‘validate’ that OpenScape Mobile will run successfully on all HTC Android devices."