Peter Chou, the CEO of HTC, started the second day at Uplinq. He too says that we’re in a “new era” of computing, during which computers will be in “every pocket”. Like Paul Jacos, he described how mobile phones are enabling social changes as well. In 2010 HTC shipped 25M smartphones, and in just Q1 of 2011, HTC already shipped 9.7M units – that’s a huge year to year increase.
HTC Sense: HTC believes in differentiation and software. HTC wants it to make things more intuitive than what the base operating system offers. Peter Chou understands that great hardware isn’t enough. That’s why the company has put so much emphasis into software. “We have completely reinvented the lock screen” he says. HTC has a variety of lock screens that display weather, stock info, etc… “Choice is good. One size does not fit all” Peter Chou says. “HTC is in the top 5 smartphone maker in the world”, he adds.Future: HTC expects smartphones sales to exceed feature phones sales by the end of the year. With NFC, HTC believes that your smartphone will (finally) become an electronic wallet, but also a digital ID – thanks to biometric technologies. Once ID has been established, the smartphone could even become an essential part of healthcare Peter Chou says. On education, Peter Chou says that students could have every books they need on hand.
4G: As Peter Chou talks about the next-generation networks, he brings common theme like video, but he also mentions things that did not exist when 3D debuted like personal cloud services (such as Amazon Cloud Player). We’ve reviewed the 4G LTE HTC Thunderbolt, and it’s true that next-gen networks do make life better, but the battery life of those devices is very challenging for now.
Gaming with Onlive: At mobile world congress, HTC has made a partnership with Onlive, a streaming video-game service. For HTC, this is a great way to provide gaming capabilities to its customers – without getting into a hardware performance war with console makers and PC computers. With Onlive, games run on a powerful remote server so that no computation is done on the mobile device. The network latency is the main challenge for Onlive and its users. In ideal conditions, things work well, but keep in mind that your location relative to the server and the network quality itself can greatly influence the game playability.
Onlive says that while it is working on the tablet today, Onlive will also bring it to HTC smartphones. But that’s not it. OnLive is also going to deliver access to desktop PC applications to tablet users. Think of it as a superfast “remote desktop” application. This is a smart move that we had advocated on this site a long time ago.
Software: HTC says that it is the largest Android developer, right behind Google. According to data from Canalys, HTC is the #1 supplier of Android phones in the world. Peter Chou also says that he values HTC’s relationship with Microsoft as well. HTC has been a long-time partner of Microsoft since the Windows CE days. Peter Chou is basically saying that his company will use operating systems from different partners.
Developers: “we have entered in a golden age of mobile development” Peter Chou says. Although Android has a huge lead when compared to Microsoft, HTC expects Microsoft to catch up in the future. Note that Apple is the overall leading platform in sheer number of mobile apps. HTC is now dedicating more engineering resources to developer support.
HTC has just announced HTC Dev at Uplinq. Now, HTC will provide an SDK called HTC OpenSense. It will help developers use things that are specific to HTC handsets. Its engineering team will help developers by providing developers with documentation and code samples. Htcdev.com will go live in the “Coming weeks”.
LinkedIn and Picassa were among the services that are using the new SDK. Developer who want to use stereo 3D on HTC devices also need to use the SDK. Finally, the HTC Flyer’s pressure-sensitive pen is accessible via the same libraries.
Overall, this is a much better way to differentiate HTC handsets from other Android phones when compared to tweaking the user interface, or changing the icons. However, this might create more fragmentation in the Android world. What Peter Chou did not mention is that developers can get promotional help from HTC as well. This is a powerful incentive.
That’s pretty much it for HTC. The SDK is probably the real news of Uplinq, which is a developer event. It’s always interesting to hear what Peter Chou has to say about the industry. What do you think?