Acting president of HTC America Martin Fichter went on record to criticize both Apple’s and Microsoft’s approach to mobile at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, Washington. Ficther says that Apple’s success is its own curse while Microsoft fails to capitalize on the boom over 4G networks.
In speaking about Apple, Fichter says that the iPhone is losing its appeal among the younger generation of smartphone users. When young people see their parents and older people using the popular smartphone, the phone becomes less hip and loses its cachet.
I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.
In regards to the Microsoft mobile platform, a platform that HTC uses on a number of its phones, Fichter feels like Microsoft had missed the mark when it comes to riding the 4G hype in the U.S. Though the company’s latest HTC TITAN will be a 4G handset running the latest Mango software update for Windows Phone 7, that device is only able to tap into the HSPA+ protocol and not WiMax or LTE for 4G.
It has shortcomings in some areas, so I am quite happy to see how Mango has improved all of that. I think Windows Phone 7 is probably a bit hampered by the whole energy in the industry right now for 4G. All the carriers are pushing their 4G networks and with Windows Phone 7 not yet supporting that … there is a shortcoming there that is not so much a problem for the end-consumer, but it is a problem for the consumer not being pushed towards Windows because another phone might be more attractive to cell phone carriers.
In the U.S., 4G LTE is currently being championed by Verizon Wireless, which is rolling out a high-end Android portfolio, commanding at least a $100 premium on device pricing with a two-year contract. So far, there are no Windows Phone 7 devices that are available for Verizon’s 4G network, or for that matter Sprint’s 4G WiMax network.