HTC gambles on Windows Phone

2012-11-05 14:01


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Cape Town - HTC is hedging its bets with its foray into the latest Windows Phone operating system.

The company launched the HTC One X smartphone this year, but also launched a Windows-powered device in October.
"From an HTC point of view, we’re blessed that we get to spend a lot of time with products on Android, as well as Windows Phone. We kind of see as a one-size-doesn't-fit-all," TR McCrow, HTC Sub Saharan Africa business unit manager told News24.

Some analysts expect Windows Phone to grow exponentially and challenge Google's Android operating system that now dominates the mobile market.

Statistics from industry tracker IDC showed that Android powered 75% of mobile devices as shipments of smartphones with the OS jumped by 136 million in last three months.

Beats Audio

"The market is really dominated at the moment by three OSes which contributes for about 75% of the smartphone operating systems," said McCrow.

HTC has been in partnership with Microsoft for 15 years and will be first in SA to launch its Windows Phone 8X in November and the follow-up smaller 8S in December.

"We have the signature partnership with Microsoft and I guess how that is translated is in terms of the naming convention: This product is called the Windows Phone 8X by HTC - this will be our flagship," McCrow said.

The company has advertised its partnership with Beats Audio and the new DSP chip in the Windows smartphone produces double the bass output, without distortion.

Both cameras on the new HTC phones are high definition: The front facing camera sports an 88° wide angle lens, and the rear has a low F2.0 aperture.

"My camera lets in 44% more light than the iPhone 4S - that's on the rear facing - could you do that on front facing? Put a nice wide angle lens in, hold it back like this; get three of your mates in, low aperture in a lounge, bar, restaurant or something. Upload that to Facebook straight away - that's pretty cool," said McCrow.

HTC said that it's still committed to the Android operating system that drives its One X smartphone, but its move to Windows supported the new entrant in the mobile market.

Online storage

"It brings competition to the fore. You've got the power of PC, tablet and phone all mixed together with a whole lot of manufactures, all driving this operating system.

"The DNA of this [smartphone] is fundamentally different to what we have running parallel with Android," McCrow said.

The design of the Windows Phone 8X is different to the One X and the curved edge means that the same functionality has to be packed into a smaller space.

The device does not have an external memory card slot, but Sky Drive online storage is offered with the smartphone.

HTC said that the company has no preference for operating systems and though the processor in the One X is faster than the 8X, the operating system did not recognise quad core processors.

"We've saved our best designs for Windows at this time. From a spec point of view, it's [the hardware] is very close," said McCrow.


HTC opened a dedicated South African office this year and McCrow said that the company is determined to be more aggressive in selling the device as HTC looks to catch up to the Samsung sales numbers.

"We're going to be a lot more aggressive at the point of sale and in store because we know that that's the moment of truth."

HTC is reticent to release recommended retail sales prices for its devices, but the 8X will be available on Vodacom Smart Standard for R369 per month.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    htc  |  microsoft  |  mobile

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