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HTC: iPhone Not 'Cool' Anymore

The acting president of HTC America said during a recent interview that Apple's iPhone is "a little less cool" than it used to be. HTC also had some comments about Windows Phone 7 Mango.
At the Mobile Future Forward conference, held in Seattle today, acting president of HTC America, Martin Fichter, dished on a wide range of topics. He provided some insightful commentary on Windows Phone 7, Motorola and Google, those pesky smartphone patents, and the doesn't-yet-exist-but-everyone-knows-it-exists Apple iPhone 5.

Geekwire was on hand to catch all of Fichter's comments, of which there were many, and noted some particularly interesting nuggets.

Here's what he said about the supposed iPhone 5:

"Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. 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, MacBook Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don't find them that cool anymore."

OK, so Fichter spoke to some college kids. The small sample he collected happened to frown upon the Apple iPhone. Big deal. That doesn't make them "uncool."

For example, Nielsen recently indicated that 30% of future smartphone buyers are looking at the iPhone. Last holiday season, Apple products led in the "desirability" factor. In November 2010, the Apple iPad led all devices (31% interest in future purchase) among American kids ages 6-12; 29% indicated interest in the Apple iPod Touch; and 20% indicated interest in the Apple iPhone.

The iPhone, therefore, must be *really* uncool.

I found Fichter's thoughts on Windows Phone 7 to be a bit more on-target. "It has shortcomings in some areas, so I am quite happy to see how Mango has improved all of that," he said. "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."

This argument is believable and is something I've said about WP7 devices for more than six months. Microsoft desperately needs a category-killer device to get people really excited about Windows Phone 7. HTC's Titan, announced several weeks ago, is a fantastic device that could be the hardware needed to give WP7.5 Mango the kick in the pants it needs.