A Quick Background on HTC
HTC is currently one of the most popular manufacturers of smartphones. Their hardware is impressive, and we've seen their devices powered by both Windows and Android mobile operating systems.
Several years ago, it was Windows Mobile. They were the first manufacturer to bring an Android phone on the market, and many of their phones have since been powered by the OS. Last month, they introduced their line of Windows Phone 7 handsets.
Modular vs Inter-dependent Devices
Earlier this month, we learned about modular vs. inter-dependent smartphones thanks to data from a study by Asymco. Modular devices are phones and operating systems that license their core components to build on, such as what you see in Android. While the inter-dependent devices use non-licensed protocols and specific partners, such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry.
Will HTC Go Inter-dependent?
There are a few reasons to believe that HTC may try to become an Inter-dependent smartphone maker, and much of it includes moves they have made in the past as well as current smartphone trends:
1) Modular Sector Didn't Grow Over the Past Two-and-a-half years.
According to data from Asymco, the modular sector of smartphone makers didn't grow over a two-and-a-half year span. In fact, the data indicates that it shrank by one percent. However, RIM's BlackBerry grew two percent, and Apple grew 12 percent. Both are in the inter-dependent camp. Nokia, who would also be considered inter-dependent went down from 45 percent marketshare in Q1 2008 to 33 percent in Q3 2010. Not surprising given that Nokia has been lagging far behind in innovation these past few years.
HTC's share, meanwhile has remained stagnant over that period at eight percent. They will need to see some fast, and major, growth in Android and now WP7 to earn more marketshare. We have a full breakdown here.
2) HTC is Opening Their Own App Store
According to recent reports, HTC is hiring staff as they prepare to launch their own online store to sell ebooks and apps. This information comes from two sources familiar with the situation who spoke with the Financial Times. The store would compete with Apple's App Store or the BlackBerry App World.
As it is, HTC reskins their Android handsets with their own UI and innovative features unique to them, adding their own marketplace is just one more step to becoming inter-dependent.
Image from Engadget
HTCSense.com will let users manage their phone through their computer, remotely. The service can remotely locate a missing phone and make it ring, even if it's set to silent. Users can also lock their handset if it's stolen, ensuring that people do not obtain their personal data, which can be wiped from the device remotely as well. Furthermore, their userdata can all be stored on the cloud, which will allow for easy adding of contacts and information to a new handset.
This just further shows that HTC is striving to have their own branding on their smartphones, and give them features unique to them. They have their own network providing these online services, and an app store that may be around the corner.
A Phone All Its Own
HTC is definitely pushing their innovations harder than other modular manufacturers. They create their own Android-based UI, they plan to launch an App Store to compete with inter-dependent manufacturers like Apple and RIM and they have introduced features such as HTCSense.com. Their branding is strong, and they are hands-down one of the best makers of smartphone hardware there is right now. The future should be very interesting for HTC.