We grill HTC about the year that was, to find out the company's highlights, memorable moments and what this year's tech says about what's coming next...
With 2014 nearly over, it’s time to take a look back at how some of our biggest manufacturing partners think the year has gone, and take a look into what’s coming up next. Today it’s HTC’s time to shine, so we’ve been speaking to the company’s EMEA Director of Product Marketing, Giuliano Ghidini, about everything One, Desire and more.
What have been HTC’s biggest successes of 2014, and what do they tell us about what’s coming in 2015 and beyond? Read on to find out…
2014: “HTC never has only one story to tell”
“2014 has been great and very rewarding for us,” Giuliano says, “because we’ve managed to follow up the success of the HTC One M7 with a worthy successor in the One M8. Once again our flagship has won lots of awards, and it’s helped us to keep on building our legacy story.”
And Giuliano isn’t lying. The HTC One M8 has scooped top accolades from TechRadar, T3 and Stuff to name but a few, making it one of 2014’s most successful handsets:
“We’ve been very pleased with the reaction to the M8. Following up the HTC One M7 – the best product of 2013 – with an even better device was a huge responsibility, but the M8 has only pushed our position as the leaders in premium design phones ever further. It gave us a new chapter in the HTC One story, which is one we’ll be building in the years to come as well, so it’s very exciting.” But, as Giuliano explains, HTC is far from a one-trick pony:
“On top of that, we’ve been really pleased with the response to our HTC Desire products across the year, and we’ve also surprised everyone with the introduction of a new category, with the RE Camera. That’s been amazing for us – everyone is speaking about it. And, in terms of partnerships, we’ve also worked really closely with Google this year to create the Nexus 9 tablet. So it’s been a fantastic and eventful year, with so many things coming to market.”
“HTC never has only one story to tell,” he says. “We’re recognised around the world for producing the award-winning HTC One, but that’s just one side of things.”
One of the more surprising stories of the year is HTC’s abovementioned foray into the camera category with the HTC RE Camera. We were keen to ask Giuliano what the thinking was in making such a big departure from phones and tablets:
“The idea there was to give people the opportunity to record amazing footage – high-res picture, videos, slow-motion, etc. – in a way that isn’t always possible to do with a normal phone. You can look at the RE Camera as a wearable device, or you can have it in your pocket at all times; it’s fully waterproof, so you can bring it to places that you can’t take a phone.
“Our vision was to give people the ability to focus more on the moment, rather than the camera. That’s why the RE Camera doesn’t have a display – that way you can capture great stuff from your party, sports game, or holiday or whatever else without seeing it all through a viewfinder.”
2015 and beyond: “We’re working on some amazing stuff”
So with 2014 all wrapped up, it’s time to look to 2015, and ask Giuliano what’s coming next:
“I think we will keep offering exquisitely-crafted phones,” he says, “and we’ll keep wowing people with the best design, the best imaging functionality and the best sound, all with tastefully-designed user experiences. That’s the way I see it.”
He reveals that we can get a glimpse at HTC’s 2015 line-up by looking at 2014’s biggest mobile trends:
“Almost everyone owns a smartphone now, so people are much more knowledgeable about the technology and what it can do. And with that being the case, mobile phones are becoming more and more an expression of people’s personalities, taste and style – it’s no longer just cold technology that you use to carry out a task. That’s a big trend for the coming year.”
“Another is that we, all of us, are becoming more dependent on smartphones. That’s especially as they encroach on other areas of life, like health, fitness, payment, music, home, etc. We’re reliant on that connection with our smartphones to provide us with those services. Of course, all of this exciting stuff is providing us with more data, which has to be transferred, stored and processed quickly and securely, so the role of mobile operators like Vodafone is key to making sure we can deliver these experiences to people.”
And in terms of devices? Giuliano is keeping suitably tight-lipped, but does hint that we’ll all be surprised by what HTC does in the year to come:
“All I can say is that HTC has set a clear trend in all these years: in established categories we will have new and refined products that are going to amaze everyone, even those who think they know what is coming. And then there will always be surprises, it is in our DNA…we are really working on some amazing stuff.”