HTC says “iPhones are not that cool anymore” and WP7 needs 4G

mobile-future-forward-conference-michael-fichter-htc

Is the era of the iPhone over? Martin Fichter, President of HTC America, a Windows Phone and Android smartphone maker, thinks that the iPhone no longer has the appeal to kids and teenager that it once did. Speaking  at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle, he made quite a stir, commenting not only on the iPhone, but on some potential shortcomings of Windows Phone 7 and the the problems patents are causing in the wireless industry. Select Fichter quotes are below.

iPhone 5 hype: “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, 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.”

iPhone killer: “I’ve heard the term ‘iPhone killer’ a lot of times, outside of my company and inside my company. Whenever I hear it in meeting rooms inside HTC, I caution people and say: ‘Hey, look, there is a market there for the iPhone.’ I don’t think we want to kill the iPhone because it is geared to a certain amount of people who like things in a certain way, and we do something different. If you want to do the same thing as iPhone in exactly the same way, why don’t you send your people to the Apple store and have them buy an iPhone? We want to do something different. We want to appeal to different end users who have different values. And, if you look at the segmentation and the demographics of what we are doing, we are selling phones to different people. So, I don’t like the term iPhone killer. I think we do something different.”

Windows Phone 7 problem: “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.”

Patent wars: “I think disruption is the perfect word for that because it disrupts my day, every day. The problem we are having as an industry, from a very broad perspective, is that energy that should go into developing new technologies and new user experiences goes into fighting off patent wars. So, think about it. A lot of time, money and energy is just wasted based on these patent wars. I am very much in favor of protecting intellectual property rights …. but we have to, from a philosophical level, relook at what we are doing with the patents so that we protect intellectual property but we stop ourselves from wasting all of this energy that should go into putting better technology into people’s hands.”

We haven’t heard much from Fichter before, but it looks like he has some intelligent things to say. Hopefully this won’t be the last time HTC lets him speak. For more quotes, head over to GeekWire, which covered the entire conference. 

Do you see young people buying iPhone’s? Are you a young person? Do you want an iPhone 5? It’s likely that the iPhone 4 has turned into a mass market device, but there seems to still be a lot of geek hype for the new device. 

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