Is this the One? That's pretty much the question we put to HTC's Peter Chou, whose company has had a tough time battling other mobile giants with its original One series. The CEO was kind enough to have a little chat with us after the One launch -- although his responses were often vague. We covered topics from what went wrong last year, how the new flagship device will bring the company back in the game, and where does HTC see itself from the perspective of consumers. Read on for the highlights as well as the full video clip after the break.
Looking back at the good old days since the original One series launch, Chou once again acknowledged the fact that his company didn't do so well with marketing. "We had a few great devices, a lot of innovation, but we just need to let people know all of these HTC innovations. So today we are introducing the HTC One and that's exactly what we're going to do," said Chou. The CEO is also confident that his new flagship device has what it takes to deter consumers from the competition. "HTC will be offering consumers a great phone with great experience, these qualities are non-compromised. We are very confident that consumers will appreciate these innovations, experience and quality."
"We just need to let people know all of these HTC innovations."
In the face of the likes of Samsung and many Chinese manufacturers, Chou believes that HTC's ability to work very closely with partners is a key to success -- something that the company's been very proud of since its OEM days. On the same subject, Chou also hinted at the changes that happened inside HTC not so long ago to help it stay in the game. "We are driving changes inside the company, pushing the innovation and pushing the execution."
As any executive would do at a launch event, Chou went on to pimp the highlights of the One: BlinkFeed (live feed of ambient information), BoomSound (dual front-facing loudspeaker) and Zoe (multimedia gallery and editor on steroids). Again, the exec emphasized the importance of great experience, especially with Zoe where the user doesn't need to do much, and yet they still get this "awesome emotion and personality" with the movies they share with people. "We think that this is a great way of providing new experience to smartphone users," Chou added.
"The megapixel myth is the wrong way to go."
We went on to ask how HTC will handle the tricky task of convincing consumers into the low-res (4-megapixel) but more sensitive and efficient UltraPixel camera, to which we were given a familiar response. "The megapixel myth is the wrong way to go, so what really matters is to give you much better image quality with great innovative, exciting experience. So that's where we're focusing on."
Interestingly, the One doesn't come with a microSD slot (as featured on the Japanese and Asian Butterfly variants) and Qi wireless charging (as featured on the Verizon versions of some HTC flagships), but Chou wasn't too keen on addressing these drawbacks, and neither was he up for talking about the seemingly smaller battery size when compared to some of the competition. "Our differentiation is very, very clear," Chou said. Of course, we shall see about that when we eventually get to review the One.
Sharif Sakr and Mat Smith contributed to this interview.