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HTC's software design key to success: Canadian tech firm

2011/06/05 16:19:24

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) The user interface of Taiwan smartphonevendor HTC Corp. has become a differentiator in the mobile devicemarket and created a role model for other manufacturers, according tothe top executive of Canadian technology firm YOU i Labs, Inc.

YOU i Labs CEO Jason Flick told the Central News Agency in aninterview that HTC has become a benchmark for device manufacturers ofhow to build a brand successfully.

"Everyone would love to be HTC, everyone would love to have thatbrand," said Flick, whose company develops and markets gesture-baseduser interface technology and services.

"If you're going to do that, you've got to have great hardwareand great software, you got to differentiate. Everyone wants tofollow that model," he said.

"How do you become a brand to build the devices? And how do youmake more money? You've got to get close to the user."

Over 500 million devices currently run software developed by theYOU i Labs team, according to the Ottawa-based company, and Flickbelieves software is critical for hardware makers when they competefor the attention of consumers.

"No one cares about the hardware if the UI is horrible. You'vegot to feel good, not functional. That's the differentiator, " Flicksaid.

YOU i Labs formed a strategic partnership in March with TeknisionInc., a leading user experience design consultancy, to help devicemanufacturers achieve success by working with one integrated teamfrom start to finish on user interface projects.

Teknision President Gabor Vida shared Flick's assessment of HTC,saying the smartphone maker's success resulted from its unique userinterface, the HTC Sense, which was designed for smartphones runningGoogle's Android operating system.

"I like what they are doing. They have differentiatedthemselves, " Vida said. "The idea that 'we created the hardware andit runs Android' is not enough. It has to have the HTC Sense UI, andthat's what makes HTC. Or it's just something everybody else can do."

The Android system remained the most popular mobile operatingsystem in the first quarter of this year, with a market share of 36percent, up from only 9.6 percent in the same period of 2010,according to market research firm Gartner Inc.

It was followed by Nokia's Symbian (27.4 percent) , Apple's iOS(16.8 percent), Research In Motion's Blackberry OS (12.9 percent) andMicrosoft's Windows (3.6 percent).

Media reports said that HTC, which shipped an estimated 9.5million Android phones in the first quarter, surpassed SamsungElectronics Co. (with about 9.2 million units) to become the leadingAndroid smartphone vendor during the period.

(By Jeffrey Wu)