Monday, December 10, 2007

Engadget Interviews Peter Chou, CEO of HTC

Engadget scored an interview with Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, the top Asian cellphone maker . Frankly, I don't know what to make of the interview.

Majority of the interview questions were about Android. Unfortunately, the HTC CEO gave very few specific, clear answers. To begin with, he is not a native English speaker, and "some of his replies have been edited (by Engadget) for clarity". To compound matters, there was a certain ambiguity in his answers, which seemed deliberate. And then, he was trying to be politically correct vis-a-vis the Windows Mobile platform (HTC is a big maker of Win Mobile handsets).

For some reason, Engadget seemed to frame many of the Android questions, pitching it against Windows Mobile. This was unnecessary, and it seemed to put Peter Chou on the defensive. He was being very careful not to appear to say anything bad about Win Mobile. Perhaps, he might have answered with more openness if Engadget had asked about Android, without referring to Win Mobile in the same breath.

About two-thirds of the way down into the interview, Jason Gordon, HTC Global Director of Communications, added his two cents to his CEO's response. After this point, the language of the answers changed. But we are not sure if this is because of Engadget's editing of Peter Chou's responses, or if Jason Gordon continued to answer all questions from then on. However, the change in langauge did not lead to any more clarity in the responses. HTC continued to give safe answers, so as not to ruffle their partners, be they Microsoft or the US wireless carriers.

Just about the only clear answer was given when Engadget asked if HTC was going to put Android on any of their existing hardware:
Is that something you have the intention of doing? Using current hardware platforms to run Android?


So it's still going to be about the vertically integrated approach going forward? Not just about throwing any operating system on any piece of hardware.

Right. But, of course, we have a lot of the latest leading-edge wireless technology, so some of our software can definitely leverage that. But products need to be very specific. Today, people really interface with and are really passionate about [our] products, so they need to feel something really unique about them.

So, at least we know that HTC is designing totally new handset models for Android. It will be interesting to see how different the hardware specifications for Android will be compared to some of their existing smartphones.

[via Engadget]

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