You don’t get to be to in the position where HTC is right now without employing some true marketing talent and engaging in extensive market research, regardless of how accurate the results of this research is for determining what customers really want in a smartphone.
Speaking at an HTC event yesterday, the company’s VP of product strategy, Bjon Kilburn, said that, according to a research conducted last year, most users favor form over function. More precisely, customers consistently prefer buying thinner phones, even if the svelter profile implies a shorter battery life. Apparently, this is the reason for which HTC decided to shelve its plan to release phone with monstrous battery size, a la Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.
Sure enough, the three HTC One phones that the Taiwanese plan to release this year all come with an attractively slim body. From the HTC One S’ 7.8mm and One X’ 8.99mm body, to the One V’s 9.2mm, the industrial design of the One series is in line with what HTC believes would garner more attention from buyers.
Just how important is “thin” to the general smartphone buyer? Looking at past popular phones, going back to the days of Motorola Razr V3, the desire to own a “see–and-be-seen” phone was always there. The Razr and its derivatives went on to sell 130 million units over the course of four years. The phone’s 13.99mm body, combined with an aggressive marketing push was enough to propel the series to stardom. Then, the obsession for ever thinner devices reached fever pitch with the introduction of the original iPhone, five years ago. At 11.6mm, the original iPhone was even named Time magazine’s Invention of the Year in 2007. Since then, our devices have become increasingly thinner, with manufacturers continuously pushing the physical limits of smartphone design.
Back to HTC, Kilburn said the company understands the importance of battery life in smartphones. Though it may not be planning to release a 3,300 mAh smartphone anytime soon, the company has its eyes set on making the software that runs its devices more efficient. With the reported 12+ hours battery life of the HTC One X (for moderate use), the company may have succeeded in hitting the sweet spot between a thin frame and reasonable battery life.
Do you agree with HTC reasoning? Which one do you choose – a super thin phone or a bulkier one with better battery life?