HTC says customers want thinner phones, not bigger batteries. Do you agree?

by: Bams SadewoApril 20, 2012

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?

[poll id=”99″]

  • aLeXandEr

    According to the young lady checking me out at Fleet Farm, my Gnex aka Galaxy Nexus is “soooo thin” obviously she likes that. But from my active life style and technically minded self this is a crippling feature. Spring has sprung here and summers on the way, I’ve been hiking a half dozen times already with no tunes. Since I got rid of my iPod and have been using my Android(s) as a PMP(s) for a while now, its almost time to order that extra battery and external charger.,

  • Osinphay

    You could have both (Razr Mazz)what good is a thin phone if it only last half the day

  • Ray

    Who did they ask????? Are they serious? My first Android was the OG evo. I was sold with the line that sports cars use more gas. All the while I watch Samsung improve battery performance, and size. I was told that it was a result of having high ended equipment. My 1st 2 androids were HTC’s. I do not think my third will be. The battery that can’t be replaced was also not heavily considered as important to the consumer???? There is almost no chance I’ll buy a 3rd.

    • Graham Laight

      I am guessing that the research was done by their marketing team, and they mainly spoke to marketing-type people, who I am further guessing would tend to be image-conscious rather than interested in functionality.

  • Jlgroves1

    This is obviously true, since there is no market at all for extended batteries that sometimes add inches to a phones profile. HTC needs to wake up, although I’m sure Mugen and the like hope they keep on putting out thin phones with crap batteries so that an extended battery is almost a necessity. HTC will lose their hold on the techie fan base if they don’t stop with the non removable battery as well. Sadly my next phone will not be made by HTC.

  • gbgamer

    I want a big battery WITH A SLIDER KEYBOARD!! GIVE ME AN XPERIA PRO 2 (t-mo).

  • faust

    No surprise in the outcome of the vote. What kind of people did they ask. I can not think of anyone who is not always worried about their battery life. Phones obviously have to be as flat as paper with a battery life of 2 hours…standby

  • scott

    Ask any “general user” and you’ll get form over substance. Ask the same question after the 1st time that general user has a dead phone before sunset, slightly different answer. HTC is hosing themselves.

  • AndroidBrian

    We want both. ;)

  • Hemimagnum2005

    I don’t want a thinner phone….Got a Galaxy S2 and part of the reason why I put an otterbox case on it was the phone just feels too uncomfortable without it because it is too thin! The Otterbox makes it just the right thickness.

  • Hoffer

    This is the problem with the mobile industry, the buyers are all just sheep. clearly they can’t read otherwise we would have more of them on hear agreeing with HTC. how can anyone prefer a thin phone that last 12 hours?!?!? you wake up at 8 and the phone is dead half way through the evening!

    These people HTC qestioned should removed from society as they are clearly keeping the human race behind lol!

  • Mat

    Until we see flexible screens I’d like the largest possible battery as long as the phone stays on/ under 10mm. Dropping to 8mm on a 4.3″ screen doesn’t make much different but getting another 24hours would. But raising the phone to 14/15mm would be unacceptable.

  • Mamoon Noorestani

    I prefer phones which last for at least 7.5/9 hours. Phones shouldn’t become more thinner than the Motorola Droid Razr. The Motorola Droid Razr is a great phone. :)