HTC is reportedly creating an online store for apps and e-books. HTC would get in on profits currently enjoyed by Google and Microsoft, according to one analyst.
Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC is planning to launch an online store for applications and e-books, the Financial Times
reported Nov. 8., citing "two people with knowledge of the situation."
HTC, the maker of such popular Android-running smartphones as the
Evo 4G, Droid Incredible and T-Mobile myTouch handsets, is hiring
content editors for a planned online store, one source told FT, which
reported, "The team is understood initially to include a small number
of staff based in Taiwan, with plans to expand to 100 people in
different locations around the world."
The new hires are likely also being brought on board to expand HTC's
newly launched Sense.com service, according to the report. Sense is the
HTC user interface (UI) that sits on top of the operating system,
offering an "HTC experience" and differentiating the handsets from
other manufacturers' devices. As competition among smartphone makers
increases, however, it's thought that a UI is no longer enough,
necessitating the need for an app store for greater customization-and
"App stores are table stakes," Analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint
Technologies, told eWEEK. "The phone makers feel they have to have
them. Even Qualcomm, a phone chip supplier, offers an app store
infrastructure to its customers, the phone makers. Companies feel
obliged to provide -a complete stack' or else they're out of the game."
With the iPhone, Apple began the lucrative app offering-and
installing-craze. (Though IBM, Kay adds, also uses a soup-to-nuts
strategy, "minus the beautiful endpoints.") Other operating system
makers, including Research In Motion, Google, Microsoft and
Symbian-supporter Nokia soon followed, and now wireless operators are also in on the act,
along with hardware makers. Back in January, PC maker Acer first told Bloomberg
that it planned to launch an application and e-book store.
HTC, since aligning itself with the Android OS, has had enormous
success in establishing itself as a major brand in the United States
and elsewhere. During the third quarter, the company shipped 5.8
million phones and posted a year-over-year growth of 176 percent,
according to research firm IDC, which attributed the growth to the
"strength of its Android-powered smartphones worldwide." With five
Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phones poised to launch during the fourth
quarter, HTC, says IDC, expects shipments during the coming quarter to
leap to 9 million units.
In an HTC-owned app store, applications would be offered for the Android and Microsoft platforms.
"The -ecosystem' approach of yesteryear, like the Microsoft Windows
cluster, has given way to the -fully integrated' model, often
controlled by a single company," says Endpoint Technologies' Kay. "The
problem is that this turn of events is leading to a situation in which
the buyer is presented with multiple towers of unique design on every
side. This is midgame of the walled garden philosophy unfolding. That's
why app stores are so important. The suppliers are playing for all or
However, an HTC representative wouldn't confirm whether a new app
store is imminent, telling the Journal, "[HTC is] growing very fast and
we are hiring for a variety of positions including marketers,
developers, technical writers and many others. We are always exploring
new areas we can add value to our customers, but we can't comment on our