EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: HTC CEO Peter Chou has confirmed that the fast-growing Taiwanese smartphone vendor is to launch its first LTE handset next year, and expects the US to be the key market for its new devices in 2011. “We think that the US mobile operators will be taking the lead and pushing 4G LTE in the US market… We are working on LTE devices for next year,” Chou said in a video interview with Mobile World Live.
His comments suggest that HTC is aiming to become a major smartphone supplier to the new LTE operators in the US. Regional US operator MetroPCS switched on LTE in September and is currently live in six metropolitan US areas, while market-leader Verizon Wireless launched this month in 38 markets and claims to be the world’s largest commercial LTE operator. Rival AT&T plans to begin LTE rollout next year. However, only MetroPCS currently offers an LTE handset on its new network (the Samsung Craft, which is a ‘feature phone’ rather than a smartphone), while Verizon expects to offer LTE smartphones by the middle of next year.
HTC’s new LTE smartphones are likely to be based on Google’s Android and Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 (WP7) operating systems. Chou said that the firm was focusing its efforts on these two platforms as part of a “portfolio strategy” aimed at offering consumers the broadest possible choice. “[Customers] may want Windows or Android; or they may want big screen or small screen, they may want keyboard or tablet; HTC will let the consumer decide,” he said.
Chou also talked up HTC’s commitment to cloud computing, pointing to the recent launch of HTCSense.com, which allows users of HTC’s Android-based devices to manage smartphone data such as messaging on a regular website. “HTCSense is a very important step for the HTC brand,” he said. ”We see HTCSense as an extension from the device to the cloud, [allowing users] to manage their portfolio, their data and their user experience from the cloud.”