HTC's new Touch Diamond challenges Apple's iPhone
High Tec Computer (HTC), the Taiwanese handset manufacturer, launched its new handset, Touch Diamond in London on 6 May, to be available throughout Europe in June. It is 11.3mm thick, (0.3mm thinner than the iPhone) and has a more responsive screen, making typing much easier. The Diamond allows owners to choose between three different keyboards on the touch screen - the traditional 12-key phone keypad, which has about three letters per key, a 'hybrid QWERTY' - which will be familiar from some BlackBerry devices - and a full keyboard (The Times, 6 May 2008).
Unique features include the ability of the phone's internet browser to rearrange text on web pages to fit the mobile screen. Some elements of Touch diamond are an improvement on the iPhone including the ability to operate on the fastest 3G networks, a 3.2 megapixel camera - a big advance on the iPhone's 2 megapixels - and GPS, which will be able to accommodate the next generation of so-called 'location-based services' for phones (The Times, 6 May 2008).
The Touch Diamond runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with a touch screen designed for one-handed use. It is the next generation of HTC's popular Touch smartphone which has sold over 3 million units in the 10 months since its launch. The Touch Diamond updates the series to 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications), beating rival Apple again. Apple has not said when it will launch a 3G iPhone, but industry analysts expect one within the next few months (PC World online, 6 May 2008).
HTC revamped its TouchFlo software to give a 3D effect to screen images and users can access photos, music, messages, use push-e-mail and more on the touch screen. The company also upgraded the Web browser and users can zoom and pan Web sites with one hand. When the device is turned sideways, the view automatically rotates as well (PC World online, 6 May 2008).
Analysts said that the wide support HTC enjoyed with operators meant that the phone was likely to be"very competitively" priced when it went on sale next month. Orange was not immediately available to respond to a request about pricing (The Times, 6 May 2008).
Look at two Times 100 case studies on companies in the mobile phone market:
1. Hutchinson 3: As a mobile network provider, 3 recognised that 3G was the way forward for market development. It seeks to provide the best network available for mobile phone users, is the market leader in 3G in this country and during 2007 launched a high speed service with a target speed of 1.8 Mbytes per second. 3G is a contemporary development which has grown, rapidly in the UK and worldwide.
2. Vodaphone: The first mobile phone call was made on the Vodafone network in 1985. Vodafone is now one of the largest phone companies in the world. It has more than 15 million users in the UK alone. The market in which it works is high-tech and is continually changing. New products are needed to keep up with change.
Potential Study Questions:
- What are the stages of new product development?
- Describe the 'product life cycle' with particular reference to the mobile phone market.
- Give examples of three things that a business should find out before marketing a new product.