How HTC Got It Right

April 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

I’ve been very critical of smartphone makers in recent times. Last year Nokia got it in the neck and last week I laid into RIM. Now it is time for credit where credit is due. Just how did HTC increase its share price 30x in two years…?

This is the topic for my TrustedReviews feature. As always, find a link to the full feature at the bottom of this sample.


How HTC Got It Right

On Wednesday HTC hit a remarkable milestone. Its market capitalisation surpassed Nokia. It had already surpassed RIM. Even more impressive was the vast majority of the rises occurred in just the last two years. So what is HTC getting so very right?

First things first. Let’s put these figures into context. Market capitalisation is not a literal valuation. For example in 2010 Nokia turned over €43.5bn and employs over 130,000 people. HTC turned over $9.57bn (€6.7bn) in 2010 and employs just over 5,500 people. Instead market capitalisation is share based. It looks at the share price multiplied by the shares outstanding. Run these numbers and HTC is currently worth $33.88bn, Nokia $32.84bn and RIM $28.5bn. What’s more HTC’s market cap is in excess of 30x its value five years ago. This poses two questions: 1. Why? and 2. Don’t you wish you bought shares?

The why can be answered economically. For all Nokia’s size its €43.5bn turnover made just €1.85bn in net income. By contrast HTC’s €6.7bn turnover produced €1.35bn in net income. Who would you say has the more efficient, more profitable and consequently more appealing business model to investors? On Friday HTC reported its Q1 2011 financial results. Net profit for the first three months of the year hit $511m, this traditionally slow time is almost triple HTC’s figures for the same period in 2010.


Don’t you wish you bought shares? In fairness you’re not daft if you were caught out. Despite its meteoric recent rise, HTC isn’t a new company, it was actually founded way back in 1997.


Microsoft Announces Multi-touch Windows Mobile 6.5.3

February 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Now here’s a surprise: Microsoft has quietly released a significant new version of Windows Mobile 6.5 for Sony Ericsson’s upcoming Aspen handset (pictured), ahead of the expected unveiling of WM 7 at Mobile World Congress next week.

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 on the Sony Ericsson Aspen

ZDNet has been sent the official feature list and it’s impressive:

  • Capacitive touchscreen support
  • Platform to enable multitouch
  • Touch controls throughout system (no need for stylus)
  • Consistent Navigation
  • Horizontal scroll bar replaces tabs (think settings>system>about screen)
  • Magnifier brings touch support to legacy applications
  • Simplified out-of-box experience with fewer steps
  • Drag and drop icons on Start Screen
  • (Mobile) Internet Explorer Page load time decreased
  • IE Memory management improved
  • IE Pan & flick gestures smoothed
  • IE Zoom & rotation speed increased
  • Updated runtime tools (.NET CF 3.5, SQL CE 3.1)
  • Arabic read/write document support
  • Watson (error reporting) improvements and bug fixes

Is Microsoft back in the game? Not solely with this, but it is a promising stepping stone for Windows Mobile 7. Let’s hope Microsoft gets its finally gets its act together in the smartphone market. After all, the more competition the better…

HTC Magic Android Smartphone

May 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

The T-Mobile G1 has been left on its own as the sole Google Android handset for seven long months, but now it finally has some company and competition in form of the ‘Magic’. Like the G1, the Magic is made by Taiwanese manufacturing giant HTC but has been sold to different networks around the globe. On the surface, the HTC Magic is a far more sophisticated handset than the G1 and is an easy sell, so most importantly what’s not to like…

The preamble: My cult and contentious reviews’ system. Designed as a time saver to highlight the potential deal breakers in a product before you commit to reading lengthy reviews on your favourites sites and/or magazines. For a more detailed description please read: the Rules

HTC Magic Android Smartphone

HTC Magic Android Smartphone

Just the Bad Points Review: HTC Magic Android Smartphone

  • 3.2in capacitive touchscreen is large, but physically smaller than the HTC Touch HD & iPhone
  • The screen’s 320 x 480 resolution matches the iPhone but is less than some VGA (480 x 640) Windows Mobile smartphones
  • No physical Qwerty keyboard or number pad
  • 3.2 megapixel camera is mediocre and lacks autofocus
  • Native storage is minimal at 512MB though there is a microSD expansion slot
  • No multi-touch support exists in Android at present
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack means an adaptor must be used for third party earphones
  • No DivX/AVI video support
  • No support for lossless music
  • Android requires users to have a Gmail account (though enforced, in itself not a bad thing)

CES Update: The Highlights & Disappointments so far…

January 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Apologies to all for the lack of updates since my arrival at CES this week. As you might expect it has been manic and TrustedReviews has to take priority but you can see the vast array of stories that Riyad, Andy and I have been producing on our dedicated CES page.

Highlight so far?

That’s easy. Surpassing every expectation was the Palm Pre and the company’s stunning new Web OS mobile platform. In short it takes the best of Android, mobile OS X and the INQ1 and combines it with some genuinely innovative features. Palm shares rose an incredible 35 per cent following the unveiling, if that doesn’t say people are impressed I don’t know what does. Here’s the full write-up.

Biggest Disappointment?

The Sony and Microsoft keynotes were both dull as dishwater and we didn’t get much of a look at Windows 7 but with the public beta now available that doesn’t matter too much.

Honourable mentions?

In truth, they tend to fall in line with my CES Preview: affordable SSDs (OCZ and SanDisk are leading the way at present), ultra slim HDTVs (Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and more take a bow) plus the Sony P Series netbook for daring to try and do something different with this much-of-a-muchness category (even if using Vista as the OS when picking an Atom CPU is complete madness).

I’ll be back with more soon and I’ll also see if I can get you gets the very first JtBP review of the Palm Pre as an apology for the lack of updates.

Google Android vs. Mobile Mac OS X

January 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

If the launch last week of the wonderfully impressive INQ1 didn’t make it abundantly clear, there is an intense war now being fought across the mobile phone landscape and it has nothing to do with megapixels, gigabytes or even – despite what mainstream advertising might tell you – touchscreens. In fact, this war has nothing to do with hardware at all because at very long last it appears dopey manufacturers are getting the message that specsmanship is nothing without a solid foundation of software craftsmanship.It’s a simple, yet much ignored notion that if you want a handset to be used to its full potential it must have a GUI intuitive enough to entice consumers to make the learning process seem worthwhile. After all, if you equipped a car with a circular saw blade instead of a steering wheel, no one would learn how to drive.
The reason for this change is simple and polarising. No, not the Apple iPhone – if that’s what you thought you’ve missed the point. It is mobile Mac OS X, the game changing software platform which turns a nicely designed but also in many ways flawed slab of a handset into such an incredible product. You’ve heard it all before: where both the iPhone and iPhone 3G flourish is in terms of usability for despite a number of spec sheet faux pas both generations are a joy to use, an intuitive quantum leap for the sector which has seen perhaps the best examples of convergence to date and the creation of devices which actually encourage owners to use all their featur… *SNORE*Yep, boring. Grandpa Simpson boring. Mind numbingly, spirit crushingly boring.Why? Well, don’t get me wrong – the industry clearly needed the iPhone to kick it up the backside using boots fitted with steel toecaps and a cattle prod but to be almost two yearson from the original iPhone announcement and still find ourselves eulogising about how wonderful/slick/fun the handset is to use is as much an insult to Apple’s vapid rivals as it is a credit to Cupertino. We’re in the tech industry for Heaven’s Sake! Do you think we enjoy prattling on about this every time the latest example of ill-thought out steroid induced specsmanship from the Far East turns up on our desks? No, it’s dull, dull, dull – until now…
You see Microsoft might have ambitious plans for Windows Mobile (6.5 and 7 are both scheduled to launch in 2009), Symbian might evolve beyond all recognition now the newly formed Symbian Foundation is going open source and with the Storm RIM might finally hit back against the iPhone which outstripped total combined BlackBerry sales in recent months.

On the other hand, there’s a quirky little company headquartered in Mountain View, California that has actually gone out there and done it. It’s name is Google – I’m guessing you’ve heard of it – and with the uncanny knack of turning everything it touches into gold, the search giant formed the Open Handset Alliance to create what is currently the most ambitious and exciting alternative to mobile OS X on the market.

Attractive, intuitive, App Store rivalling and – vitally – open source, Android is handset free, network free and yes, free. Praise be, the mobile market suddenly got interesting again.

So with this in mind let’s take a closer look at the two most exciting platforms of the moment and see what there is to choose between them and where their future lies. Ding, Ding – Round One…

This is a sample, read the full editorial at TrustedReviews

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