Giz AU's Chat With Peter Chou, CEO Of HTC - Part 1

Horace, Nick & Peter - HTC.JPG
At last week's HTC Touch Diamond launch, I had a chance to sit down with HTC's CEO Peter Chou. I was going to chat with Horace Luke - their CIO - as well, but he had to run down to prepare the presentation.

The main focus was obviously the new Touch Diamond handset, but we also touched on things like the evolution of TouchFLO, the Touch Pro, HTC's pricing and their move into the UMPC market. He also deftly avoided most of my Android questions as well.

Here's part one of the interview:

Giz AU: With TouchFLO, what brought about the development of TouchFLO 3D - How did it morph from something "so simple that a baby can use it" to having a series of icons down the bottom?

Peter Chou: It's the same thing - trying to offer this kind of very intuitive, simple experience. However this is giving you a much more colourful, much more 3D animated kind of experience. If you go to the applications table, you can still enjoy the kind of TouchFLO experience.
 
This device is about one hand, one touch. We've tried to optimise the form factor in the hand and everything is one hand one touch, so that kind of concept.

Giz AU: With TouchFLO, what brought about the development of TouchFLO 3D - How did it morph from something "so simple that a baby can use it" to having a series of icons down the bottom?

Peter Chou: It's the same thing - trying to offer this kind of very intuitive, simple experience. However this is giving you a much more colourful, much more 3D animated kind of experience. If you go to the applications table, you can still enjoy the kind of TouchFLO experience.

This device is about one hand, one touch. We've tried to optimise the form factor in the hand and everything is one hand one touch, so that kind of concept.

Giz AU: How important is software for HTC? Obviously TouchFLO is optimising Windows Mobile, and even burying Windows Mobile's experience with a much simpler interface - Is that something that HTC is working on developing further?

PC: Yes - maybe we should start from user experience. I think user experience is very important for HTC in our design philosophies. You can say that User Experience is the centre of our design philosophies - of course with the innovation DNA. But all of these concepts try and offer this kind of simplified user experience you need great software capability.

So software today is super important inside HTC. Without strong software capability we're not able to do this. This is actually very, very difficult to do here to be honest. And we are very proud that we have a lot of talent in HTC globally, for example like Horace, who is a top designer in the US and Europe and bring together to get this kind of experience.

This is not pure software: this is actually software understanding of the beauty of the animations, 3d and user experience - everything integrating well together to be able to achieve that.

Giz AU: I have to ask - Android. Are your developers looking at optimising an Android platform for your devices?

PC: Yeah, we will definitely, surely, leverage our knowledge on user experience and usability and user interface - we will definitely leverage our knowledge to apply to the whole portfolio. But they will not be completely identical, of course. We want to make sure that they have differentiation, innovation on different devices.

Giz AU: With TouchFLO 3D - are you planning on rolling that out across multiple devices?

PC: From device to device, it will not be completely identical. But you will get the same DNA feeling from one to another. Just like a Range Rover - You know the Land Rover? The cars have differences, but they have their DNA from one to another. So we will do the same thing - so not just completely copy from one to another.

Giz AU: We've seen the Touch Pro online. What was the reasoning behind releasing the Diamond first and then rolling out the Touch Pro later?

PC: This is the Touch Pro. So this has a QWERTY keybard - this is probably the best QWERTY keyboard in the world. This is five rows - it's the first time we're over five rows, so all our previous design have only four rows, so this gives you a much better typing experience. We don't believe that there's one device for all. We think that the individual will have individual needs. Some people can live with that - they like small, very sexy form factor. But some people are heavy text users, and at the same time they want to have the full internet experience, and TouchFLO 3D, and then for some heavy email users they can have this (Touch Pro).

But this has a little bit thicker form factor, and that's fine for them, and of course this has a little bit bigger battery size, and the memory is expandable. So with think different people will have different needs, so we try to offer consumer options to select.

Natasha Wright (HTC Australia's PR): That's pretty much your successor to the TyTN II.The top shelf, crème de la crème.

Giz AU:It's very nice...

NW: Sorry Nick, it'll be a few months before it's here.

Giz AU: I figured that much.