HTC Exec: iPhones Are Not That Cool Anymore


Martin Fichter, The President of HTC America, gave us some of his valuable insight today when he commented on the current mobile landscape and exactly where his and other Android OEM’s stand against rival Apple and their iPhone. Apparently, Fichter feels that the iPhone just isn’t “cool” anymore. Not when compared to all the 4.53-inch behemoths and quad-core megaphones being released these days. According to Fichter, the mobile market has been saturated with high-end and low-end iPhones and because of this, the device has lost its cool factor. All the hipsters these days are now using HTC. At the Mobile Future Forward conference in downtown Seattle, Martin Fichter had this to say:

“Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”

Has the iPhone really become so mainstream because of its “dumbed down” OS that it has officially become the phone for the older (read: senior citizen) generation? Despite being an Android advocate myself, I’m not so sure I can digest what Mr. Fichter is cooking. Working at Best Buy Mobile for a few months, I’ve always got the impression that customers were choosing HTC and Samsung Android devices based solely on the fact that they were cheaper and more affordable alternatives than the iPhone. It wasn’t by choice — but necessity. But I guess if nothing else, this statement today gives us a little more insight as to why HTC chose a joint venture with Beats Audio. Guess, they’re really looking to take that “hip” crown from the iPhone.

If you ask me, it’s Android that is a lot less “hip.” Seeing how mainstream the OS has become. But who needs “cool” when we have nerd-credibility. The Android modding community seems to be a quickly growing movement these days. That’s just my honest opinion but hey, I’m no HTC exec. What do you guys think?

[Via Geekwire]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Occasionally on my college campus, I will see someone with a smartphone and ask them “what kinda phone do you have?” About 50% have an iphone. What’s interesting is how they no longer sound proud when they say they have an iphone. It tends to be the older people who sound proud to have an iphone. Some people have said how impressed they were with what you could do on an Android opposed to ios.

    1. Same on my campus. I’m not in complete agreement on this Executive’s thoughts, but more or less the iPhone has become so mainstream that it’s not as ‘hip’. There’s still a solid amount of iPhones out there of course, but HTC devices and Samsung devices (specifically the Galaxy S series) are very much mainstream and sought out for devices.

      1. With Android growth looks like Android will be the new mainstream and then it will also be less popular (just like MS Windows). It’s all cyclical.

        On another note…who thinks HTC is cool anyway?

        1. You said, “… it will also be less popular (just like MS Windows).” I find this interesting since Windows owns roughly 90% of the personal computer operating system market. Don’t get me wrong, i’m sure that by popular what you really meant was “cool” but let’s be honest here. MS Windows is the most popular OS by market share alone.
          Now the problem Apple faces is one of being lost in the crowd. As other have mentioned, it was cool to have an iPhone, but when everyone has one, not so much. That to me means it is in fact very popular though.

        2. last time i checked MS Windows was on about 90% of computers worldwide, how is that less popular ? how is HTC NOT cool ?

  2. They haven’t been “cool” for quite some time now.

  3. Actually, yea. Look at the age demographics. Android is definitely the OS for the younger crowd. It’s also less special now. Here’s a prediction: The iPhone coming to Sprint will not really have any impact on iPhone sales. In fact, overall they might go down a bit. It’s just not special anymore, especially when you can get one anywhere (look at international sales, where Android is out-pacing the iPhone at a much more rapid rate, even though the iPhone is available on multiple carriers).

    1. I honestly think there will be a FLOOD of Android users moving to iPhone once it’s available on their carrier. Just talking with a bunch of my friends who all own Android devices (crappy ones) — they’re ready to make the move.

      1. Yea, probably people with the Hero or Samsung Moment, right?
        I’ve heard a bit of that, too. Surely there will be people switching, but I really doubt there will be a flood. Remember the stunning impact of the Verizon iPhone? I don’t either…

        1. Exactly. My friend has a Hero, and can’t wait for Sprint to get the iphone. His phone lasts about 2 hours with no use, lol.

      2. Son, I am disappoint. Of all people you should be able to convince them to give a high end Android a try. The Nexus Prime would be a great start for them and will be out around that time.

      3. That did not happen on Verizon… as I recall all it did was arrest the fall in marketshare for the iPhone, nothing more.

      4. on verizon android sales didn’t go down that much when the i4 launched.

      5. But these were just the poseurs who only bought a cheapo Android phone (like one that came free with a plan) “until my carrier gets the iPhone” (those who didn’t want AT&T) or “until I can afford an iPhone”. They don’t count.

      6. Jens right, they said the same thing when Verizon was going to get the phone. Thing is, the ones that say that usually already have the lower end (and less expensive) phones. When the iPhone came out on Verizon it was only the iPhone 4, and it carried the same high end price tag. I don’t see this being any different if it were to come to Sprint or Tmobile. A high end phone will run you around $200. The problem with Android is that everyone is making it “Android vs iPhone” instead of “Android vs iOS” and “(Insert Android Phone Here) vs iPhone”

      7. That’s one of the negatives to having so much variety in the Android lineup. People can buy a smartphone at a bargain price, but usually pay for it in the experience and leaving a bad taste in their mouth of android overall. If they would spend the same money(~$200) on an android device as they would an iphone I think (and hope) they would be much happier.

        And the other thing is who CAN’T work an iPhone? No real learning curve so that could also be part of it.

      8. I personally think that once iOS marketshare dips to about 10% then Apple will be confortable. They have always played the premium game…they are probably embarrased about the high market share they have. Who would have cared about their App Store policies if it only has 10% marketshare.

        1. Pretty sure their shareholders care about their market share…i’m just saying.

      9. Yeah I remember that flood quite well on Veirzon…..not! Yes there are going to be some women,children, geezers, techidiots and teeny bops moving to the iPhone but not a flood.

    2. Here another prediction. In 5 years time when Android is on 80% of handsets the tech community will be looking for something new. After all, whats so special about Android when it has dominant market share. Like who gets excited these days about a new version of Windows. They have the desktop market and when they release a new version people think “meh…so what”. Android is fast heading that way. It’s the PC industry all over again…different players..same game.
      Who will be the linux equivalent…Meego?

      1. You’re using the example of a company that hasn’t been innovative in almost a decade. Windows 8 looks to be like the biggest change in windows since the switch from 2000 to xp. We shall see how it plays out, but the thing is when you get to that kind of market saturation you essentially have your own little ecosystem.

        How many people would want to switch after they’ve invested $100s in apps for a platform. I know a lot of iphone users that won’t switch to android for that reason.

      2. only one problem with your theory. Even tho users may go “meh” they still download the update, and guess what ? the PC is still the winner, since 1995…the most used OS in the world is WINDOWS….linux is creeping up slowly, but being on 80% of all devices does not equal boredom, it equals dominance. so yes , it is the PC industry all over again….apple made something, someone did it better, apple lost….the rest is history.

        1. He did say ‘the tech community’, and I kind of agree. The one thing Android has going for it is a strong independent developer base with excellent builds like CyanogenMod & Miui. Not sure that Windows ever had that, so it’s entirely possible that Android will remain cool amongst tech users (unless of course something cooler comes along).

  4. Hence the reason why Apple is doing nothing but suing the competition to stay relevant.

    1. ^^^
      I think this guy (JB) might be on to something.

    2. Why encourage competition in the market when you could just ban the sales of your competitors.

  5. I don’t care. I have a Thunderbolt, and I like it. Some people have iPhones, and they like it. I don’t really understand the purpose of this.

  6. Htc: All your smartphone are belong to us

  7. I agree. 2-3 years ago the iPhone was the phone to have, I didn’t think anything would beat it. Now days if your have a iPhone, your still good, but you aren’t great.

    1. Have to agree…and this is why HTC execs, are panicking. In 1-2 years no one will care what phone you have and HTC are worried that the mobile handset market will be so commoditised that they will struggle to eek out a profit from their handsets. This is why they will never give up HTC sense…it is the only thing they can offer to differentiate their products from the other 37 handset OEM’s.

  8. who cares what type of phone you carry

  9. Funny thing is they all carry iphones(the htc exec’s that is)

  10. Market studies consistently show iPhone’s are preferred by older consumers. As a pure phone with extras, the iPhone is successful. As an all-in-one portable portal to the digital world, it is a failure. First and foremost, a 3.5 inch screen is too small. Second, the iPhone’s success is based not only on an old paradigm of the super-charged feature phone, but was created out of Microsoft’s failure to capture the market space with its Windows Mobile platform. Like Apple’s success following Microsoft’s later failure with tablet computers, the company does not so much innovate as successfully execute product development in Microsoft’s wake of ‘good concept — bad execution’ endeavors.

    1. “Market studies consistently show iPhone’s are preferred by older consumers. As a pure phone with extras, the iPhone is successful. As an all-in-one portable portal to the digital world, it is a failure. First and foremost, a 3.5 inch screen is too small.”

      This is the reason why I really can’t understand Apple’s insistence that everyone squint at that tiny screen. Don’t they understand what a boon a 4″ screen would be to their new demographic? Let’s face facts, they made a dead simple OS that’s now caught on with older folks and their eyes aren’t getting any younger.

  11. iPhone will not change the demographic for Sprint. We have already seen the remnants of CDMA iPhone carry over….hundreds of extra employees and minimal customers on launch day. Verizon is still an Android dominated carrier. Sprint’s allegiance will go much further. This may have been different 2 years ago, but Android has.stolen the limelight until Apple reinvents the wheel that they actually copied from every other manufacture on the planet.

  12. I have used both android and iphone 4. Lastly i stick to android and sold my ip4. Honestly i think that statement is a bit misleading… How can u conclude a finding from such a few samples…it can also proves that many kids choose htc due to its variety of product line which has different price category and different product segment. Apple has only i iphone to offer. This can also proves that maybe ios is simpler. We android users loves to root and try different roms which may not be in favour of the older generation. Im sure if htc is not using android, they will not be at where they are today… i dont know bout all of u but my main reason when buying a phone is the OS and the support from it. So dont be too arrogant htc…we will see how apple will do when ios 5 is out.

  13. so it’s like when facebook was cool then your parents got it then try to become friends with you so you just stop using facebook

  14. Isn’t being cool/hip the only reason to have an iPhone? Why else would anyone willingly purchase a technologically inferior product, especially considering that the iPhone costs at least add much as most decent Android phones? I’ll take the functionality of my Droid X any day…

    1. I’ve owned an Incredible for over a year now and I can’t wait to get an iPhone 5. Stability, battery life, and build quality matter to most people.

      1. lol build quality. assuming they keep the same style, i hope you enjoy the shattered back and the losing of signal by just holding it.

        1. right, tell that to the friend of mine who put their iphone through the wash and then it worked afterwards. i have both a samsung and an iphone. one feels more solid, and has more cases and unique elements, plus the UI works better. and it isn’t the android phone…

      2. hahahaaha.lame

  15. At my college I’d say 35 percent of people have iphones and only 5-10 percent are happy with them. Most will still defend Apple but I can’t imagine them renewing for anything but an android.

    1. The ones that upgrade to another iPhone will tell you the have too much invested in the iOS ecosystem. Docks, iTunes multimedia and other accessories. Apple has made it so that once you go in, it’s depressing to think about your investment when you try to leave.

      1. people should apply economic thinking more and realize that these are sunk costs that should have no bearing on their current decision.

        1. I whole-heartedly agree. How many times are you going to watch that tv episode on your phone? Music…pretty sure iTunes music can be converted and transferred to any other device you like.

  16. I’ve owned an iPhone 3gs as well as an iPhone 4, must say they were great devices. Ip4 build quality is 2nd to none. Then one day on a whim I bought a captivate and learned to flash custom roms on it. Haven’t looked back since and never will unless if ip13 fires rpg’s. I will try out a mango device for a backup play toy.

  17. I think he failed to point out that Samsung and HTC were on more than three times as many providers as iPhone (this includes virgin, and other lesser networks). I know that there would be so many more iPhones out there if they were on all of the big 4.

    As for it not being “hip” anymore, I disagree. I went into what a lot of people would call a “hipster club” a few weeks ago ad 90% of the people there were all using iPhone 4’s. Not just 3G(s) iPhones, but the latest and greatest (even though single core is behind the curve now).

    Now for him talking about these “megaphones” that are out now. He forgot one importatnt thing. All that processing power still can’t catch up with the iPhone because fragmentation is holding it back. An iPhone 4 can do more processing than any dual core phone out there because of how well it’s integrated with the OS. The freakin’ iPad 2 can get over 170 MFLOPS, while my overclocked Asus Transformer can only break 100 when I put it all the way to 1.7 Ghz, and that’s not even very stable at that speed. Android is only really going to give iOS a run for it’s money when they standardize the OS. Until then, the iPhone will still be the “hip” phone around

    1. None of that processing power of the iPad 2 matters for everyday tasks. What matters the most is how well they can do the basic stuff – here Android wins hands down! Why you ask? Flash!! Yes I can browse the web without worry. Almost every single iPad owner out there complains about the lack of Flash support. Also the customizability, the notifications and the support for widgets make Android far superior to IOS. IOS’s only saving grace right now is the quantity of apps.As for stability – it’s not that great either. The very first iPad 2 I had I got to play with crashed continuously when going into certain menus.And on Apple’s forums there are tons of complaints about black screens, freezes and reboots so no, it’s definitely no more stable than any other system.

      As for the iPhone’s popularity. Well, there was a time not so long ago, it was the only phone I saw around town. Not so much anymore, I see more Android phones now than iPhones. I don’t know what club you went into, but down here, the iPhones are now the second class phones – something I thought I’d never see this early.

    2. “As for it not being “hip” anymore, I disagree. I went into what a lot of people would call a “hipster club” a few weeks ago ad 90% of the people there were all using iPhone 4’s.”

      Yeah, i think this sums up why it’s fading. Hipsters latch onto “hip” things, hence the name. However, they end up killing the cool because the broadcast how cool they are with all their cool things. No one gives a shit about them or their cool shit anymore. They can hang out in the coffee houses drinking their whatchamacallit latte’s, wearing their scarves in the summer, glasses they don’t need, and skinny jeans cutting the circulation off to their balls, playing away on their cool iPhones.

    3. The fact that you were in a “hipster club” is somewhat of a concern…but that for another topic. What the missing discussion here is do any of those “hipsters” realize their iPhone is NOT a 4G device? A lot of the i-sters doesn’t even know this just because their phone says it´s an iPhone”4″. So let’s over spend for a slower, smaller screen, less contrast screen (when viewing movies, contrast is what matters),closed ecosystem, flashless, dumb downed, poor reception, and gotta be cool device…good luck douchers.

    4. you really sound like you cant even buy an iclue..dumbass

  18. heres my input..on this. my first step.into the smartphone world was the choosing of a iphone3gs in it was at this janky mobile store. the iphone was a “unlocked/flashed” however you put it..idk. right as I was looking at it I was like “this is a iphone?!?! its the same as a itouch this is boring” the guy even told me you cant sync it or! thats stupid that just make it a phone… thought about it and researched android phones..the market, rooting, ect.. wow that is so much better. saved up and used my upgrade and got the G2x. couldnt be happier. even better when I got 2.3. what im saying is theres so much.more you can do with androids.

  19. iphones are smart phones?

  20. I can see that. This girl I work with always wants the “hip” phone. She doesn’t mod it or have any major investment in a particular ecosystem. She has had an IPhone 4 since I started. Two weeks ago she showed up with a Samsung Infuse. When I asked her what she did with the IPhone she said “I gave it to my mom.” True story.

  21. The only thing I could think of was that it’s the new “Jitterbug”.

  22. ^^^Yes, iphone is the new jitterbug with the addition of apps. HTC should make a video of the jitterbug commercial but with an iphone. Let that go viral.

  23. HTC rule!! eyePhone suck… sorry! T mobile G2, 2.3.4 Gingerbread, not root. :)

  24. Chris as much as you pretend to be an Android advocate, it’s not hard to see through the BS. At least you are somewhat honest (eventually) with your feelings and I have to give you credit for that. It’s ok to be honest and say you are not that crazy about it. But when you pretend, you are not really fooling anyone.

    Also last time I checked, the high end HTCs, Motorolas and Samsungs cost the same as the iPhone and yes, I’ve been to Best Buy on several occasions over the years to price check and have not only bought smarphones but have witnessed many of these high end phones being sold at the $199.00 price. Also I’ve spoken to several of the employees who at the time admitted they couldn’t even hold on to the DroidXs, EVOs. So I’m still a little bewildered by your statement.

  25. Hey Chavez, please start writing “Op-Ed” next to the title so I know to blow through your articles, knowing that no factual evidence will be given.

    Thank you,
    HTC EVO 4G owner

    1. He gave factual evidence that this executive made certain statements.

  26. My grandma and 60year old mother in law have iPhones. And what good are all those apps if every time she downloads an app over 20mb she has to connect to WiFi. I have never had the android market say go connect to WiFi chump, this network has no bandwidth for your ridiculous requests.

  27. LOL at the photo, and where have HTC guys been? under a rock.

  28. I’m loving this story because I hate everything “I”. The real thing here is choice, really how hip are you with a IPhone; rather it be college or the local pub. True it was a trend setter but hip I think not, same look, same feel same damn phone. Now take a Android phone to a college or pub and now its a battle of feature or customization. You now have an hour long conversation about a phone instantly. Try doing tat with an IPhone when body can do the same damn thing. If everyone in the world drove Benzs would they be hip or normal?

  29. Lol my Boyfriend literally thinks an iPhone is better because….wait for it…it’s an iPhone

    He would laugh at this article and say it’s not appple made so it sucks lol(he is so deluded)

    1. You need a new boyfriend.

    2. You look like a reasonably cute girl, you couldn’t find a guy with more than two digits in his IQ? Let me guess…the cast of Jersey Shore are his role models?

  30. My brother gave his iphone 4g for a samsung infuse 4g , 2 coworkers have and motorola droid x , 1 has a htc thunderbolt and 1 has a htc evo 3d. We need to educate people on how android is not only better than the iphone OS but how its more customizable to each individual taste .

  31. I do think the iPhone has lost a lot of its “coolness” as of late. If you see somebody with an iPhone, people aren’t going to them just to look at their phone. I don’t think you see that with Android phones much either, but perhaps a bit more for some of the more unique ones.

    If you took a poll, I imagine the iPhone would still top the “cool list.” But in non-PR guy speak, I don’t think as many people think “only the iPhone is a cool phone” so it isn’t that the iPhone isn’t cool anymore, its that its not the only cool kid on the block now.

  32. IPhone is not “Hip” any more because its over priced, its OS assumes your Dumb, Its marketed in White ( yeah i know they come in black also ), yeah Android is geeky but why be tied down with an 24 month £40$50 dollar contract to own a phone that’s less powerful than a 1 year old android handset ( See Desire / HD ) and has a shoddy camera and is forced to use Specific software to get things on it.

    For the price of a Iphone you can buy a top of rang android handset that blows to Iphone out of the water, or you can spend half the amount and get an handset that is on par if not better than the Iphone.

    I know what i’d rather have Plug and play phone for less than the “Hip” thing that forces me to install fancy software on my PC and spend the saved money down the pub.

    Androids cheeper & has more selection of handsets.

    Iphone is expensive and just an iphone, i bet if you put I-OS on a OEM device and told the media it was a leaked “Iphone 5” 100,000 mugs would crawl out the woodwork and go get it, take it apart realise its not made by apple and not buy it.

    They don’t care for the handset, the care it says “Apple” and has “I-OS”, we know this already look at the 3GS vs HTC HERO in 2009 iphone fans got mugged of with a shoddy 3mp camera vs a 5mp one and less stand by time on the Apple.

    People who buy apple products because they think its pioneering top end tech need their brains tested, Handset technology has advanced so much recently Iphones are just stuck in 6th month ago tech.

  33. iPhones aren’t as cool as they were, the hype exists in a apple fanboy camps still, but for the mainstream user I think it’s slowing down. I think the features of Android that were once only praised by the Android mod community are starting to come to mainstream users, They realize that apps selection is restricted by apples rules, they realize that screens bigger than 3.5 inches are much easier to use and let you do more with your phone, and the younger generation likes that you can customize android and your phone doesn’t have to look like every other phone.

    One last comment, people who want a smartphone but don’t know anything about them or cell service go to best buy mobile and that’s likely an i want an iphone but can’t afford it crowd, but I think the mainstream user knows more than they used to the majority of people have a favorite carrier and just go to that carriers store, I’m not all that young 34 and I don’t know of a single person my age who doesn’t go to the carrier store or order phones online.

    When the HTC Thunderbolt came out it was widely reported that they were outselling iPhone 4’s in the majority of the stores, and the thunderbolt came out at $249 which is actually $50 more than the iPhone, so while android may make some extra market share on price, the operating system in recent incarnations, like froyo and gingerbread is besting the iPhone on the interface and hardware and a lot of people are paying more for the pleasure of Android, recent android phones are coming out at 299, the same price as the high end 32gb iphone

  34. iphones are not cool to anyone with a brain, except those younger than 12 and older than 60. i know an idiot at work that wants to trade in her excellent mytouch 4g for an iphone because its too “complex”…after hearing a few comments from other idiots im assuming its because iphone is made for people that arent too bright, dont like researching and making educated decisions, and generally just want to have what their other idiot friends have. so in general, iphones are for retarded folk.

  35. The whole “android is for poor people” argument. where does that come from ?… I haven’t attempted to actually buy an iPhone, so I don’t have a clue as to what the price difference is.. What is the difference ? … There is a poll for you in there somewhere.. but price was never the deciding factor in deciding Android over iPhone.. or for one Android over another.. at least for me.

  36. I have to agree with the exec here. I know only a few people with iPhone’s, and they don’t brag about them. They use them like any other phone. I remember when people I knew first started getting iPhone’s, and they used to always seem to be playing with it and showing it off or something. I see a lot Android phones too. My guess as to percentages of phones owned right now? About 50% iPhones, 50% Android. I see a lot of each. But not as many people use it as a status symbol anymore.

    I also agree with what he said about the MacBook Air. I see those a lot. I own one as well. I mean, It’s incredibly thin and considerably lighter than my main 15 inch Lenovo, so it’s much easier to carry around on campus all day taking notes, surfing the internet and checking email. Plus it’s lightning fast, and the battery lasts me all day. I know how I sound, and I’m not trying to sell the Air. I’m not an Apple fan boy either. I’m just telling from experience. Also a small side note to the previous: I won my Air in a contest. There’s absolutely no way I could afford to spend $1200 on a laptop when I already had a decent one. Haha. I’m not made of money, unfortunately.

    Right now, I own an Android phone. I have no idea what my next phone will be. To be honest, it depends on what Android phones are out when my upgrade is due in March. It also depends on what the iPhone 5 is like. I love my Android now (I own an HTC Eris), but if when I upgrade the iPhone is a better phone, I’ll get that. It’s not Apple v. Android, or anything like that, it’s just simply whichever phone is best for what I need at the time. I don’t care about what phone is cool or anything, I just like phone’s that work. The sooner people realize that, the sooner phones will probably get a lot better. Instead of rushing out some new feature, spend the time to work on it so it actually functions. That’s why I love my Eris; it does everything I need it to fast and reliably.

  37. Since when has Apple ever been cool. Steve Jobs said himself when he first toured Xerox years ago that he basically stole the idea of a gui from them. Furthermore, Macintosh is based off of BSD kernel which is based from Unix. Mac is no good at coming up with anything themselves. They call themselves innovators but all they’re good at is stealing bits and pieces and hacking it together to call it their homegrown original idea that is superior to everything else. Apple innovated once: when they released the iPhone, they stopped innovating on iOS and kept repackaging the same piece of crap with barely any added features. Android has grown heavily in the 3 years that it hit the market and with the benefit of Open Handset Alliance a developer can make an app that is available to hundreds of marketable devices rather than just a few that run Apple’s iOS. Thank you Open Source Community and thank you Google.

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