In the words of Jason Mackenzie, HTC’s President of Global sales, the just announced One is “a bold step forward that delivers something new and fresh”. That is certainly true for both the phone and the company. In a big departure from its traditional approach, HTC took the marketing and branding reins into their own hands and thrust its new flagship phone into the increasingly competitive marketplace with a strategy designed to highlight three new features that make the phone much better at tasks that consumers use the most. These features – which have been given catchy names Blink Feed™, Zoe™ and the BoomSound ™ – are built from the premise that consumers don’t care as much about the specs as they do about what their phone can actually do and the experience it provides.
Here’s how each feature works: The Blink Feed ™ turns the phone’s homescreen into an integrated livefeed that aggregates content from hundreds of media partners (including juggernauts like ESPN), satisfying the need for that quick and easily accessible burst of content for standing in line, commuting or simply checking to see what’s new in the world. Zoe™ creates short, sharable videos (called Zoes) based on pictures you take, mixes it, adds cool transitions and even music with minimum user effort. How many times have you wished the pictures you took at an event, say at a birthday party, a trip, a concert, could be put together to tell a story? Not to mention that One’s camera takes crisp looking pictures under conditions most phone cameras find challenging like the low light or fast movements. The BoomSound ™ provides an unparalleled smartphone sound experience, making watching video content on your phone exponentially more enjoyable. And overall, the One is more than just the sum of these three features: it is a very good-looking phone: an all-metal body & zero-gap construction gives it a light, elegant but solid feel, like a high-quality accessory.
So I am convinced: HTC One is a good phone. Nah… a very, very good phone; even a great one. Certainly a grade above anything I remember from HTC in the more-or-less recent past. But the key question remains: will HTC be able to convince the consumer?
Based on our initial data, HTC still has some work to do. We looked at overall traffic to four popular tech/blog sites on the announcement date of five popular phones announced in the past year:
We know that Samsung, HTC and Blackberry have all taken a page from Apple’s book and staged full-blown, brand-centric media events for their recent “hero” phone launches. The media outlets have responded, and generated significant coverage of these launch events, but based on Compete’s data only Apple’s iPhone 5 generated a significant lift in blog traffic on the day of its launch. What isn’t clear yet, however, is how the increased coverage of devices like the HTC One in major news outlets (like BBC, Yahoo! News and ABC) will help drive buzz for these new devices going forward, and especially once these phones are available for purchase in the US. Stay tuned for an update!