Chairwoman Cher Wang promises 'disruptive' tablet; CEO Peter Chou says wearables are 'a critical segment for us'
In an extensive joint interview with the Financial Times, HTC CEO Peter Chou and Chairwoman Cher Wang offered some fresh insight into the troubled smartphone maker's future plans — including hints at entries into new product categories.
The pair confirmed that Wang would be stepping up her day-to-day duties at the company, and taking on some of Chou's "sales, marketing and supplier relationships" duties, allowing him to focus on "innovation" and the product portfolio. The move will see the HTC chairwoman working six days a week at the company, as opposed to two previously, the FT reports, as HTC aims to work its way out of its current slump.
As far as future products are concerned, the HTC bosses hinted at a return to the tablet market, as well as a possible foray into the world of wearables. Chou reportedly mentions that HTC worked on a smartwatch-type device with Microsoft "several years ago," but dismissed the current crop of wearables: “It has to meet a need, otherwise if it’s just a gimmick or concept, it’s not for people’s day-to-day lives. That is an opportunity for us.” Nevertheless, he describes wearables as "a critical segment for us," adding “it matches what we do today as a mobile experience overall. That is one area we are excited about.”
Cher Wang also points at a return to the tablet market for HTC, a space it quickly left after releasing the poorly-received Jetstream and Flyer tablets in 2011. While few details are offered, Wang is quoted as saying, “when the [HTC] tablet comes out it will be something nice and disruptive.” But with strong competition from many of the major consumer electronics brands, HTC, as a smaller player with fewer marketing dollars to spend, could find its tablets facing issues similar to those affecting its smartphone business.
Chou, however, shares a more optimistic view: “The market is really big. HTC is a small company. For us to stay competitive and survive is not a huge problem.” He adds that there's a good chance of the company winning a 15 percent share of the high-end market, and a five percent overall smartphone market share — a figure he describes as a “pretty good number for us.”