Q&A with HTC’s Graham Wheeler

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Manufacturer’s director of commercialisation product management speaks to Mobile News about the company’s wide-ranging portfolio and the impact the One M8 can have on its business

How does this compare to other UK HTC events?
There’s probably around 1,000 people here today and I’d say it’s certainly the biggest in terms of numbers coming through the doors that we’ve had in the UK. We have momentum and greater interest in our products now.  We genuinely believe we have the best quality device available in the market today.

The One M8 was described as a piece of jewellery by Cher Wang.  What’s your take on that?
Our theming at the event is around fashion and the high-end as we see this as a piece of jewellery. Even someone who doesn’t wears rings or a necklace will always carry a phone around. That thought went into the design and this is jewellery for everyone.

You say the HTC One was the biggest seller of all time. Can you quantify that?
Unfortunately we can’t discuss figures, but you can see by the awards it’s been given and the overall affect that device has had. You can’t win those types of awards unless you have a successful product, and the HTC One has been a very successful product.

With the HTC One, the Desire 816 launched in Barcelona,  and now the One M8 – is this HTC’s strongest-ever line up?
For me personally, it’s a really exciting time to be at HTC. We now have multiple devices in multiple segments. In Barcelona we launched the Desire 816, which is our flagship for the mid-tier. We have the HTC One and now the One M8 – so we have a great portfolio all the way down. No matter where you look and however much money you have, we have a phone that can suit your needs and budgets.

HTC is aiming to double UK market share to “double digits” this year. What role will the One M8 play in achieving that?
We’re ambitious and we’ve got an amazing product in One M8, and I see no reason why it won’t be our best [selling] HTC phone of the year. But it’s not just about one device. We have a great range of devices and a portfolio to achieve our aims.”

Where do you feel HTC can win share from?
We’re not saying we are going after a specific market share, all we want to do is build great phones and be seen as a thought leader in the industry. In the car industry for example BMW is a leader and makes some great cars. But Tesla is now seen as that thought leader, and that’s what we want to be. The people that are evolving the industry. We think it’s a great strategy.

How have the operators/retailers responded?
It’s our biggest and best product ranging we’ve had in a long time. Having such a successful handset in the M7 has lead to an amazing reception to the One M8. When we were talking to the operators we had a different approach. They came to us and were excited and wanted to work with us and wanted to launch quickly.

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