HTC's Chief Product Officer talks about 8X design in comparison to the Lumia 920

Jeff Blagon over at The Verge recently spoke with Kouji Kodera, Chief Product Officer at HTC, and picked his brain about design differences and similarities between them and Nokia. It’s an interesting short read and we’ve pulled some of the more relevant parts about Windows Phone for you.

When the HTC 8X was unveiled a few months back, the first thing on everyone’s mind was how it “borrowed” the design of the Lumia line. When pressed about the inspiration from Nokia, Kouji went on the defense and pulled out an 8X and Lumia 920 for comparison. Letting the devices answer the question themselves, he instead answered the question in a somewhat roundabout way. This was his response:

"If you look into the fashion industry, there are colors of the season all the time. In the fashion industry, those are decided two or three years in advance of those materials arriving to the market… and for those designers who get that information, it’s coming from a common source. There are three influential color designers in the world, all in France and Europe. That’s only three firms. So the source is very limited and everybody goes there, regardless of industry."

Not the most direct answer to a question, but it’s what we have for now. Later on in the piece he is questioned on why HTC is even focusing on Windows Phone and not concentrating all on Android. The biggest argument for that approach would be to avoid having to pay a licensing fee for Windows Phone and its small market share. Kouji responds:

‘While it’s true that Windows Phone has a license fee and that the core Android OS is free, once you add software your license fees go up accordingly. The biggest difference is that Google doesn’t do any advertising for Android, while Microsoft pays to promote Windows Phone on its own. So you can’t compare categorically just on the basis of license fees… the bigger factor is how strong the products are and whether or not people will buy them."

A wise answer about something a lot of armchair tech pundits seem to gloss over, Microsoft helps out immensely with advertising for the entire platform. Another interesting piece of information related to design of the 8X and 8S was how much influence Microsoft had over the design. The answer is none. Microsoft instead wanted HTC to focus on the hardware as it plays to their strengths as a company.

What do you think, is the design of the 8X just part of the next smartphone zeitgeist or did HTC take a page from the Lumia handbook?

Souce: The Verge



There are 61 comments. Sign in to comment

ncxcstud says:

But isn't that a picture of the HTC 8s?

Sam Sabri says:

And the little elves behind the webpage fixed it :)

ncxcstud says:

Well, now my comment just looks stupid ;).  Silly elves :)

TomWomack2 says:


Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)


hwangeruk says:

My birthdsate is 11/12/2012, so I will surely click on your life changing link :)

cedarlog says:

can we give his guy a one way ticket to mars clearly he need a vacation :D

iruel865 says:

I was gonna ask the same thing! xD

theefman says:

At this point it doesn't matter if HTC borrowed from Nokia, both good phones, really no need to do anything but buy which one you prefer

LeiChat says:

I see very little borrowed from Nokia personally.
I'd like the 920's features in the 8X body.

ChrisLynch says:

Exactly.  While I favor Nokia, the HTC 8X is a really good device.  I just wish HTC would put more effort behind the app ecosystem.  There are plenty of missing apps that HTC could have an exclusive right to for a period of time before launching across all Windows Phone devices.

hwangeruk says:

Typical Eastern company, type lipped for real detail.
I wish these tech companies would be more transparent, tell us their laundry list of acknowledged faults at the very least. And that they are working on curing some, and timescales for the next release. It would help consumers with "niggles" to feel like they are being supported.

Typical ignorant western mindset comment

MarkAllett says:

"type lipped" ?
I think you mean tight lipped. Hence not saying anything when lips are tight.

Psionic085 says:

Haven't got a good pic of the 8s to hand, but it lookks pretty much like my 8x to me.  An unlocked and updated 8x that is ;)

WinFan1 says:

Choice its a matter of which design you prefer

All of my returned 8X's had screen lifts, where light shows through, and bad loud speaker problems

aerosmillie says:

Yes the 8X has slight light leakage at the bottom of the screen at certain angles. Hopefully this will be sorted if they use the same design for the next wave of phones (htc 8XII). Haven't been experiencing any speaker issues.

DenniSundaY says:

I can't see that it's borrowed from the Lumia. The design is totally different. Because it is just a glass surface on a round body doesn't make it look like a lumia phone...

Reflexx says:

So, is he saying that Nokia is like one of the main designers in France? 

erzhik says:

So what he is trying to say is that before Nokia came on board with WP, the fashion colors in Europe and US were in fact black and white for the last 5 years? BS. Phone manufacturers started to inject color into their phones simply because of N9 and then Lumia line, its that simple. Show me one major released smartphone that came in 5 different colors

pnhd says:

nokia has phones in different colors for more than a decade. but this isn't about the colors. this is about the 8x and the way the glass folds into the body of the phone. even if the phone has a unique back which can be considered a htc uniques design, when you look at the phone from the front it looks like it comes from the lumia familly.
and to people who say they couldn't have copied the design in a few months you are right. they couldn't have done that in a few months. but the problem is that the lumia fabula design language is 2 years old, with another 2 years prior for development.
htc was quick to rip of the design, but they couldn't rip off the manufacturing skillsof nokia, and that is why the 8x has raised glass corners, the polycarbonate isn't colored all the way through. light is bleeding in some phones from the speaker grill(just like it does in the one x). plus dust that gatheres beneath the screen in the edges.
sad things is that they didn't had to copy the design and this type of build. they already had their own style of polycarbonate/metal unybody with rounded glass in the one x,one s, now the droid dna.
in the verge artcile  he has a picture of the lumia 920 and 8x side by side and says they aren't really similar.suggestion put the n9 and the 8x side by side and then say if it's similar or not

stacero says:

+ 1,000,000 for pnhd

rmichael75 says:

Exactly. I was thinking highly of HTC but after this cheap move. There is not much different between htC or Samsung or ZTE.. 
I hope nokia sues them once they get out of MS grips completely. 

IceDree says:

I guess Motorola is the closest one with The DROID RAZR which came in 4 colors ! Black , White , Redichh-Purple & Blue

jcagga says:

Motorola razr! Samsung juke in ferarri red. HTC touch pro 2 in silver grey color! Nokia did not invent putting colors to products. That would be saying black and light grey/white old computers weren't colors....

pnhd says:

all these phones are from the 2000's. nokia makes colored phones since the 90's. it was their identity. including their choice of colors.
and again, this isn't about colors necesarily but about the front of the device and the style in which the glass blends with the body. you look at all the phones htc released in the last 5 years, and then you look at the 8x and it's damn certain that is not their design language.

svenkka63 says:

You better go back in history... I had a yellow Nokia 2110 in 1995. So who invented colors in mobile phones?

TofuDelight says:

It might be a trend but it was Nokia that started it. Still, I wouldn't give HTC a hard time because they did try to put their own twist on it.


It will be hard to copy the red lumia 920 or the cyan or the yellow which I haven't seen yet.

monigal2 says:

HTC did win against Nokia on the design of their phones. I think they should use the 8s design on the 8x also. They came up short on the specs, mainly lack of storage..

rmichael75 says:

Right... Copy and win.. I give them kudos for 8S design. That is unique enough with colors.. But HTC 8X.. I hope they reap what they sow.

Yipcanjo says:

My co-worker has an 8X.  Beautiful phone, feels great in the hand, and I *love* the weight of it.  Just about perfect!  Still, the show-stopper I have with nearly all newer HTC devices is this: the top-mounted power button.  Having owned a Titan II for a period of time, I can't get over the fact that I have to shift the phone in my hand -- sometimes dangerously so -- to reach the button to power the screen on.  I think HTC really needs to rethink the button placement.  In fairness, the (longer) iPhone 5 has a similar issue, but the Home button can be used instead -- so a workable solution that most Windows Phones don't have.
So.....I'm a happy Lumia 920 owner.  Yes, I wish the phone was lighter, but otherwise I love it.   The low-light photos are incredible too :)

benners76 says:

I totally hear you about the placement of the power/lock button and I don't understand why this issue doesn't get more attention. It's simply more awkward to activate the HTC. Further... The buttons along the right side are recessed to the extent that they are difficult to use w/o giving them special attention. There is something to be said for beautiful design... There is more to be said for functionality.

jcagga says:

I think I'm in the minority. It never occurred to me that 8x looked anything like Lumia when HTC CEO unveiled the device. Maybe I have better trained eye but I assumed it was because they both were colorful, hence they looked similar??

rmichael75 says:

Put 8X next to the Lumia familly and you will see it. Expect the earpiece. The back is different. 
8S is 0 % Lumia copy

Capsloc says:

I put my 8X next to my sisters 920 and I just don't see it.  They are 2 very different phones.  Just because they both have full color bodies doesn't make them the same.  Different style buttons, corners, body shape, camera placement, speaker placement.....
Open your eyes.

Tomasz S. says:

You should rather compare it to the 800.
But yes, they are different and the 8X looks much better.

jcagga says:

Still looks different haha. Sides, check. Back, check. Top, check. Bottom, check. Front, check.

cdbstl76 says:

I love variety and options. They HTC and Nokia look different and feel different. Similarities are gong to happen, there are only so many choices in creating a phone's look... I would say both are on the cutting edge...

I just have to say I absolutely love HTC. Went from an HTC Touch Diamond (Windows Mobile) to HTC Touch Pro w/slide out keyboard to HTC HD7 Surround to HTC Titan II. I have to say that HTC has always been my fav, but they let me down, and will be getting the Nokia Lumia 920 when my contract is up. Simple choice.. Internal non removable storage? 16gb 8x or 32gb 920 :) Thumbs up Nokia, and good luck HTC.

IceDree says:

Both are great phones with their own great designs , Design wise The only things they share is that both of em are made of Polycarbonate & they come in multiple colors (Matte Black is the only one commen two)
Yes, I agree at first they look similar , but when you take a closer look , they don't look alike .
The 8X's design looks more like the evolution of the HTC HD series with a mixed flavor from the One X  & some paint ! I was kinda suprised when they named it 8X instead of HD8 , I mean the HD name is a well known when it comes to phones
HTC Touch HD >> HTC HD2 >> HTC HD7 >> HTC Titan >> HTC 8X

ejlee072006 says:

I don't think they did... HTC did a very good job creating and reinventing them selves...im glad too see them supporting msft/WP,now they have to follow it up with another good looking phones keep it rolling!! The 8x is so feminine in my taste...the 920 is a tank,very nice phone that football players should have...but none of this phones convinced me to give up my lumia 900... NOT YET!!

Could've done without the sexist statement

pegg says:

Me too. Love the design of my 900 best!

The Verge is kind of a "the voice of Apple" website. Apple is not happy about the 8X and 8S. They dislike the 8X very much cause if the WP8 sales pick up, if HTC ads 32 and 64 Gb 8X variants, it will become a very serious competitor to the iPhone5. They dislike the 8S cause for the price its a great little WP8 entry device. The Lumia 920 and 8X don't look alike at all. The Verge just wants Nokia and HTC to fight each other, as to weaken both.

tomatoes11 says:

The 8s looks more like the Xperia P and Xperia S than the 8x looks like the 920 imo. Still, I believe that both handsets differentiate enough. Most phones look similar these days because you can only go in a few directions with a touch screen and a rectangle. Most phones being built by a select few manufacturers, basically Samsung and Foxcon, also contributes to similar looking plastics and materials. Nokia fanboys just need to lay off the Apple "I invented every thing" kool aid. HTC made a slab phone just like television makers make box televisions. It is just how the market is where you make a touch screen phone with rounded rectangles or leave the industry. Even RIM is forced to make a phone look similar to an Optimus G and they tried really hard to avoid it.

JamesDax3 says:

Just got the 8X and I love it.  The look, the color(California Blue), the size, the shape and the wieght of it are all outstanding.  The specs are great and I love the screen on this thing.  This will tied me over until the Windows Phone 8XL(come on, you know it's coming) comes out in the spring.

RaRa85 says:

Maybe he can explain why they included half the memory of the Lumia 920 and put expandable storage on the lower end 8S or why the 8S is lacking a commonplace ffc? These are simple areas HTC missed that would have made their products that much better. Not to mention its priced double the Lumia 920. I think the exclusive deal with ATT was more of a favor to HTC so they could sell more phones cause how many people would have chosen the 8X over the Lumia 920 at half the price and better technology and exclusive content for half the price and double the storage if it was available on all carriers?(Whew, excuse my run on sentences) The 8X and 8S are still great phones but they just barely missed the mark with their decisions.

JamesDax3 says:

I got my AT&T 8X for a penny.  Sure it's only 8GB but I don't really care about that.  It's still a great phone in it's own right.  I'm sure HTC will sell plenty.

Enjoy paying more monthly and being without unlimited data

dreamfly says:

Why didn't they ask him why on earth there wasn't a microsd slot when the max memory provided was only 16g?

Houdani says:

Of course he whipped out a 920 for comparison.  That's an argument he can win.  If he accidentally pulled out the Lumia 800 that they had reverse engineered, well ...

uopjo6 says:

Definitely a page from Nokia. You can tweak the design for sure (they're not going to make an exact Lumia Phone) but the manufacturing the "nature" of the design is from Nokia, 1 year after the Lumia 800 has been released. The N9's been around but not with this many colors as a product line. 
Just check the HTC phones before and after the Lumia was released. It's obvious. Although i do like the 8X design. Nokia's is aimed more at usability though. 

And for the 8S..................that is Sony's design signature for a portion of their Xperia phones. 

HTC's new line is is nowhere near original IMO. Doesn't mean it looks bad though. 8X is gorgeous.

rgba32bit says:

I have an 8x and have seen the 920 in person. I really don't see much comparison between them when you are actually holding them. They both have some nice colors but neither one of them started that. The closest electronic I've seen with the 8x cal blue was the old SGI indigo workstation from around 1997. So neither of them can claim color.

snowmutt says:

Not sure why this got such a life. They both have colors. After that, they both have WP8 and physical camera buttons. After that.... I am running out of comparisons.

They feel different, are shaped and curved different, laid out different. Let it go. Geez.

aigi_nr1 says:

8X looks much better than L920

HelloJed says:

They both have flashy colours so HTC must've borrowed Lumia's design.. rolleyes

MarkAllett says:

The idea that 3 companies 'design' some colours each year is appaling. And then the rest of the world copies these colours? I guess I didn't notice this going on, but when I go in the shops, there's more than three colours.

tarzanmarzan says:

My cousin got the HTC8X in beautiful California Blue. I have a Black Lumia 920. I honestly love both phones and can appreciate the designs of both. They are striking in their own light. If this is what to expect from Windows Phone 8 Hardware, Nokia and HTC set the bar high.