Microsoft and HTC cozy up in push for Win Phone 8, look to address ongoing issues
Earlier in the week Bloomberg stated that HTC had scrapped plans for a 5” or higher Windows Phone due to the inability of the OS to scale up to 1080P. Sure, the device could pass muster with 720P or 768P but for a major device like that to hit now or in early 2013 would behind the competition.
Now it’s being reported that Microsoft’s Ballmer met directly with the CEO of HTC, Peter Chou, when he passed through Taiwan recently. In of itself this is not news as the two mega CEOs reportedly exchange emails and meet several times a year. But in this case, the limiting resolution of the Windows Phone 8 and presumably other areas of contention were brought up.
Windows Phone 8 of course can scale up to higher resolutions but it requires the Windows Phone team to actually set the parameters and put it in the toolbox for manufactures (called an SDK). Originally, Windows Phone 8 supported four resolutions, including ironically a very low-resolution 480x640 that was scrapped just weeks before the June Summit. Why Microsoft did not perceive the immediate need for 1080P is not too clear, though presumably they were betting on devices with smaller displays taking priority.
Indeed the ‘phablet’ classification (devices with displays ranging over 5 inches) is still a new category that is being explored by OEMS. Most techies blew off Samsung’s Galaxy Note device as a gimmick that is until it sold very well prompting the development of the Note II (and even a Note III is being rumored already).
With no ability to reach for 1080P though, HTC sees Windows Phone 8 as unnecessarily handicapped, which we agree. (HTC just launched the Droid DNA on Verizon, featuring a 5” 1080P display, resulting in a staggering 441 PPI).
Ballmer's ad endorsing the HTC 8X
Bloomberg also goes on to cite HTC’s numbers that 70% of Windows Phone 8 ads feature the 8X Windows Phone, including Steve Ballmer’s “this is my Windows Phone” ad. While the relationship between Nokia and Microsoft is often emphasized, it is clear that HTC and Microsoft have a long history too and things are looking good between the companies. HTC recently reported increased revenue, partially due to the success of the HTC 8X (and now 8S) phones, which have garnered a lot of favorable attention.
The question remains though how fast Microsoft can try to please its OEM partners. And what about a 5” Windows Phone 8 device with 1080P made by HTC or even Nokia—would that be something you folks are interested in? Sound off in comments.