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O2 and imate Gearing up for 2007, what's next for HTC.

O2 in the aftermath of getting the boot from long time supplier HTC is gearing up for 2007. Reports are floating around in enthusiast sites of the upcoming devices for O2. This include a VGA Phone Ed device [O2 Flame] and a QWERTY slider [O2 Zinc]. I wonder who is manufacturing these devices for O2? I really hope they are good and experienced so that the new crop of devices are as reliable [or even more reliable] than the HTC manufactured ones. I think for Asia in 2006 O2 was only able to release one device and that's the ATOM [I will not count the ATOM Exec or ATOM Pure as additional devices since they have almost, if not the same specs] pretty lame huh! Well O2 needs to play catch up to dopod [now HTC's Asia Pacific arm] and regain some lost ground. Can these new devices push O2 forward in 2007?

i-mate is also releasing new products not manufactured by HTC, the devices include JAQ3, JAQ etc. these devices are sort of a mixed bag. While having a relatively new form factor for PocketPC [always exposed keyboard + landscape qVGA display] these devices sport the very old and underpowered TI OMAP 850 processor and to date all i-mate devices to be released run on GPRS and EDGE [strange with UMTS being rolled out in most territories], Still i-mate maybe positioning itself on a different market namely the entry level or enterprise markets. That being said these devices from i-mate may not be the best spec'd but they may succeed if customers order them in bulk [i.e. for a sales force].

HTC dumped longtime customers to begin marketing their devices direct to the consumer. A bold move. I think initially this would impact HTC's sales negatively as Operators sell a lot of devices because they subsidize them. On the other hand once their brand is as well known as the operators' things will start to look up for HTC. Another potential problem is after sales service, it used to be that they sold the devices to operators and that was it. Now they have to face the end user and that will be tough. This to me is something that HTC doesn't seem ready for. Also I don't understand why dopod is being used for Asia. It just doesn't make branding sense to me. If they want global domination of the converged device market then they should really be using one name/brand/logo, it just confuses people. I mean we are living in the age of the internet, one could easily browse the net and see two very similar devices with different names/brands [much like what we had before HTC stepped out of the manufacturing shadow], well there may be some legal/regional/cultural issues hampering a sole brand for HTC, I just don't get why they aren't doing anything about it. That being said HTC/dopod should be concentrating on keeping their customer base by churning out better products and if possible making them cheaper [so as to be able to compete with op subsidized units, hmm actually they can still sell to op's but they will be branded as HTC instead of Vodafone or T-Mobile, so this is minor] also and more importantly they should improve after sales service and support, that way customers will stick with them.

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