Former HTC Execs Launch UK Smartphone Maker Kazam

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Have two British ex-HTC executives jumped from the frying pan into the fire?

A smartphone startup, Kazam,  has been created in the UK by two mobile phone industry veterans, with the intention of launching new mobile devices later this year.

The firm  has been founded by two former executives of HTC, namely Michael Coombes, (former head of UK sales at HTC), and James Atkins (former HTC UK marketing boss). Few details are available, and no images except for a black-and-white logo (further down the article). Our picture shows the completely-unrelated but much more colourful 1996 movie Kazaam, starring Shaquille O’Neale.

Kazaam movie posterNew Player

Coombes and Atkins (who are pictured below)  both resigned from HTC in March as part of the ongoing executive exodus at the struggling Taiwenese smartphone maker. However, their plan to launch a new smartphone now makes it clear they are not averse to an uphill struggle.

The HTC refugees want to develop and build their own smartphone portfolio, despite the intense competition within the handset market at present. Indeed, Kazam is reportedly seeking to differentiate itself from the current crowd of smartphone makers by building “a new brand that really stands out in the mobile space.”

“We believe your smartphone is a digital reflection of who you are, and since we are all different, it’s important that we don’t adopt a one size fits all approach,” said a statement from Coombes (on the left in the picture), who is taking the CEO at Kazam. “Kazam’s dynamic structure and focus on local markets means we can react quickly to the ever evolving and diverging needs of today’s consumer. We aim to provide quality smartphones that are accessible to everyone.”

kazam excutives

“There is a real opportunity for a new mobile brand to disrupt the status quo,” said Atkins, who will be chief marketing officer. “We are passionate about delivering a truly positive mobile experience that doesn’t just stop once you’ve bought the phone.  Kazam is about stunning design, robust hardware and intuitive technology, underpinned by outstanding customer service.”

Kazam said it would launch a range of smartphones later this year.  The company has offices in Mayfair, London, and intends to build a “network of regional sales and marketing offices throughout Europe.”

There is no word at the moment on what mobile operating system will be used. Android is of course the obvious choice, but Samsung dominates that particular mobile operating system.

Kazam logo

Other mobile operating system options are also available to the company, including Firefox OS, Ubuntu Mobile OS, Sailfish and even Tizen. Kazam told TechweekEurope that it cannot provide any more information at this stage.

Tough Competition

And lets not forget that Kazam will not exactly be alone in the market. It faces some seriously heavyweight competition from the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Nokia, as well other players such as BlackBerry, Sony, LG, ZTE, HTC, and Huawei.

And it is not as if there aren’t any other rival smartups either.

Finnish startup Jolla for example is to ship its first smartphone running Sailfish sometime this year. Meanwhile the first smartphones running the mobile version of Ubuntu are also expected to appear on shop shelves in October. Firefox-based smartphones are already in developer hands.

Do you know all about the Android platform? Take our quiz!