HTC Joins IBM To Bolster Sales With An Enterprise Mobility Initiative


IBM and HTC have struck up a partnership that could make the Taiwanese phone maker a major enterprise player

HTC, a maker of smartphones and tablets, hopes its new partnership with IBM, coupled with the mobility hardware maker’s success in the consumer space, will help launch strong sales in the enterprise market.

The company only recently began targeting enterprises, said David Jaeger, executive director Global Enterprise and Services at HTC, in an interview with eWEEK during IBM Lotusphere and Connect. During the general session that kicked-off Lotusphere, IBM executives demonstrated their smart business applications running on HTC smartphones and tablets.

Going for gold

“It’s only been really relatively recently that HTC has broken into the enterprise space. We’re driving toward that magic 100-million device number globally,” Jaeger said. “We see IBM as the gold standard for an enterprise partnership. We want to make sure if IBM is talking about Android or tablets, HTC is in the conversation.”

HTC worked closely with IBM to ensure its mobile devices employed the features and capabilities of IBM’s business software, he said. The mobility device-maker also focused extensively on security, added Jaeger.

Propelled by Apple’s success with the iPad, a growing number of vendors are targeting the tablet market. Android tablets are rapidly gaining marketshare, and developers are predicted to ship more than 116 million tablets based on Google’s operating system by 2015 compared with about 11 million last year, according to Gartner. By comparison, Apple’s iPad sales are slated to increase to more than 148 million in 2015 compared with almost 47 million in 2011, the researcher found.

“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Android can count on strong support from key OEMs, has a sizeable developer community, and its smartphones application ecosystem is second only to Apple’s.”

Worldwide, at 186 million units expected to ship by 2015, tablet sales will represent almost 36 percent of total PC sales, according to Computer Industry Almanac. Within the United States the percentage will be higher: Tablet sales are forecast to be more than 53 million units or more than 43 percent of total PC sales, the report said.

Looking to differentiate itself from competitors, HTC developed its stylus and Scribe software to deliver increased functionality on its tablets, including the Flyer, Jetstream and EVO View. HTC currently has about 35 applications – some targeted at consumers, some developed with enterprises in-mind – to use the stylus’ strengths, Will Ro, director of Global Enterprise Operations and Strategy at HTC, told eWEEK.

“There’s a certain amount of precision with what you can do with the pen,” he said. “Our stylus is an active stylus.”

Enterprises can design their own applications for HTC’s tablets. And the company is partnering with third-party developers to further extend the tablet’s capabilities, he said.

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