HTC talks strategy behind smartphone colors, why carriers won't offer some shades

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: April 20, 2012

HTC One X

Yesterday our own Aaron Baker was on hand at the HTC Frequencies conference in Seattle at which the manufacturer mentioned that it'd be shifting away from including physical keyboards in its future devices, and this morning the gathering continued with a discussion on HTC's device design strategy. In response to a question about the strategy when it comes to choosing a smartphone's colors, as Eric Lin, HTC's manager of product strategy, explained that carriers can be kind of picky when it comes to other colors, saying "How do you tell AT&T to sell a red phone, or Sprint to sell a red phone?" He added that you can "get in a place where there's a lot of carrier loyalty to one color, or carrier hatred for another color," so HTC avoided colors like "AT&T blue" and tried testing a number of different hues.

Lin also touched on consumer reaction to differently-colored smartphones. He said that while "more men own smartphones than women," HTC has found that white handsets have helped "to open up women to smartphones." Folks are apparently not quite as excited when it comes to crazier hues, though, as Lin explained that the reaction that the majority of people have to colored phones are that they're "something for kids" and that few feel that they can be successful with a colorful device. That hasn't stopped HTC from tinkering with different colors, as Lin said that the company is experimenting with different shades via cases.

At times it can definitely feel like we're just seeing black slab after black slab released into the market, so while it's kind of a bummer to hear that some folks aren't totally into the idea of colorful handsets, it's good to hear that HTC is at least testing the waters with some differently colored cases. It's also interesting to hear how carriers can be hard-set against certain colors, although it makes sense when you consider that the major carriers can be so tied to a certain hue (like AT&T blue and Sprint yellow). Where do you all stand on colored smartphones? Do you like plain black or white or would you prefer something a tad different?