So little space to differentiate

HTC has announced that it is shutting down HTCSense.com, the device firm’s portal that enables users to sync their contacts, messages, footprints and call history.

HTC has been caught between Microsoft and Google. There is no room for customized UI with Windows Phone and it is the same with Android and its non-fragmentation agreement. Furthermore, the services provided by HTCSense have been commoditized by the OS vendors: Microsoft Live and Google Mail are backing up all the device data in the background so you can access these data from your PC, tablet or a new device.

HTC Sense UI

The real question for device makers is ‘beyond hardware how can they differentiate from one another?’. Except for the ones with a fully integrated approach like Apple, the solution is to come from the outside.

Customers are lost in the zillions of applications available from the Application markets. I think they would appreciate some help from their preferred device manufacturer to pick up the best ones.

Which games? Which weather application? etc.

Device makers need to do something quite unusual for them: open to third parties, discuss partnerships and not try to do everything by themselves. The same service has much more value if provided by the top Internet brand than by the manufacturers. In these times of hardship, device makers need to focus on their hardware core business again and again.

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