Most disinterested people I have talked to hereagree that the HTC One is really quite a super phone but here in Taipei it’s losing out on the marketing front.
And it’s to South Korean Samsung, which has giant adverts plastered all over Taiwan.
In terms of marketing money, Samsung has incomparably more at its disposal and seems to know how to use it.
It wouldn’t be the first time and no doubt it won’t be the last time that marketing has beat a better product down.
So what’s HTC to do? There isn’t an easy answer to that either. It might try changing its logo – which is a feeble little thing – and talking to journalists more than it currently does.
The public wi-fi system that is available throughout Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a brilliant idea that should be emulated in the Smoke (London), in the City of Screaming Squires (Oxford), and, well, more or less anywhere. We’re here in Olde Taipei for Computex 2013.
It is a disgrace that wi-fi, which has really become a public utility, is still charged for in many a place – especially hotels in the UK at exorbitant rates.
We had a chance to sample Taipei wi-fi the other night, taking a snap and uploading it without any problem at all. It hasn’t worked since, so I set out to find out why.
Basically, the reason it hasn’t worked for me since is that I a Brit, and the wi-fi, which does work for aliens from different countries, requires a special protocol to be present, as you can see on this TPE Wi-Fi page. Currently only 20 countries use the International mobile SMS authentication that the Taipei government accepts.
There is an alternative – you can go to one of six physical locations and get yourself registered – but of course you have to know where these places are, which might be tricky unless you know your way around the city.
One local told us that he used to use TPE Free all the time, but recently it asks that you log-in every time you connect which he finds a nuisance. That’s apparently been implemented because of security concerns.
Nevertheless, the existence of TPE Free has meant that here in Old Taipei, you’ll find many places which offer free wi-fi. The swanky hotels that don’t really ought to be ashamed of themselves.
* For a great way to understand Taipei and Computex 2013, if you’re a first time visitor, we recommend We View Taiwan video log.
As I was having a mango and orange juice round the corner from the somewhat unique hotel I’m staying in here in Old Taipei, I had an invitation from Sascha Pallenberg, I popped round to pay a visit to Mobile Geeks, and it was something of an eye opener.
Sascha, and fellow reporter Nicole Scott, have offices in rather a swanky building on the 11th floor of an office block near the metro. Obviously they are gearing up for next week’s Computex but we had time for a chat about the state of the tablet market.
Sascha showed me two tables – one Chinese one sells for $35, while the other, a well built machine from Ramos, sells for $225. Both are Android devices and Sascha tells me there are dozens, maybe hundreds of these babies manufactured in China, which obviously has implications for the big boys, the Taiwanese boys and, well, the whole world. Heck, you could bundle a $35 notebook with a carton of cigarettes, I suggested.
Can you obtain these machines in the USA and Europe? Well, you can certainly get hold of the Ramos machine – check out its site here. But most of the tablets, Sascha suggested, were destined for the Asian, Indian and African markets, where no one can lash out the amounts of cash Apple and others expect.
The real question for me is how vendors can possibly expect people to pay vast sums of money in the USA and Europe when it’s obviously not hard for the Chinese to master manufacturing and with a bill of materials at a considerably less cost. Surely it can only be a matter of time before the majors are forced to slash prices to match the Chinese offerings – and then it will be a case of just how they can make such big margins as they do now, in the future.
And with the heady mix of Windows tablets, Android tablets battling it out, where exactly is this going to leave the old guard – Microsoft and Intel?
Computex 2013 begins next week – a jamboree where there’s a chance to meet a plethora of industry types from all over the world and those at the heart of the supply chain.
We’ll be covering all the important announcements on both ChannelEye and our brother pub TechEye.net.
And here we’ll be bringing you all the gossip and yak yak we hear on the grapevine and on the Nangang strasse.
Let’s start with a juicy story that demonstrates how business is done differently in Asia than in Europe. Well, we think UK vendors [what vendors, Ed?] wouldn’t find themselves in an analogous situation. A well known vendor from Old Taipei found himself being entertained in the Philippines recently, with lashings of very strong beer and a delicious goulash like soup. At the end of the evening, the vendor asked his hosts about the delicious stew – to be told that they’d been supping speciality dish horse penis soup.
All the main news buzz over here is about aggressive acts by the Philippines against a Taiwanese boat recently. That led, we hear, to a Canadian woman being unceremoniously ejected from one of the famous Taipei cabs because the driver thought she was a Filipino.
You might remember the other week that several HTC suits in America were beamed out of the company – prompting speculation that there was something afoot in the beleagured Taiwanese company. It turns out many of the suits were ex-employees at the Redmond Volehill and, strangely enough, the Microsoft culture didn’t fit with the HTC culture. Once, of course, Microsoft and HTC were very pally indeed, introducing a smartphone superficially very similar to a really pioneering smartphone from a British company that ended up successfully suing Microsoft.
Meanwhile, some folks are very enthusiastic about Intel’s announcements next week of its Haswell technology. Bitter and twisted hacks over at sis pub TechEye believe the chip giant isn’t going to do Haswell as people expected. That, of course, remains to be seen but expect that Intel’s new CEO, already dubbed “Special K” and who was speedy to institute a purge of positions at Chipzilla, will be watching its progress with some degree of trepidation. So will we, Mr K, so will we.
More – and there will be much more – later.
* If you’re new to Computex and to Taiwan, check out this site – We View Taiwan – for some really useful information.