Why Doesn't HTC Make More Quad-Band World Phones? I Asked, And They Answered
When HTC announce a new phone, it's almost always a European-band version, and when we publish information about it on our sites people will invariably comment that
Here's the question I asked to one of my contacts at HTC:
"Why is it that HTC consistently focuses on tri-band GSM devices? HTC typically releases a European-focused tri-band GSM phone, then months later, releases a North American-focused tri-band GSM version. Is it a technological limitation, or a marketing decision? And if it’s a marketing decision, is it driven by the phone carriers or HTC? Why don’t we see more quad-band GSM phones from HTC?"
And the answered I received from HTC was as follows:
"The initial models of Touch Diamond and Touch Pro have been optimized for European / Asian bands because HTC is launching with partners in those countries first. These models do not feature 850/1900/2100 3G as on many of our previous flagship models as European partners have now begun operating 3G on a second band – 900 MHz, and it is difficult to optimize for 4 bands of 3G as well as multiple 2G bands. The considerably smaller size of the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro compared to our previous 3G devices makes this task even more difficult, especially as many of our smaller previous models did not feature GPS. Additional models of both handsets optimized for other regions will launch in the second half of 2008."
So, reading between the lines a bit, it really comes down to size - and the number of bands each type of chip needs to support. 2G is limited to four bands in total, so I think that's why we saw a few 2G quad-band phones. When you look at 3G, however, things get much more complicated: in Europe the 3G bands being used are 2100 MHz and 900 MHz, and 1800 MHz is coming down the pipe. Australia uses 2100 MHz and 850 MHz, and the US needs to support 850, 1900, and 1700 MHz (T-Mobile's 3G network). So a true world phone would require five or six bands for full 3G support, plus the four 2G bands - we're up to nine or ten bands now. And you can't forget about the WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, so you have to add antennae for those as well.
Now take all those engineering requirements and cross-reference them against consumer trends for smaller, thinner, and lighter phones with better and better battery life...and you realize that HTC can't do everything in one phone. Not today at least - I'm sure we'll see chips and antenna designs be created that will allow some convergence, but for now this seems to be the best they can do.