Cast your eye across the row of media streaming icons on the HTC 10‘s packaging, and one of them may stand out as unusual. The new smartphone is the first Android device to support Apple’s AirPlay out of the box, allowing easier streaming of content from the smartphone to products like Apple TV.
Take a dig through the Play Store and you’ll come across a number of third-party apps to enable the same, but it’s a notable collaboration from two brand-name manufacturers.
According to HTC, however, it’s all part of a longer-term strategy that involves embracing as many options for users as possible, even if it hasn’t developed them itself.
“We are platform agnostic,” Darren Sng, vice president of product marketing, says of the company’s ambitions. That extends beyond just streaming standards, too: if Apple made Apple Pay available to third-party manufacturers, or Samsung did the same with Samsung Pay, the exec says, HTC would jump at the opportunity.
“You wouldn’t want credit card companies to determine what you can put in your wallet,” Sng points out, “so why would you want a particular vendor to decide what payment you put in your phone?”
It’s not hard to see why that would be beneficial for users, or indeed to a company like HTC – which might lack the resources or even inclination to develop its own payments system in-house – but it does depend on other OEMs being willing and able to share their toys.
Apple’s Steve Jobs, notoriously, promised in 2010 that FaceTime would become an open standard, something which for various reasons has failed to pan out.
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Then again, it can be a matter of getting the timing right. BlackBerry dragged its feet opening up BBM to third-party platforms and so, by the time its iOS and Android apps arrived, rivals like WhatsApp, iMessage, Google Hangouts, and others had already coaxed many of the once-loyal users away.
Whether other companies are so willing to allow HTC to join in remains to be seen, and though the strategy is a compelling one, it’s heavily dependent on cutting the sort of deals that often demand big bucks to unlock – cash HTC doesn’t necessarily have to spare.