Steve Ballmer and Peter Chou: HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S Launch

Editor’s note – Sept. 19, 2012 –

The transcript below was corrected to reflect that the speaker referred to the Windows Phone 8X as the device that includes a built-in dedicated amplifier

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome to the stage the CEO of HTC, Peter Chou. (Applause.)

PETER CHOU: Good morning. Thanks for coming. Today is going to be another incredible moment for the mobile industry. We all have experiences how mobile has changed our lives. It’s easy to take it for granted, but the power of mobile continually amazes me.

I’ve been in the mobile industry for more than 15 years, and I still find it incredible what smartphones can do today. We’ve all had these moments that make us say, wow, and it’s these moments that open our eyes for the new possibilities.

Today, you are going to see how HTC and Microsoft are bringing you all new experiences. Today, you are going to see what’s new from one of the longest standing partnerships in our industry. You are going to see what happens when beautiful software inspires beautiful hardware.

Windows Phone is an important part of HTC’s heritage. We have more experience making Windows Phone than anyone. We have sold more Windows Phone than anyone, and we know Windows Phone better than anyone.

When I first saw Windows Phone 8 I got super excited. When people try Windows Phone 8 for the first time it just clicks. It really comes alive when you put your personality and passion in it.

There is the gorgeous tile design of the UI. It’s simple and clean. It’s just so fluid and responsive. It gives you even more connection to the world of you.

And Microsoft is bringing even more cool experiences and services to Windows Phone. It puts what is important to you front and center.

I met with Steve Ballmer earlier this year to discuss Windows Phone. Steve and I talked about how HTC and Microsoft had an opportunity to go bigger and better than ever. We talked about how we needed to do something different to get the consumer really excited about Windows Phone, and we agreed we have to create hero phones, and that our integrated marketing needed to focus on those hero phones. After working with Microsoft for 15 years, this is the most exciting thing we have done.

When I came out from that meeting with Steve it was clear what HTC had to do. I told our designer, “Hey, look, we have to take a completely fresh approach. We need a breakthrough. We need an iconic Windows Phone.” Then our designer came up with this, unmistakable HTC Windows Phone. And once they saw these new designs, he said, whoa, and he got super excited, and you know what happens when Steve gets excited. (Laughter.)

Today, I’m pleased Steve can share his excitement with you personally. Please welcome my good friend, Steve Ballmer. (Applause.)

STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks to Peter. It’s great, great, great to be here today. Thanks to all of you. This is really an exciting day for me and I’m glad to be able to be here.

There’s really no question that we’ve taken a very different and I think quite unique approach with Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 is the most personal experience ever created for a phone. The Windows Phone 8 experience is truly unique in how it can be tailored and personalized to each and every individual on the planet, so right at your fingertips are all of the people and things that really matter most in your life.

Peter said that beautiful software inspires beautiful hardware. The phones that HTC and Microsoft are revealing today are really indeed beautiful, beautiful phones, and congratulations to Peter and his team. And I am also indeed very excited to be here.

Today’s also a significant milestone for HTC and Microsoft. We’re opening the next chapter in what Peter certainly properly characterized as a very longstanding partnership, and what we are revealing today is HTC’s and Microsoft’s biggest endeavor yet.

So, please, Peter, let’s get to it.

PETER CHOU: Thank you.

So, Steve and I aren’t the only ones who are excited. We’ve shown the new design to partners and industry experts, and it’s clear they love what they see in Windows Phone 8. They’re excited and they’re pumped, because they want something new, they want something personal, and they want something unique. Today, they are getting it.

(Video segment.)

PETER CHOU: Ladies and gentlemen, we are excited to announce Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC. (Applause.)

Beautiful design is at the heart of both the software and hardware. They are magically thin. They are the most pure design we have ever had. This is the first phone designed from inside out to put people first. Everything is in perfect harmony.

STEVE BALLMER: The experience on the Windows Phone 8 is unlike the experience on any other phone. As I said, no other phone keeps you closer to the people and information and other things that really matter to you in your life.

The HTC team built this hardware from the ground up to really showcase the Windows Phone software.

The Windows Phone 8X is truly a Windows Phone hero product. It has an iconic design — rounded, smooth, thin — incredible cameras, and killer, killer sound.

Consumers are going to love these phones, and we’re committed to reaching them in a manner that’s as clear and direct as the products are simple and personal, through a new approach, a new and simpler approach to the branding and naming of these products.

We saw an opportunity with HTC to communicate in this clear way. So, we jumped at the chance to name these phones very simply. This just is the Windows Phone 8X and this is the Windows Phone 8S. We think this approach will help us tell our story very crisply and clearly to consumers. You want a Windows Phone, sure, 8X, 8S.

Windows Phone 8 is a fantastic, fantastic experience, and the Windows Phone 8X and 8S are beautiful devices, and together with HTC we have a very clear branding and go-to-market strategy. The magical combination is to say I want a Windows Phone, and HTC will be there with the 8X and the 8S.

It’s an honor to be here today and to welcome the Windows Phone 8X and 8S to the Windows family. It’s an exciting time for Microsoft. This is the year of Windows PCs, Windows Phones, and we are delivering I think some of the most remarkable choices to consumers all over the world.

We are incredibly enthused at what we can do together with our partners and with HTC, and again I want to thank Peter and congratulate him and all of the fine people at HTC who’ve worked so hard to create these wonderful products.

Thank you. (Applause.)


So, thank you, Steve, for sharing this great moment for HTC and Microsoft.

So, you clearly heard Steve say if you want Windows Phone, this is Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S.

Of course, these phones have power. That’s what you would expect from HTC. And we are also bringing some HTC unique experiences to the Windows Phone for the first time ever.

But HTC’s Windows Phone 8X and HTC 8S also have personality. The innovative design with eye-catching colors really makes them stand out. They look and feel like nothing else on the market.

To tell you more about the design and features, please welcome HTC head of design, Scott Croyle. (Applause.)

SCOTT CROYLE: Thanks, Peter.

When Peter first came to us to discuss our plans for Windows Phone 8, we looked to the user experience as the spark. Actually within the design community the user experience is widely recognized as being groundbreaking and innovative. The visual design of the tiles is modern and imparts a certain lightness and is unmistakably fresh. The design has been reduced down to a pure, honest gesture. This is why I like Windows Phone.

Microsoft has set a clear differentiated version for mobile. But the physical manifestation, the actual phone, it’s been more of the same. There’s nothing that’s gotten me really excited. The form factors have been heavy and thick, the gestures basically recycled from previous eras. There’s been no phone that’s truly embodied the promise if Windows Phone.

While our goal was to create Windows Phones that represented Windows, we wanted them to stand up against any phone in the market. So, using the Windows Phone user experience as inspiration we saw the opportunity to create some special. We wanted to create a symbiotic relationship between the virtual and the physical.

At HTC our design philosophy can be summed up with three words: simple, crafted, and human. And we found a lot of common ground between our philosophy and the design of the Windows Phone experience, particularly the Live Tiles. The tiles have the simplest of design, and the content on them, it’s all about being personal.

So, we started with this flat two-dimensional object, and imagined transforming it by adding a third dimension. The results are phones that are the perfect 3D embodiment of the simple, pure design of the tile.

This unique design was made possible because we worked with our engineers to radically re-architect the traditional layout of a mobile phone. We stacked the components inside like a pyramid, enabling a fundamental change that allows us to achieve a number of details on the 8X, and give them a simple human feel.

This breakthrough in engineering has enabled us to produce a profile that’s magically thin at the edge, that both looks and feels incredible. In fact, when you pick up these phones, you’ll instantly recognize that you’ve never seen or held a phone like it.

We’ve taken this innovative architecture and combined it with our unique unibody construction that enables us to have a perfectly sculpted form with no bumps or protrusions. The camera, the buttons, they’re all perfectly flush with the surface. This seamless surfacing is enhanced by three-dimensional Gorilla Glass that wraps and flows over all four sides, giving it a solid, premium feel.

You know, some of the small things often go unnoticed, yet they’re often the most important. For example, we’ve micro-drilled the 245 speaker holes on the front and back of the 8X. This has allowed us to have smaller holes and crisper edges than otherwise possible. Most people don’t recognize these small touches, but these are the details that make the 8X and 8S feel special.

When we created the 8X and 8S we wanted them to work together as a family with each other, but also work together with the Windows Phone 8. The 8S is smaller, which naturally gives it a more playful feeling and a distinct personality. The 8S supports this vibrant strip like the phone’s been dipped in color. The result is a powerful phone but has a unique playful character.

Color has always been an integral part of Windows Phone. So, from the very beginning we considered the design and color holistically, a fully integrated approach to both the industrial design and the user experience.

When we began developing the 8X and 8S we envisioned bringing them alive with color. We wanted the colors to be bold, sophisticated, and adventurous, just as diverse as the people who use them.

We’re really proud of the detail and craftsmanship that went into these phones. I’d like you to hear from some of the team that worked on perfecting them.

(Video segment.)

SCOTT CROYLE: You can see that with the 8X and 8S we’ve really pulled out the stops and created something great. We’ve created phones that have a remarkably unique profile that feel really thin at the edge. We’ve created phones that have this most pure design and the ultimate embodiment of the Windows Phone experience, and we’ve created two phones that I believe when you hold them and you see them for the first time you’ll recognize that you’ve never experienced something like this before.

You know, as smartphones take on ever more functions we’ve made some big investments in a couple of key areas. It’s clear when you look at Facebook and Twitter and other services that the smartphone is the camera that people use most often.

Earlier this year, we set a new bar in mobile photography with the HTC1’s camera. Today, we’re bringing the same technology to Windows Phone.

The 8X features the very same camera module, as well as the same dedicated imaging chip. It features a best-in-class F2.0 lens, optimizing the experience for low-light photography, so your pictures will be great even when the lighting isn’t.

The 8X improves every part of picture-taking. It reduces noise, improves light gathering, and enhances color accuracy.

And how many times have you been at a party or a concert or at a restaurant and you want to take a picture with you and your friends so you remember that moment? Well, the photo typically captures your head, no background, and it’s tough to get your friends in the shot.

Well, with the 8X we now have a front camera that is more than an afterthought. We’ve designed in a 2.1 megapixel front camera that captures full 1080p HD video, and features a best-in-class F2.0 lens for great low-light photography.

On top of all that, we’re introducing an ultra-wide 88-degree lens. It’s triple the area of most front cameras. What does that really mean? Well, you show not only you and the background, but you can get a bunch of your friends as well.

We’re all using phones to enjoy and discover music, video and games, but the sound quality has always left something to be desired.

HTC and Beats partnership has allowed us to set a new bar in mobile sound. Today, Beats Audio is coming to Windows Phone for the first time ever.

But we’re raising the bar even higher. On the 8X we’ve developed and integrated a dedicated amplifier and built it right into the phone. It pumps more power than ever to the headphones. Combined with Beats Audio you get higher treble, deeper bass, greater clarity, and less noise.

And how many times have you wanted to show a friend a video you’ve downloaded from the Web or a video you shot with your phone, but you’re all standing around the phone struggling to hear the audio? Well, that same amplifier also drives the speaker. It constantly monitors the speaker condition, adjusts the signal, dynamically adjusts the signal, ensuring that you get the best quality and loudest volume possible.

We’re really proud of the 8X and 8S, with their unique design and color that achieves true unity between the phone and the user experience. We’re really proud to bring a great photography experience that turns your phone into a high-end camera, and we’re really proud to bring Beats Audio and a powerful built-in amplifier, giving you the richest sound of any phone, period.

These phones are the true heroes that Windows Phone has been waiting for.

For more details on availability I’d like to welcome HTC president Jason Mackenzie. Thanks. (Applause.)

JASON MACKENZIE: We’re going big with these phones. See, our two companies saw that we had a huge opportunity in front of us, but we also agreed that in order for us to capitalize on that opportunity we had to do things differently.

The first priority was easy and obvious: We had to deliver a wow design that would stand out from the rest of the crowd and clearly fulfill the promise of Windows Phone 8. And as you’ve seen, I think we’ve done just that.

But equally important was that we needed to bring these devices to market in the right way, in a big way. And as a result, HTC and Microsoft are working closer than ever to deliver a single, integrated campaign.

Now, what does that mean? Well, it means that together Microsoft and HTC will position the 8X and 8S as the signature phones of Windows Phone 8. You see, this is the reason we wanted to name them the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S, to make it crystal clear to the consumer.

It also means that we’ll be bringing the 8X and 8S to more markets and more partners than any other Windows Phone that HTC has ever shipped, and it means that we’re going to be completely aligned in our messaging from the ads that our customers will see on TV to the message you’ll receive when you walk into the retail stores.

Simply put, this is the biggest, most ambitious launch that our two companies have ever partnered on before.

So, when will it be available and where can you buy it? Well, I’m happy to tell you that the 8X and 8S will be available starting in November. I’m happy to tell you that together the 8X and the 8S will be available on 150 mobile operators in over 50 countries around the world. And here in the U.S. the 8X will be available on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

So, as you’ve seen, HTC and Microsoft are super excited about these phones, but to feel that same excitement we’re excited to get these in your hands so that you can start feeling and experience that for yourselves.

So, I’d like to thank you guys for your time, thank you for investing this time to be with us, and invite you to join the demo area and get some hands-on time with the 8X and the 8S.

Thank you. (Applause.)