Some business books have big fans in managers and employees of those companies that are always seeking the next “game changer” – one that promises to revolutionise a market and change the way the world looks at a particular product.
The iTunes store did this for downloading music in the early 2000s, and before that, Google was the game changer that killed off every other search engine because it was light years ahead of the competition.
But another theory is that incremental advancement, taking your existing product and improving it, rather than trying to reinvent it, is a much better way of doing business. This is because it shows that you listen to your customers – by keeping the things they like, and fixing the things they don’t.
And it’s the incremental approach that HTC has taken with it’s latest flagship model, the HTC One M9.
Just as the Apple iPhone has a distinct shape, layout and button, the HTC One is just as familiar to its fans for its distinctive design. The HTC One M9 is a small tweak on the popular One M8 model from a year ago.
The slightly curved back that helps the phone mould to your hand, the metallic body and the speakers that sit above and below the screen have all been retained. Even small design elements like the two plastic lines that stretch from side to side on the back panel of the One M9 have been left alone.
The power button has moved from its original position, and can now be found on the right hand side, rather than the top, which aligns it with the volume buttons.
The display screen of the HTC One M9 is the same as the five inch model that the One M8 sported. The changes are subtle, with the edges more angular which was in response to some comments that the rounded back coupled with smooth edges made the phone hard to grip and more prone to dropping for those with smaller hands.
The edges are also now accented, with the silver body having a gold accent, dark grey being complemented with shining silver and a polished gold edge featuring on phones with a gold back.
The BoomSounds speakers that have been retained will be a hit with those HTC fans who have gotten used to the stellar sound quality produced by the top and bottom positioned speakers. For movie or video watching, the phone is equipped with a nano-SIM and microSD card slot, which means that long format videos are much more transferable than with other phones.
For example, the latest Samsung flagships still do not come with expandable storage options, something that has irritated many who want to have the option to keep more content on their phones without having to constantly update and delete the phone memory.
The latest Andriod 5.0 Lollipop comes preloaded on the HTC One M9. But for those jumping ship to the One M9 from other Android operating phones, there will be a period of adjustment. That’s because HTC has heavily adapted the “stock” Android layout with their Sense 7 platform that sits on top of the Android system.
The advantages of Sense 7 are a clean layout with space between icons and the BlinkFeed news feed that collates all social media and relevant news in one convenient stream on the left of screen.
The improvements rolled out by HTC on this version of sense include the ability to customise in much more detail than before, including changing the colour, fonts and even themes that apply to the whole phone.
The camera is a hefty 20 megapixel offering that has been restored to the back of the phone after the brief experiment (probably driven by the selfie craze) of having the more powerful camera on the front of the phone.
The HTC One M9 has kept the eye catching good looks, sleek design and high quality finish of the well received M8, and added some flair and customisation with the software as well as tweaking the camera.
All in all, the incremental improvement approach looks to have been a winner for HTC on their new flagship, with existing fans likely to appreciate the improvements, while those looking to switch have new reasons to do so.