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What Will Save HTC?

Steven Blum
25

2012 was a rough year for HTC. The Taiwanese manufacturer saw its stock price go down by 80% and its market share slip to just 4%, further solidifying the dominance of both Apple and Samsung. But if you look at the phones HTC released over the past twelve months, many were great. The HTC One X was praised for its incredible display and lightning fast processor; the HTC One S was beloved by reviewers for its great camera and appearance. HTC even updated theirWindows phones, promising to give Nokia a run for its money. So what's the issue?

"Marketing," says HTC chief Peter Chou. "Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven't done enough on the marketing front."

Usually, when companies attribute their failures to lackluster marketing, I am dubious. But in this instance, I think HTC is right. While Samsung was pouring millions into brilliant Apple attack ads, HTC was…well..I'm not even sure what they were doing. Certainly not convincing the masses to buy their phones.

Currently, HTC's shipments are down a whopping 42.5 percent, according to the IDC. It will certainly take more than a few clever ads to get HTC out of their current slump. But if the company is able to play to their strengths (excellent workmanship, cutting-edge design, and a better UI than most manufacturers) they just might stage a turn-around. I'd encourage the company to focus on innovation and forget about gimmicky schemes like the addition of Beats audio.

What do you think will save HTC?

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Comments

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  • Todd Martineau Jan 4, 2013 Link

    I bought five original HTC Droid Incredibles in 2010; one for each member of my family. We truly loved these phones and three are still in service. However in 2012 when we wanted to upgrade our phones on our Verizon account what choice did we have? The Samsung S3 or the HTC Droid Incredible 4? Come on; you can't seriously think we would have picked the HTC phone in this case. I was drooling over the One X that HTC sent over to AT&T but it wasn't available on my carrier. In this case my buying decision had NOTHING to do with marketing and everything to do with available product.

    Also, I was getting sick of Sense and ready to try something new. Even if that meant the dreaded Touchwiz. HTC is putting out a good phone but the 2010 Droid Incredible magic seems to be lost. Every HTC phone looks like a Thunderbolt to me now. Couldn't they try thinking outside the box again and come up with something more interesting to look at than Sense? Maybe even just renaming it would help me. Also, try making a phone with a different shape just to shake things up. Make an angular slab like Motorola does just to force me to reconsider HTC.

    At this point I am bored with HTC and they need to do something to get me thinking about them again. It's going to have to be pretty darn good though....my Samsung S3 has been pretty awesome.

    It seems like other phone manufacturers have something outside the phone to offer as well. My Samsung S3 seems to be really good at wirelessly connecting to my Samsung TV. Motorola has been making lapdocks/car docks, etc. Apple has billions of snap on accessories/cases. What does HTC have outside the phone? Nothing that I know of.

    Marketing? Yeah, HTC could use that. But they need to seriously get back to the drawing board as well. Good luck HTC.

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  • exor430 Jan 4, 2013 Link

    1)Price
    2)Battery life
    3)Removable storage/battery
    4)Wider range of phone

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  • Steven Blum Jan 4, 2013 Link

    exor 430, agree completely. removable battery is SORELY needed, as is a wider range of phones for different market segments.

    todd: dude, i feel you on literally everything you said. i think your story is similar to that of many smartphone shoppers. sense is also becoming incredibly stale looking, even if it isn't as cluttered as touchwiz or ugly as motoblur. i think the best thing htc has going for them right now is their design. they're going to need a lot more than that.

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  • Lorraine Skelding Jan 4, 2013 Link

    I was waiting to upgrade my Desire HD and had been dreaming of getting the One X from way back when it was a rumour. What happened when mobile world congress 2012 finally took place & the One X was released? HTC made 2 huge mistakes in my opinion... no external memory card slot & a non removable battery? Instantly the One X was no longer an option for me & I had to swallow my pride & get my first ever Samsung phone (GS3) but my god am I glad I did cos the S3 is a dream. HTC would have to come up with something mind blowing now to win my custom back from Samsung & that's hardly likely.

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  • Todd Martineau Jan 4, 2013 Link

    I think all Android manufacturers need to focus on what makes Android unique. Make it an Android phone by focussing on Android strengths; not iPhone strengths. If I wanted an iPhone I would just buy one. I don't want the cheaper knock off of anything.

    When I'm shopping for a device I want to pick the best device out there so the phone has to have great specs and all available options. (I'm going to want removable battery, DLNA, HDMI out, HDMI mirroring, NFC, accessories, wireless charging, etc) I'm going to want the phone to have a great screen and look nice.

    Also, I want to buy a phone that is going to sell really well because then it will have more forum support/custom roms and accessories available.

    HTC had all that going for it with the original Droid Incredible. Go back and read the reviews from mid 2010; everyone was drooling over that phone. They had an amazing phone with fantastic specs packed into a tiny phone. Tiny was the in-thing in 2010. Big was the in-thing for 2012.

    Samsung had great specs, the promise of lots of sales (and then forum/accessory support afterwards), great price ($200.; not $300.) for its S3 phone. HTC never showed up to play (at least at Verizon) in 2012. By the time they got their HTC DNA phone out the door it was too late. 30 million S3s had been sold. Game over for 2012.

    It was amazing that a company I had never heard of showed up with the latest and greatest in 2010. HTC needs to do that again if they want me to come back.

    Easier said than done HTC needs to give customers a compelling reason to buy their products instead of someone else's. Samsung added ALOT to their phones this time. Useless features? Maybe. But on a sales comparison sheet one phone in 2012 offered Smart Stay, Svoice, Gestures/motions, etc, etc and that meant something to me when I was deciding. HTC, what can you do to your phone to make it stand out? Running Android smoothly and in hi res isn't enough anymore.

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  • Eddie Cooper Jan 5, 2013 Link

    Very simple for me; HTC lost me when they expected me to put up with the relatively low power processor of the OneV to be able to expand my storage. The irony that the OneV could have a total of about 40GB compared to the flag ship being limited to 32GB.

    Not everyone has flawless signal to access cloud storage everywhere they go & if they do then they end up forced into high data usage to access MP3s they already had stored on a memory card on their old phone.

    Nexus devices won't sell too me either until they get expandable storage.

    However HTC re-style their devices, bundle accessories or shoot skydiving commercials, I won't return to their devices until this is put right.

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  • Niels Christiansen Jan 5, 2013 Link

    One factor that made me abandon HTC was the non-update of the Desire HD. Enter Sony (Ericsson).

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  • Adamos Makis Jan 6, 2013 Link

    Like others said is thinks like removable battery that make samsung phones by far the best selling androids
    Sure having the fastest SOC and the greatest display is great and all but when you limit me at only 16gb ( looking at you droid DNA ) with no microSD and you force me to use a non user replaceable battery then yes i'm gonna look elsewhere and even though by late 2012 phones with greater specs than my international GS3 came out i still got GS3 because
    1.Removable MicroSd
    2. Removable battery
    3. Touchwiz. Sure it feels cluttered but it surpassed sense in funtionality ( and i dare say even looks )
    4.Updates. Look at HTC's 2011 flagship devices and look at galaxy S2. Guess what phone is getting 4.1.2 jelly bean . When samsung updated S2 to ice cream sandwich HTC was still at gingerbread ( and still is for what it matters )

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  • Eddie Cooper Jan 6, 2013 Link

    ... & if you are tied to a 24 month contract you need way more storage than you currently need to see you through.

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  • Ilgaz Jan 6, 2013 Link

    They have lost trust of their existing customers by simply not updating anything. Oh yea, they upgraded things to Android 4 but left bugs (such as horrible cpu usage in boot) non fixed.
    Now, the freaking htc hub crashes because server is dead. Can you believe?
    I have used Nokia symbian, things got never this ugly amateur.
    Why should I upgrade to another htc when they give hell to my existing, working handset?
    I dislike Samsung, if Sony really fixed itself, it could be Sony or if asus gets into phone biz with own brand...

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  • Jeroen Jan 6, 2013 Link

    Stop locking down bootloader...and listen to your customers...

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    Guy Devos Jan 9, 2013 Link

    External storage (micro sd)
    Replacable battery
    Unlocked bootloader
    Dump bloatware and Sense

    If all this happens, I'll think it over.

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  • David K. Jan 9, 2013 Link

    Sorry to see the decline in sales, they have a great selection of phones. Usually find them reliable. Here's hoping that 2013 will be better for them

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  • Todd Martineau Jan 9, 2013 Link

    Sometimes I find big companies to be SOOOO frustrating. Supposedly they do all this market research with thousands of people. But then when the product is released I'm like 'Really? You think THAT is actually going to sell at THAT price?!' Each company needs to have a super-pessimist who doesn't care what anyone thinks who will say 'That's garbage! Get it out of my face before my brain explodes out my eyeballs!!!!' or 'Lower the price or you're all fired!!!!!'

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  • Gary Atkinson Jan 9, 2013 Link

    I think they should sack whoever decided not to have user replaceable batteries, and to not have upgradable memory.
    Those were the only reasons that I chose the S3.
    Looks like the tried to be like Apple??

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  • Michael Robinson Jan 9, 2013 Link

    Like many have said already, give me a removable battery, expandable storage and ONE phone that I can get across all carriers. Whoever your focus group is who says that the above doesn't matter, well I guess 4% actually is millions of people however you missed the mark. My smartphone buy was made easy for me in 2012. I use Verizon (check), want an Android phone (check), want a removable battery and expandable memory (check). Want a best in class handset (check and mate); an S3 it is! Keep on making locked down phones for those uninformed people that don't care and you will eventually have to quit this race.

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    The Watcher Jan 9, 2013 Link

    I have been with HTC for a few years now, but decided to skip on the "One" series due to lack of battery + expandable memory. That is unacceptable. I'll wait for their next model, and if that one also doesn't have those options, I'll switch to something else that does.

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  • CJ Brown Jan 10, 2013 Link

    I'm right where Todd is @ (& I'm still milking this original HTC Droid Incredible to death); even though Verizon + HTC finally delivered (1/2 a year too late) the HTC Droid DNA (about f'n time!) ...


    Their marketing sucks (I saw a few advertisements in Wired magazine - financed by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon for their respective HTC ONE X, ONE S, Droid DNA) & is non existent online / on television (sorry, HTC, but you have to pimp yourself to America harder in 2013!) ...


    Finally? Quit being exclusive to Carriers ! Start embracing "No Contract" (& with better phones then the HTC EVO 4G / HTC ONE V 3G & their 5 mega pixel camera dual core processors) like Samsung did (Galaxy S 3 via Metro PCS - winning!) & start accepting Android users want better battery life + an expandable memory via an sd card slot ...


    Get with it, HTC, or get the f' out !

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  • Ken Eignus Jan 10, 2013 Link

    Agree with 90% + of those opinions before me.
    I started with the H1 now for some inability to change I am locked with this EVO LTE . It is close to junk. I couldn't be feel more dissatisfaction. Sprint could care less.

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  • deep rooted Jan 16, 2013 Link

    I started with the HTC Vision, HTC Glacier, HTC Doubleshot, HTC Pyramid and now my current device, HTC Ruby. All in a span of two years, mainly because they held out on technology, and hand fed us feature by feature with every new device. Well, after so many swaps just to get the newest os, I am done. Why is it that my one year old htc amaze will not recieve jellybean after barely reaching one year of age, when the samsung gs2, which was released on the same day (for tmobile) and contains the same processor, and yet the gs2 is recieving jellybean update? Well, we all know the answer, they dont care if your stuck with a subsidized device, they want you to pay more for their phone than a samsung, yet upgrade every year instead of every two years.

    I raised hell about this lack of updates for all of my previous devices for two years now, htc wont listen, so since they dont care to consider updating the amaze to jellybean, well this was the last htc device that I will ever own. Just like most of you, I am crossing over to samsung. No more s-on crap for me. Its gonna be nice pumping out roms for the gs3 with no locked bootloaders onto the s3 subforums on xda. I love the solid feel of htc, but the scheme to keep people upgrading every year by blackmailing them with os updates is over. Samsung has proven that they arent some immature con artist, by updating the s2 to jellybean, they reassured me that if I buy an s3, I will have support for that device for years to come, instead of planning a one year lifespan on s pricey device that we would be stuck with for two years. Peace out htc, its been real, its been fun, but it aint been real fun.

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  • deep rooted Jan 16, 2013 Link

    One more point, I find it interesting that htc will mimic apple when it comes to cutting corners with a non removable battery, and ditching expandable memory, but atleast apple updates their older devices with their newest ios, and htc simply just ignores the needs of the consumer in this area, and shows a lack of integrity and consistency at the ssme time. Change course right now htc, serve your customers well, and maybe my buddies and I will reconsider our htc boycot.

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  • CJ Brown Jan 25, 2013 Link

    P.S.

    Here's another ignorant move from HTC - the HTC Desire U (made for the No Contract Market) -

    4-inch (800x480 pixels) capacitive touch screen display
    1 GHz processor
    512 MB RAM
    4GB of internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD
    5-megapixel auto focus rear camera with LED Flash
    3G, Wi-Fi 820.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, GPS
    1,650mAh battery
    Android 4.0 with HTC Sense UI
    9.32mm thick
    Weighs 119 grams


    http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/htc-unveils-4-inch-desire-u-with-android-40-1ghz-processor-322298

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  • CJ Brown Feb 27, 2013 Link

    Thank you for posting htconereview ....


    I have to say that I am impressed with the new HTC ONE; which didn't take long for every Carrier to snag, except Verizon again (ok, so they finally debuted HTC DNA 1 year too late, but why does Verizon take forever to accept new smart phones?) ...


    I am still going for "no contract", so unless I can find an LG NEXUS 4 cheap (& have someone like Smart Talk, or Metro PCS, or Virgin Mobile, or Boost accept it) it appears that Samsung Galaxy S 2 or S 3 will be my next choice (both are available with "no contract" carriers & both are getting Jelly Bean updates) ....


    HTC, you're failing in the "no contract" market, unless those HTC One X, or HTC One S models cab be repurposed for the "no contract" market a.s.a.p.

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