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Opinion 289 Shares 10 comments

The One A9, an iPhone clone, is proof that HTC has given up

HTC has surrendered and the One A9 is its white flag. The HTC One M7 and One M8 were beautifully-crafted handsets, but the Taiwanese firm's profits have been in decline since these two phones were released. This year's One M9 was uninventive, but now HTC has retracted its creative head even further into its aluminum shell with the release of the new One A9 – which is nothing more than an iPhone knock-off. Has the beleaguered manufacturer simply given up? 

HTC One A9 finge print
The One A9 may be a new low for HTC. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC designers aren't even trying anymore

HTC was once at the forefront of smartphone design. The One M7 popularized metal unibody construction, and HTC continued this high-quality craftmanship with the One M8 and M9.

Now HTC's designers seem to have ditched innovation in favor of building an iPhone 6 clone. Apple has sold millions of iPhones – and the iPhone 6 was its biggest seller to date – so the desire to emulate this success is understandable. But Android devices like HTC's became popular because they offered something different from Apple, and HTC has forgotten that.

HTC One A9 usb
The build quality of the HTC One A9 borders on embarrassing. / © ANDROIDPIT

Many of HTC's customers will have been drawn to its phones for their compelling cosmetic choices; the HTC One series has never been about providing world-beating flagships, after all. The range's processing power, camera performance and display tech simply didn't stand against top Android competitors, but what it did have going for it was its looks.

With the One A9, HTC has thrown both specs and design out of the window, and – crucially – turned away from its fans.

The firm is almost out of cash

HTC’s share-prices have been dropping steadily since mid-2011, largely thanks to lackluster sales. Financially, things aren't looking good for the company. The One M9, when it was introduced, cost around US$650 off-contract. That was expensive, but acceptable, because its all-aluminum design placed it in a premium bracket. But now sub-US$400 phones are also constructed out of metal, the premium One M9 seems less appealing. 

When it comes to all-metal flagships, many consumers prefer the iPhone. HTC has realised this, and is more than tipping its hat to Apple with the One A9. It's desperately scrabbling for anyone to buy what is essentially an iPhone clone at almost half the price. Trying to appeal to more budget-conscious Apple devotees makes sense, in a way, but are customers who want an iPhone going to be satisfied with a cheaper option that runs Android? Probably not.

HTC One A9 sim
This is the iPhone 6. I mean the HTC One A9. / © ANDROIDPIT

We shouldn't blame HTC for wanting a taste of Apple's success. But we should blame HTC for not giving consumers options. The company is no longer pushing forward, it is simply trying to sell phones, and that insults both intelligent tech consumers and the entire Android ecosystem.

The future is not so bright

HTC is in a serious state of decline and I suspect that its One A9 iPhone clone will flop: it is a hard sell after all. HTC has lost the creative spark that once gave it the edge and, unless it starts innovating again, its future looks bleak.   

What are your thoughts on HTC and the One A9? Let us know in the comments.


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  • It may be an iPhone clone. It may not be innovative. But it does look great, especially the blue colour. I can wait to get my hands on one. C'mon HTC. Release the phone so people who would like to have one are not forced to go to another phone/brand.

  • Ryan Wood Oct 23, 2015 Link to comment

    well i cant see any real improvement with the a9 compared to even a m7 which can be bought for 90 pounds from china at fastcardtec or about 130 dollars.the m7 has a bigger battery and boomsound beats speakers and runs a snapdragon 600 which isnt much different to 617 performance wise

  • I have to say that I pretty much disagree with this article. First off, I have only seen about a dozen posts in response to the A9 introduction from people who cared that this phone somewhat resembles the IPhone. So, amongst the general public, that appears to be a non-issue. Beyond that, I think HTC has checked a lot of the right boxes here. Fact is, with US carrier subsidies going away, all manufacturers are going to have to offer a phone that sells around this price point. This offering from HTC does not seem like a bad one to me.

    And now that a few people are getting hands on with it, the initial reports indicate that it is one of those phones that surpasses its specs. Add to that the fact that a lot of people have been begging for a phone from HTC in a more modest form factor, and with a more stock Android like feel. I think it is entirely possible this phone might be a hit with the average consumer. Time will tell.

  • jack lin Oct 22, 2015 Link to comment

    they are totally desperate, we'll see what happens next.

  • Miguel Oct 22, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm just happy it comes with the option to root it without voiding the warranty.

  • They dropped the stereo front speakers and this is really bad, as it was a major selling point... at least for the ones who bought HTC. The flaw of this last desperate call is not only in the design, however. Just give a fast look at the specs and you'll see a small screen (compared to nowadays flagships and mid-tiers), no particular gaming nor professional features that would attract at least niches, nothing at all that you cannot find in a Samsung Galaxy A series or even in a Moto X something, for smaller prices of course.
    Apple copied many innovative HTC features in the first place, but innovation isn't everything in a world (electronic gadgets) where chinese build devices may copy or even beat established, expensive brands.

    R.i.p. HTC

  • Per Oct 21, 2015 Link to comment

    Not true Scott. Apple made a clone ofte The HTC M9 frist.

  • So Scott.....what phone do you have?

  • thanks Scott couldn't have put it better...

  • I totally agree. I don't have an iPhone precisely because I don't want one, personally I think they are ugly and really badly designed (I have seen so many iPhones with shattered or cracked screens its a joke)

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