The latest unaudited results from HTC for Q4 2011 indicate that total revenues reached NT$ 101 billion (US$ 3.34 billion), a 2.49% drop as compared to the same period in 2010. In stark contrast, Samsung just had a record breaking quarter with profits reaching 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), almost double the figures of Q4 2010. Samsung's results for Q4 2011 breaks its previous record profit period of 5.0 trillion won (US$ 4.3 billion) from Q2 2010 and is an increase of 22% from Q3 2011. According to an analyst Samsung shipped an estimated 35 million smartphones in the previous quarter alone, but this is likely to include Samsung's low-end bada operated devices.

Samsung's rapid growth in the past year is no surprise as it quickly surged past Apple in worldwide smartphone market share in the third quarter. However, Samsung can attribute some of its Q4 success to "one-off gains" including the sale of its hard disk drive business to Seagate and the return of some royalties from Microsoft for Samsung's Android-based devices. Nevertheless, Samsung's profits are expected to hold up with over 170 million smartphones predicted to be sold in 2012. Not all these phones are expected to run Android, however as some will feature Samsung's own bada software. Additionally, Samsung's plans to launch the popular Galaxy Note in the US in 2012, which should spur an increase in sales overall. On the flip side, increased growth for Samsung has created legal hurdles as it continues its global patent battle with Apple over the sale of the Galaxy Tabs.

In comparison, HTC just had a terrible quarter and things are looking bleak. Indeed, until this devastating quarter HTC had seen rapid growth since releasing its first Android handset in late 2008. It is likely that the immaturity of the early stages of the Android market made it easy for HTC to muscle in out of nowhere and claim market share. However the overall growth and proliferation of Android devices has allowed the likes of Samsung and Motorola to increase their own market share. Although HTC has continued to innovate in the last year, the sheer number of devices being released likely hampered its ability to grow and rally behind one flagship device. Hence it came as no surprise when HTC decided late last year to refocus its strategy and aim to release fewer phones in 2012.

With over half of the US still not using a smartphone, there is plenty of market share left to go around.

[Sources: HTC, Reuters and Engadget]

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • Jason

    This is what happens when you release so many phones over every carrier with no true flagship. Then when you release a "flagship", in this case the Thunderbolt, you treat it like a red-headed stepchild.

    Slap on craptastic battery life combined the ever laggy and bloated Sense UI, while rarely updating the phones and you will get hit sooner or later in the pocketbook.

    Maybe HTC will learn from this. They still won't give Thunderbolt owners any information on whether TBolt will get an official ICS build or not. With the way HTC has treated their TBolt owners this is probably my first and last HTC phone. Next will either be something from Samsung or a Nexus device.

    • Ryan B

      1. You're spot on about Sense being bloat
      2. Go Nexus. Samsung is playing games with the first gen Galaxy S owners about getting an ICS upgrade (or if they do, it'll be a stripped down version)

  • Mark

    I think you're confusing revenues and profits here. I doubt that HTC's _revenues_ were only $360 million for the quarter--I'm sure that's operating income.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com Abhiroop

      Thanks for that, had an error with the conversion, missed out a few 0000000s

  • edd

    HTC were my favourite company for three years running. Last year, they realy disappointed me. I kept holding off upgrading my HD2 (Android) in the hopes they'd release something worth an upgrade. But they never did - just clone after clone, each lacking one key spec or another. Eventually I just went with Sammy S2. I missed my Sense to a extent, but I needed new hardware.

    HTC: You've got millions of fans, stop disappointing. Innovate and concentrate, please!!

  • Anthony

    Exactly. HTC should now realize they can't keep pumping out handsets every few months on every carrier with the total lack of support, updates and hardware flaws and expect to stay on top.

    Customers remember when it comes upgrade time, and they will look elsewhere.

    After the TBolt issues - empty promises of software updates, nonstop software issues, GB updates a month before ICS was announced, unacceptable battery life, light leakage around soft keys, etc, I will never look to them again.

    And their customer service made every issue even worse by either not responding, or responding and telling me that they never heard of the issues I had. Denial does not work anymore HTC. Too many open forums of discussion.

    Let's see if they learn from any of this.

  • Tom

    I don't think this article can be correct. How did they not blow out sales when they released the Rhyme on VZW in the second half of the year?

    There is NO reason that there should be more than 2 handsets
    Per year released on each carrier by a specific manufacturer. There is clearly an issue with handsets being rushed to the market that are not complete and fully functional. In addition, when too many handsets are released, support is nonexistent.

  • L boogie

    Here's a hint HTC, pay detailed attention to any/all products released which include updates & troubleshooting and more importantly, work on that god-awful battery issue that has plagued most of your product line and release less quantity but churn out more quality and your 2012 forecast should be stellar

  • Mike

    If HTC started releasing vanilla all-nexus-ish devices, I bet they'd be #1 again in a flash. I'd sure get one. Maybe nexus is great, I prefer motorola or htc's build quality in general.

  • Tom

    Notice a recurring theme here HTC?

    Or you can just keep doing business as usual, and wonder why you are down double next year.

    Customers have a very short attention span for crap like this, and very long memories. I had issues with Motorola over ten years ago and never even considered going back!

    I had issues with Samsung several years ago but didn't go back until you left me know choice after getting a Rezound and having light leakage and pink soft keys. Returned for the Nexus.

    Oh and you had your chances because I suffered through your
    Science experiment called the Thunderbolt from launch day

    Once shame on you. Twice shame on me. There won't be a third.

  • David Ruddock

    HTC tried to retain a strategy it had relied on in previous years, prior to Android - Sense UI combined with a "sleek" design philosophy, rather than focusing on keeping up in the spec war.

    Unfortunately, Android has rapidly become a war of specifications - Sense UI is no longer the value-added feature it once was as Android has evolved to become much more usable and versatile. Companies like Samsung and Motorola are making plenty of money on phones which aren't very aesthetically exciting at all, so it's pretty obvious consumers are less concerned with having a pretty phone, and more concerned with having one with the latest technology - an area where HTC has proven to be consistently behind the curve in the past year.

    Tl;dr - these numbers make Sense (couldn't help myself).

    • Tom

      That's where you are wrong. We have beats audio! Lol

      They should have put the effort into supporting their handsets instead of a ridiculous contract with dr dre that nobody cares about.

      On one hand the HTC battery lasts 4 hours, constantly reboots, is 6 months late getting GB, but who cares. I have beats audio.

      • J Rush

        And Beats Audio is still overpriced crap lol. I can get a pair of $10 headphones and they'll have better quality than those terrible headphones. All they are is looks...nothing else, nothing more.

      • Don

        yeah felt like HTC really sold their soul to the devil (monster) with that deal. But I guess it was a decent investment to capture the attention of my fellow young peers. I swear around campus, I cannot go 2 minutes without seeing a pair. Got all the different colors and crap. Now since the holidays are over I bet everyone will have some.

  • Don

    I and many others I know contributed to this. HTC simply fell flat. They came out the gates swinging with phones like the original EVO, but after a while it got too competitive. I used to swear by HTC but Samsung devices just impressed me more lately. For me, the screen, camera, and thinness really stood out. Things like fast boot time and better battery life.

    Samsung's advertising even seemed better and more visible, especially their recent ones about the iClowns waiting in line.

    But I wouldn't count HTC out. They are still great, and will be fine. Samsung just made a very strong push lately. I doubt regular consumers really care about sense vs touchwiz and crap like that. But I think most random people who use the iPhone as a measuring tool and reference point will see that the Samsung devices really compare well.

  • Budorat

    I think HTC is an amazing company, and over the past 3-4 years has produced some amazing handsets, and some duds also. I have to say that their decision to release fewer handsets in 2012 can only been seen as a good move. I bought my Desire HD as soon as it was released in Oct 10, a mere 13 months ago. Since then HTC has released so many handsets that it makes your head spin.

    I really do agree with everyone's comments about the distinct lack of a flagship device. With so many handsets being released in such a short time it is really hard for any carrier to truly get behind any single device, not to mention to confusion created for end users.

    I really hate to say the following, but Apple are on the right track, I mean, they release a single device each year, retain the same form factor for a year or two and upgrade OS in between. Ask yourself this, how easy is it to get accessories for iDevices ??? If you are honest, it is way too easy, why, because Apple don't change things up every two seconds like other manufacturers do thereby making it impossible for third party vendors to keep up with non-genuine accessories.

    I still have my DHD and have little need for an upgrade right now. The only thing I am really missing is a front facing camera (to Skype with family while away) and an NFC chip to enable Google Wallet. The form factor is great, the specs more than adequate and I will have ICS as soon as the xda devs (or HTC) release a stable rom. When I am ready for an upgrade I will be looking to HTC first as I prefer their build quality (I have owned a SGII also) but I will be looking elsewhere if they have not regained their mojo and started releasing phones with killer specs that dominate the competition.