10
Feb
htcthumb

The last two years have not been kind to HTC. Despite garnering critical acclaim from the One series and consistently improving both hardware and software, the Taiwanese company is getting battered on high-end phones by Samsung and Apple, and battered on low-end phones by Samsung and just about every Chinese company out there. According to a report from Reuters, HTC will try to shift its strategy in 2014 to give more attention to mid-range devices, which it has been ignoring somewhat for the last few product cycles.

BoomSound_Blog

HTC's co-founder Cher Wang admitted that the company's laser focus on the high-end, premium smartphone market may not have been in its best interests. "...we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market," she said to Reuters. According to Wang, HTC will pay more attention to the mid-range area in both developing markets and conventional profit areas like North America, Europe, and Asia, with a particular emphasis on phones from $150-300 retail. She also noted that HTC isn't interested in the bottom of the budget market, where margins are thinner than ever.

This position roughly lines up with the company line from two years ago, when HTC CEO Peter Chou said that he wasn't interested in making "cheap, cheap" phones. But Wang's statements open up the possibility for less expensive models with wider appeal, though I imagine Chou would be quick to point out that "inexpensive" isn't necessarily the same thing as "cheap." Outside of China, HTC's budget models have been restricted to the One Mini and a few one-off phones like the new Desire (Zara) and Desire 500. In the press release for HTC's Q4 2013 earnings results, Chou said that “we will continue to stay focused on making the best smartphone and building a compelling mid-range portfolio. Meanwhile, we are going to communicate better with consumers." Hopefully that includes a re-evaluation of HTC's current marketing, which has been underwhelming to say the least.

rdj-intro

Remember this? HTC kinda hopes you don't.

All that said, HTC isn't going to be ignoring the premium side of the business. Wang noted that a new flagship would be unveiled soon (possibly the "M8" that we've been hearing about). Today HTC reported its forth-quarter 2013 results with a 3.7% operating margin loss, its second straight quarter of losses.

Source: Reuters, HTC

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • randy

    Apple sells one phone (two last year) yet this single phone is the most sold phone in the globe.

    HTC is losing it and this move won't keep them long.

    • Brendan

      The iPhone is not the most sold phone worldwide by any stretch of the means.

      • h4rr4r

        Are you sure about that?
        My understanding was it was the most sold single unit. The entire galaxy line sells more units but that is made up of many different SKUs.

        • Darkbotic

          You do know that Apple have different SKUs for the iPhone, right?

      • Matthew Fry

        It is, I think. According to multiple sources on the Interwebs. http://goo.gl/w4Reog
        The S3 has outsold the iPhone during specific quarters but Android only wins in iOS vs Android market share.

    • Mike Reid

      HTC One software updates will soon be abandoned, I think. I am no longer interested in HTC; they've let me down too many times the last few years.

      Why update a high end flagship when you are no longer producing them, except perhaps for the soon to be abandoned M8 ?

      Another article elsewhere indicated HTC are refocusing on LOW end, not mid tier.
      But perhaps it's relative; $150 in the 1st world is low end, but elsewhere may be mid.

    • Cerberus_tm

      However, Apple is leaving a lot of money on the table by not selling larger phones and by not selling mid-range phones. As long as it's clear what your flagship is, there is no reason not sell more phone for different needs/users.

  • podycust

    They don't just need to refocus on thw hardware but software too without any Android updates its pointless!

    • Ricardo Neves

      That changed with the One 2013 Series, i hope it will be the same going forward :)

  • Gerard

    Sell your devices everywhere at competitive pricepoints.

    Sell them online directly (on htc.com and local authorized resellers) to secure higher margins and squeeze out middlemen and unfriendly carriers more supportive of other brands.

  • Mado

    Now that you mentioned it, what happened to the RDJ commercials? Wasn't it suppose to be like, weekly or something? Then it suddenly... disappears.

    • mustbepbs

      They couldn't afford him.

    • flosserelli

      I would have liked to have been in the meeting when that ad agency floated their idea of spending millions on a celebrity endorsement making fun of HTCs brand identity (or lack of). Wacky, senseless commercials may be the standard in Asia, but they just leave Americans scratching their heads and moving on.

  • Milind Shah

    Lol what? Only concentrated on their flagship? They released tons of other devices other than the one... Actually when you think about it, they did only concentrate on the one but only in terms of updates xD

  • h4rr4r

    Stop releasing so many devices.
    Have an flagship and a cheap device. Make sure software updates are fast and if at all possible the same time on as many carriers as possible.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      The Motorola recipe for long-term success, if you will - though we're yet to see if it brings actual long-term success =)

      • h4rr4r

        My wife just got a Moto X to replace her Rezound and I must say it is a very nice device. Unbelievably so for the ~$300 she paid for it. I will probably still get a Nexus 5, but it really makes me a believer in Moto agian. Which I have not been since I stopped using my OG Droid. The added features are nice without being intrusive and the build quality is stellar.

        HTC and Moto have the same disease, Verizon "Droid". They became addicted to easy money with no longer term support commitment so now that this money is drying up they are both suffering. They never had to do any marketing or actually update the devices. Now that this gravy train is slowing down they have to learn all this stuff over again.

        • selonmoi

          Great point. But not "over again"....for the first time.

        • Ryan

          I've always been a Moto fan, Droid X was my first device. Now I'm waiting for my own Moto X, but FedEx's stupidity isn't getting me the device in my hands in a timely manner. Missed the thing two times because either 1. No one is here to begin with due to work hours, or 2. Unreasonable delivery times. (Seriously, who delivers before 9AM?)

          Anyway, HTC has made some pretty bad decisions the past while, and if it continues, they may not last too much longer. I've been kinda keeping an eye on them for a bit to see if they might change their business practices.. Guess we'll know this year if they grew a brain perhaps.

          Now my wait continues for that Moto X... Let's hope I get it tomorrow before they send it right back to Motorola's plant..

          • h4rr4r

            Have it delivered to the local fedex store. Then go pick it up there.
            You can change it right now.

          • Ryan

            Work schedule conflicts with their business hours usually. Either I miss and don't get it for the rest of the day because I have to go to work before the van gets to the facility, or something. And I can't have someone just go and get it for me due to policy on both Motorola and FedEx.. Just more hassle than I want to deal with.

          • h4rr4r

            They are open until 11pm here. They have 24 hour offices as well. You can always get it the next day.

    • Mayoo

      This man wins the internet. I completely agree.

      There should only be small sized (4in), normal sized(5in) and jumbo sized(6in) phones. They should release maximum one time per year.

      That way, you have the same support capability of the Nexus brand and can choose between vanilla or bloats.

      People are lost in this world and I understand them. Just go count the number of Galaxy devices there is...

      • blairh

        I totally agree. Every company that doesn't offer a worthy model in small, medium, and large sizes is leaving money on the table. Hence why Apple will make a larger iPhone this fall. They realize there is a strong market for it.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Part of the challenge is they are selling a product at a premium price but without premium features (that used to be basic features) like a replaceable battery and expandable storage,

    Sure, there are plenty of people who don't care about those features but for the people who do you'e eliminated them as potential customers when you leave those features out.

  • robogo

    What they need is one phone per class, usable, sturdy, reasonably priced - and they all must have something cool about them, something revolutionary, something that will make them stand out and make me recommend them to people. BoomSound was such a thing.

  • guidomus_maximus

    Another wild swing in strategy for HTC. I think the people who run it, have ADHD.
    I don't buy HTC anymore because they are a pain to root.

    Here's a clue: instead of reacting wildly to every crazy idea you have, LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. Its really just that simple