If you haven’t been following Google’s Android operating system since its launch, you would be surprised to know that it all started with the HTC Dream. In fact in Android’s early years, HTC was the biggest manufacturer for phones running on the OS, ahead of Samsung and others. It was even the first to release a phone running on Windows Phone,
Fast forward to 2013 and HTC is nowhere in the equation. Samsung, LG, Sony, Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei, are all bigger players than HTC in the Android market. The company has seen its market share erode in several markets across the world. What was once deemed sexy is now bought by barely a few. Even in the Windows Phone sphere, Nokia has taken over most of what HTC once had. So what has exactly gone wrong with HTC? When most of the other big vendors are seeing growing shipments, why is HTC’s decline refusing to stem?
Before we look into it, consider the Indian smartphone market for a brief moment. The country has grown to become the third largest smartphone market in the world ahead of Japan. The market is dominated by the sub $200 price category and local players control a huge chunk of that market. Although, Samsung is the numero uno player in the market, Nokia and Sony have also managed to make it into the top five. The one player that is missing on the party is, you’ve guessed it right, HTC. The company has priced its phones exorbitantly high in a price conscious market. For instance, the Desire 600, which is at best a mid range phone, is actually priced above the likes of Nexus 4, Lumia 920, Xperia ZR and some other much better offerings from other companies. Another example is the HTC One mini, which is in the price range of the Galaxy S4. The ridiculous pricing is prominent for almost all of company’s line up in the country..
What exactly is HTC trying to achieve beats us. Maybe, the company needs to realize that it is no Apple and its products aren’t considered a status symbol anymore. Instead, pricing them in line with the competitors would seem like the first logical move. Yes, HTC phones do feel premium, but not enough to cost $100 more than their competitors with much better hardware.
The next big problem with the company is the hardware on these phones. Not only do they run on outdated software (except the one), but their specs also seem to be a no match against the competitors’ offerings. Consider the HTC One for instance. The phone is now almost six months old, and while most other companies have replaced their year’s earlier flagships with something more powerful (like the Note III and the Xperia Z1), all HTC could come up with was the One Max. Now, don’t get us wrong here, the phone isn’t that bad. But with a six month old processor and a camera that cannot even match the average shooters (Pureview is out of question here), we don’t see why would consumers opt for it over the likes of Note III or Xperia Z Ultra, both of which are better equipped and would probably be cheaper than One Max when it launches in the markets.
And that’s not where the problem ends. HTC’s entire mid range is stuck on Android versions that are either two or three iterations old. The company is either sleeping or doesn’t care about its mid range products at all. While companies like Sony and Nokia are aggressively pursuing the low end market with excellent hardware, HTC, it seems, has forgotten that such a market even exists.
HTC could spend plenty on advertising. They’ve already roped in Robert Downy Jr. for promoting the brand, but unless you have a solid product it doesn’t rally matter. If the company doesn’t change its practices from the ground, it might be too late. They’ve already posted their first ever loss, and before you know it, HTC could be headed the BlackBerry or the Motorola way.