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Will HTC survive, and why One X and One S failed.

If you follow mobile phone news, it is probably no secret to you that HTC is in pretty dire situation right now, and continues to decline. Reasons for HTC’s decline are many, and I personally am very saddened by this situation, and really hope the company will turn around, and come out stronger and better. In this opus, I will try to present my thoughts on why the sales of HTC phones are falling and what they should do to reverse this trend.

I want to first mention that I really like HTC phones, the company, and I hope that my next device will be HTC. But, I’m not a blind fan-boy, and I will be choosing very carefully, when time comes.

I also want to say that I am currently rocking an HTC Amaze 4G, which I purchased in May 2012, AFTER One X and One S phones came out and were available for sale. This was a conscious decision on my part to skip One series, which I will explain below.

HTC’s current situation:

While HTC is in decline, it is not dead, and there are ways for company to come out of this crisis! Yes, sales and margins are falling. Yes, company’s stock lost 90% of its value of the last year and a half. However, Let’s face it – unlike Nokia and RIM (BlackBerry), HTC is still making money – this is huge!

The way I see it, we can logically separate HTC’s situation into two parts – before Q4 of 2011, when problems became apparent and official, and Q1 of 2012 onward, when HTC announced, and soon after, released its “One” series of phones (One X, One S, and One V).

Since the decline began a year ago, many, including HTC itself were saying that problem was due to “too many similar phones”, industrial-looking design, and high prices. That may be so, but at this point, I want to concentrate on why HTC One series, which was supposed to reverse companies misfortunes, failed. I think that pre ONE series issues and not that relevant any more.

Why HTC ONE X and ONE S failed:

HTC came up with ONE series to reduces number of devices and to create clear diversification between its models, aiming at Premium, Middle and Budget segments. Original idea was met with great enthusiasm, and when HTC finally announce ONE X and ONE S phones, everyone was very excited about them. At the same time I decided that I WILL NOT be getting either phone for myself, and I was not alone.

As sales numbers showed later, HTC failed to meet even their own sales projections. Here is why:

Note – i will not be mentioning One V phone, as it is more of a budget device, and does not contribute much to HTC’s bottom line. HTC as well as other manufacturers, makes most money on premium phones, and most of it’s competition is in premium market – iPhone, Galaxy S series, etc. Competing in budget sector is a sure suicide for HTC, as they will never be able to be better AND cheaper than Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, and other smaller companies.

Horrible planning of ONE series:

At the time of the announcement, everyone knew that HTC’s main competitor in Android market – Samsung, was about to launch its own latest flagship phone – Galaxy S3. HTC was hoping that with early announcement of ONE series, WMC in Barcelona, in Feb. 2012, they would create enough buzz for their phones. And they did. Only people realize that the way HTC designed their phones, discouraged many loyal fans and potential buyers. Additionally, exact phone details allowed Samsung to put a slight delay on Galaxy S3 release, and to change their flagship so that it would “kill” the ONE X in nearly every category. As we now know – they more than succeeded in doing so.

Bad design of the ONE series:

Ok – maybe One X and One S are nat bad phones per-se. But in the eyes of general public, Galaxy S3 is just better. Also, even before Galaxy S3 was announced, most complains about ONE series was lack of removable storage and removable battery. Samsung quickly picked up on this trend, and made sure that S3 has both!

HTC decided to copy successful thing that main competition uses to their advantage – only they pick a “wrong” leader to follow (read Apple).

Why HTC designed ONE series the way they did:

In just a few words – One Series failed because of lack of removable storage (no Micro SD cards slots) and removable battery (unibody design).

In business, you want to take the best that competition has to offer, package it all into one product and sell it for slightly less. This will ensure a success. Right – only not always.

HTC picked a wrong “leader” to copy after. They decided to repeat the success of iPhone, and essentially created a model line that is a mirror image of the iPhone, from a “theoretical” point of view.

Both iPhone and HTC One series have non-removable storage and battery, and HTC wrongfully though that if Apple can do it, than so can we. Wrong!

HTC forgot 2 major reasons (aspects) of why they cannot copy Apple’s success it such manner.

Reason 1) Apple iPhone was the first really usable smartphone on the market

Before first usable Android phones came out, iPhone 4 was almost ready to be released, and 3GS was ruling the smartphone market. When I bought my first and last iPhone (3GS), there were no other phones that could do what 3GS could. At that time, I loved the iPhone what what it could do, what I could do with it, and because no other phone could do the same!

HTC/T-Mobile G1 was a “joke” in my opinion, though it was a decent phone for its time. Nokia – I had one for 2 months preceding iPhone, and would never go back to it. Later, Nexus One came out, which in my opinion is the first real alternative to iPhone.

iPhone had no alternatives when it came out. So people bought it, regardless of its limitations in removable storage and battery. At the same time, a huge base of loyal iPhone / Apple fans was created. A great ecosystem was in place. People were heavily invested in apps, and would not switch to a competing platform (Android).

Apple conditioned their fans that removable storage and battery are not necessary, and now iPhone fans (majority of them) truly believe in it.

HTC on the hand, tried to force people into a wrong (in my opinion) premise that they do not need the option to add storage or change a battery. BIG FAIL!

Reason 2) HTC is making Android phones, which assumes OPEN platform, and availability of options

People who choose to buy iPhone will buy it regardless! A good friend of mine, was in love with iPhone 4 design, and bough it, without regard for hardware limitations and lack of options when it comes to iOS. And he was coming from Android phone. He is also a power used and a software engineer, writing apps for both iOS and Android. THat was a conscious decision to get iPhone – on of those “i want” ones. No amount of persuasion will change their minds.

On the other hand, people who go the Android route, do so mostly because they DO NOT want iPhone or Apple. I’m one of them. Once I realized how much more Android has to offer, I jumped iPhone ship and never looked back. I still very much hate iOS ecosystem, iTunes and most things Apple (except for Apple hardware – they build really nice devices – I must give them that).

Basically, HTC targeted ONE series to the wrong crowd, while completely ignoring their loyal fans (like myself) and potential buyers. They forgot that Android buyers want the OPPOSITE of iPhone – openness and options!

Why I skipped ONE X and Galaxy S3, and went for 1 year old HTC Amaze 4G:

Phones are personal! We all choose our phones based on what WE need. So this will be a personal overview of why I chose not to get either One X/S or S3.

While most people will have their own reason for not getting ONE X or ONE S, and most of them did go for S3, I chose an “outdated” Amaze 4G. I skipped HTC One series mainly because of lack of SD Card (I could live with non-removable battery).

I also skipped S3, because… I just do like HTC, and Amaze 4G seemed like a great phone, not much different from newer quad core models. I also knew that quad core (Tegra 3) has little to offer me in terms of performance boost, since I don’t play games, and that it’s buggy and can get very slow (based on my experience with ASUS Transformer Prime and Pad 300T – both Tegra 3 devices).

What I needed a sexy, smaller phone (I already had a Galaxy Note which was plenty fast), with FAST and GOOD camera, and a physical camera button. For me camera is VERY important – I need to be able to engage camera and take a shot in less than 3 seconds (preferably 1 second), and Amaze allows me to do so, while other phones (including S3 and One X) do not!

Amaze 4G was also discounted by T-Mobile, since One S came out, and I picked on up for $450 (plus tax), and with a $100 trade in – totaling $350.

In fact, ever since Amaze 4G came out in the summer of 2011, I wanted it. At that time i had HTC Inspire 4G (Desire HD on AT&T), and while it still is a great phone, camera on it is HORRIBLE!

Why not HTC One S?

Ahhh, One S … a castrate of a phone. Ok, One S is a good phone. But in 2012, having less than 10 GB of usable storage is just painful! I now have a 64GB SD card 65% full of photos, videos and music. I would probably break One S out of anger, if I had one. In most other aspects it is a great device, and for someone not needing all that storage, it it big and compact at the same time, has great camera, very fast CPU, etc. But still, people need option to expand storage when needed, and One S does not have it!

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Written by admin

Posted on August 29th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Android News

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