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Why I don’t see HTC recovering anytime soon [Opinion]

A look at HTC India’s smartphone launches in first half of 2013

HTC India CEO
HTC India country head Faisal Siddiqui with actress Jacqueline Fernandez at a local launch event

Despite good performance of HTC One (probably, as HTC is yet to share any numbers), I think HTC is far from getting back in the game. The recent departure of many top company executives and the news of HTC CEO Peter Chou sticking to his position aren’t going to help the company either.

But, who is to blame for the poor performance of this Taiwanese manufacturer, which once ruled Android arena and was loved by many consumers? What has led to the downfall of a company that made first Nexus smartphone, first 4G smartphone and popular devices like HTC Desire?  – the company itself.

Despite being on top of its form, HTC failed to read the market and continued to launch similar and uninspiring devices, leading to the condition where it is now. But, if I look at the company’s smartphone launches in the Indian market (one of the key smartphone markets worldwide) in the first half of 2013, I don’t see a sign of any learning despite continued failures.

Let us start by looking at the list of Android launches by HTC India in the last six months:

  • HTC Butterfly
  • HTC One
  • HTC Desire XDS
  • HTC Desire U
  • HTC Desire XC

So, the company has released a total of five Android phones till now in 2013. Apart from HTC One, I don’t see a single device, which I or any other sensible consumer would purchase, but why?

Reasons:

  • HTC Butterfly, which is a decent smartphone, has been marred by the stupid pricing from the company. HTC India had priced it at INR 45,990 at the launch and even after getting a couple of price-cuts, the phone is not near its current worth.
  • HTC Desire XDS, a dual-SIM version of the company’s one year old Desire X, runs on Android 4.0 at a time when we are waiting for Android 4.3 release. There is also 99pc chance that HTC will never push Jelly Bean update to this phone.
  • HTC Desire U, again a dual-SIM phone, also runs on old Android 4.0 with no chances of getting Jelly Bean update.
  • HTC Desire XC, the latest entrant in HTC India’s portfolio, again runs on Ice Cream Sandwich and probably will never get the Jelly Bean update either.

See what I am saying. The company seems to have no idea about what to launch to get consumers and what not. Even the HTC One, which is the one of the best devices the company has ever made, has suffered because of continuous delays in launch. In spite of announcing the phone for the Indian market in April, the company took almost two months to make it available in stores. We know there was a global shortage of this device, but HTC is to blame for that.

I don’t see this changing anytime soon. HTC will probably be launching Desire 200 as its next Android device in the country and this one again is going to be a disappointment. Apart from a 1GHz processor instead of 600MHz one, Desire 200 is almost the same phone as Desire C. It will be priced stupidly and a consumer will rather buy a Samsung, LG or one of the home-grown manufacturer device, rather than spending hard-earned money on something that just got a little touch-up to make it look like new.

So, unless someone wake up at HTC and decides to get their act together, I don’t see the company recovering from the current state.

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