For more than 10 years, HTC has been one of the biggest smartphone brands to go against tech giants like Samsung and Apple, releasing notable smartphones like the Google Nexus One, HTC One series, and HTC Dream. However, in just a few years, they have gone from being one of the most popular brands to not being included in Canalys’ top 5 smartphone brands in the past few years.
Today, HTC seems to be putting a lot of effort into developing virtual reality headsets rather than just focusing on smartphone manufacturing. In this article, we will take a closer look at HTC to find out the reason for its huge drop in popularity. Let’s take a look at what happened, shall we?
What did HTC do right?
HTC was doing really well back then!
HTC was one of the most respected smartphone brands because it was offering affordable smartphones with respectable hardware. As a result, HTC phones have been the phones of choice if you want the best possible Android user experience.
Moreover, HTC was the first manufacturer to include a custom Android skin on top of the Android operating system with the HTC Hero smartphone launched in 2009. When it comes to cameras, the company was the first to launch a dual rear camera phone with the HTC One M8.
They also had many options to choose from, which is great for consumers because they can choose the best HTC smartphone to suit their needs. They were also one of the first to equip their smartphones with a 3.5 mm audio jack, which was quite problematic at the time.
Also, before the introduction of the Pixel, Google teamed up with HTC to produce the Google Nexus One. It was one of the most popular phones ever developed by HTC because it ran the Android operating system, which was relatively uncommon at the time.
Other than that, they launched several smartphones that are equipped with many features which were unique at that time. For example, HTC has released the HTC U11 Plus, which has a transparent back, allowing the user to peek into the smartphone’s internal hardware. In addition to this, there is also the Edge Sense feature, which was first spotted on the HTC U11 which allows the user to launch an app simply by holding the smartphone.
What caused their downfall?
Here are some of the phones released in 2011
In 2011, HTC experienced a significant decline in its market share as many consumers were overwhelmed by the number of phones released by the brand. For more details, HTC released more than 24 smartphones such as HTC DROID Incredible 2, EVO 3D, Merge, and more within that first year.
In 2012, they released the same number of phones too, including Titan 2, One XL, and many more. While there were many HTC smartphones that could fit different consumer needs, releasing more than 24 phones a year and how they named their phones led to a lot of confusion.
Moreover, HTC’s confusing naming schemes added to the confusion as they did not convey the smartphone’s strengths. Other companies, such as Huawei, have designated their P series as a photography-focused lineup while the Mate series is more focused on productivity.
Here are some of the versions that were released in 2012
Their attempts to team up with Facebook to release two Facebook-centric phones called the HTC ChaCha and HTC First were unsuccessful, and they were phased out very quickly after launch. Moreover, many were unhappy with HTC packing more and more bloatware in their smartphones, which is strange because HTC was initially praised for providing their phones with stock Android operating system.
Both Samsung and Apple have been giving HTC a run for their money as they have been releasing well-received smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5. Unlike HTC, both of the aforementioned brands have not bombarded the market with more than 20 smartphones that are not dissimilar to each other. some.
While they found some success with the HTC One series, namely the One M7 and M8, the M9 didn’t impress the market because the improvements were too slight to warrant an upgrade. Apart from that, HTC has not been active in marketing its products which caused it to slip under the radar when Samsung and Apple took center stage in the war between iOS and Android users.
They have stepped up the production of smartphones in favor of producing virtual reality headsets
After releasing a few smartphones like the HTC One series, HTC unveiled the HTC Vive VR headset in collaboration with Valve in 2016. In 2017, Google acquired about 2,000 employees from HTC who worked on design and research to work on the Google Pixel smartphone, Allowing Google to develop all of their future smartphones in-house.
Towards the end of 2017, HTC announced that it would focus more on upcoming technologies such as augmented and virtual reality products. These products included the HTC Vive Pro and the all-in-one Vive Focus virtual reality headset that didn’t need to be tethered to a computer.
HTC still releases some smartphones now and then, such as HTC Exodus cryptophone and HTC Desire series. But compared to last time, it’s clear that smartphones aren’t really their main focus anymore. Unfortunately for us Malaysians, it is unlikely that any of their smartphones will be available to buy locally anytime soon.
HTC is still doing well, but not in the smartphone industry.
What happened to HTC was a perfect example of “too much not good” because they released so many smartphones that it was hard for consumers to keep up. Sometimes having a few well-built smartphones is better than saturating the market.
But one thing is for sure, HTC has shown that Android has what it takes to take on Apple’s iOS. Still, it’s great that HTC has been able to find a market outside of the smartphone industry in which they can thrive.
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