HTC made a bold statement last year when they decided to ditch their mid-range and entry-level focus in order to push one premium smartphone series. That series was the HTC One, alongside its decidedly smaller brother HTC One Mini, and the bigger brother known as the HTC One Max. Aside from those three devices, HTC has only released and advertised a smattering of mid-range options for developing markets.
So how has it worked out for them? Well, not at all, actually. An HTC executive has admitted that the company’s decision to move away from offering mid-range devices was a pretty big mistake.
“We took our eyes somewhat off the ball,” said HTC CFO Chang Chialin via Bloomberg. It lead to declining revenue overall, and was the cause of HTC experiencing their first ever consecutive non-profitable quarters back in Q3 2013. HTC expects more of the same for the quarter ahead, and they look to be in scramble mode to get back to former glory.
Not lost on HTC is the importance in streamlining their portfolio, but the company has realized that they simply aren’t big enough to push just one hot smartphone. Even Samsung has been hesitant to abandon their strategy of filling out all sectors of the smartphone market, with the company offering phones and tablets for any budget.
Something Samsung also seems to have gotten right that HTC didn’t is marketing. The Taiwanese company’s bold $1 billion bid for Robert Downey Jr’s services in their late 2013 marketing efforts seems to have proven fruitless.
As it turns out, the world doesn’t care about seeing the man who plays Ironman thrust into wacky situations where ugly little green goblins wash ugly little cars — they want you to sell them a phone that they can buy.
While some may dread a possible decision by HTC to return to their “spaghetti to the wall” methods of yesteryear, an increased focus on the mid-range market doesn’t have to be all bad. Samsung has proven that it’s still possible to deliver the goods for folks willing to pay a premium while offering suitable options for those whose wallets are a bit smaller.
The key will be in HTC’s marketing effort, and seeing if the company can restore the same confidence people had in their brand back in the earlier parts of this current century. Let’s hope they can begin to right the ship with the launch of the HTC M8 (the codename for the supposed sequel to the HTC One).