HTC’s Chou blames marketing decisions for bad 2012, ready to turn things around


Financially, 2012 wasn’t the best year on record for HTC. While the finger could be pointed in multiple directions, CEO Peter Chou told The Wall Street Journal that he believes misguided marketing was the driving factor behind the downturn in profits. He admitted that HTC did not put enough resources into marketing efforts, an area where competitors easily bested the Taiwan-based smartphone maker.

But it’s arguable that competitors didn’t best HTC when it came to actual devices. While sales slumped, HTC managed to produce a lineup featuring some of their best devices of all time, phones like the HTC One X and Droid DNA. And Chou knows the trend will need to continue. Cash-strapped HTC will focus on “unique products” in order to establish public demand for their products.

A licensing agreement with Apple should help HTC in 2013. President of HTC China Ray Yam recently said the deal would help bolster innovation. But he also mentioned, as Chou did, that HTC plans to revamp their marketing efforts in the new year and hopefully right the ship before it sinks any deeper.

[via Engadget]

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  1. Give us sd slots removable batteries and things might turn around quite making phones like apple no sd slot no changing out the battery.And launch your phones on all 4 major networks stop the exclusive bs

    1. I would love to go back to HTC, but like you said, no SD card is a deal breaker for me. I can live with no removable battery

    2. I agree, the same flagship phone across all carriers is what they need.

      While I prefer expandable memory and a removable battery those things won’t matter to normal consumers. Normal consumers will choose a phone based on price, looks, and what’s popular. They don’t care about the internals. HTC has the looks thing nailed down, and price is really carrier dependent. Getting the same phone across all major carriers will help them with the popularity they need.

      1. I totally agree with your statement above, but would like to add, once a first timer buys their first android and learn the ends and outs, they won’t comeback to companies like HTC, because they find out like the rest of us of how important having removable battery, SD slots and who upgrades faster means. So I think whats hurting them is veteran androids owners are giving noobs the heads up. Along with marketing, look at the sales of other phones.

        1. RIGHTO! Perhaps one could skip on a feature here & there (battery/memory) on an entry-level phone,but,fewer people are choosing such phones & want/need higher end/capable phones for mobile computing,media,etc….
          When you start paring down the options on the flagship phones,small wonder they don’t go flying off the shelves…..

        2. You make a good point about us heavy users making recommendations. I don’t think I recommended an Htc device since they stopped making removable batteries and sd slots, and I do a lot of recommending.

      2. The funny thing is at the beginning of 2012 they were supposed to narrow it down to just 1 major phone world-wide with the One line… Guess they couldn’t stay focused and released several variations diluting their sales even further… /sigh

      3. @rockstar323:disqus – i agree 100% on the battery and sd scard front. the ability to swap batteries when needed is big with me. one thing i would add is to improve call quality and loudness (e.g., similar to Samsung’s in-call audio boost). i understand that in-call volume, call quality and hearing is subjective and influenced by the carrier’s service. however, to my ears, HTC’s OneX and X+ compare poorly to the call quality/loudness of the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Samsung Note II (and SGSIII). nonetheless, i will always try HTC’s newest flagship devices hoping that they’ll meet my needs in a smartphone device.

    3. I have the HTC Evo 4G LTE and I have a removable SD card (no removable battery though). Not sure why they didn’t include that with their cousin phones.

      1. Blame it on marketing, LOL… Agree with you 100% though.

    4. 100% agree, my last 2 smartphones (aka every smartphone I’ve ever had) have been HTC but my next one won’t because all their recent offerings are missing these two critical features;

  2. What’s killing HTC is carrier exclusives in the US. The One X is an amazing phone but it was only released on at&t. Sure Sprint had their EVO variant but it is ugly compared to the One X. They need to do what Samsung did with the GS3 and launch the same flagship device across all carriers. Until they do that, they can’t expect to gain on Samsung.

    1. I agree. I think HTC failed itself for 2013 by releasing the Droid DNA and Butterfly. Most likely, HTC’s next flagship won’t be too different from the DNA and Butterfly which means Verizon and the carriers with the Butterfly won’t get it due to redundancy…continuing carrier exclusivity and confusing consumers.

  3. Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and the rest of you. This isn’t that hard. Build fewer phones. Make a low, mid, and high grade for price points. Keep things simple. Don’t change the form factor significantly. Make all accessories cross compatible now, and in the future. Use standards. Don’t customize Android, just include some specific apks so updates are easy. Make unique accessories and interactions to differentiate. The average person doesn’t want to have to worry about the details, they just want it to work well, but keep it open for the geeks to get in and play and customize.

    1. I think making low, mid and high end is pointless. Just make high grade. Last years version is mid, the year before that is low. Making 3 versions each year is what’s diluting their budgets and removing any sort of device recognition. Anyone that’s not a tech dork like us can’t keep track of all these device names. But they know Galaxy now.

      1. Yeah, and look how many different “Galaxy” devices are available: S3, S3 Mini, Note 2, 10.1, etc. etc. You don’t think that in itself is diluting the brand name? “Galaxy” is only so well known because Samsung decided to slap that name on virtually *ALL* of their smartphones and tablets.

        HTC making the One brand was great. And putting out 3 phones for the low, mid, and upper range was even better. Where they started to go wrong was in putting out *yet another* set of phones like the One SV, which so far is only slated to go to Cricket (in the US at least).

        1. in the us we really only have two s3 and note two they sell the s2 as a mid and i wouldn’t count the note 10.1 since it is a tablet

          1. The tablet still has the “Galaxy” moniker slapped on it.

          2. In 2012 Samsung had these new Galaxy devices released in the US.

            Galaxy S3, Galaxy S3 mini, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Beam, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Player 4.2.

            Did the Galaxy Player 5.8 ever come out like it was supposed to?
            Galaxy Camera and hell, don’t forget the Galaxy Nexus…

          3. i have not seen the mini or the beam on any carriers as far as player (ipod), Tab2-10.1 (ipad), tab2-7 (ipad mini) s3 (flagship phone) the notes (specialty nitch) its not really that flooded they are doing a great job the only weird one in the bunch is the tab 7.7.

  4. He’s mad that Marketing didn’t spend a Billion dollars like Samsung?

    Edit: I guess he should be, it worked for Sammy

  5. Yeah no s**t. Carrier exclusive and 16 million phones a year really makes it hard to allocate your marketing budget.

  6. It’s not that they didn’t spend enough, they tried to be too smart and artistic in their advertising. The One X (which I use – incredible device especially with Jellybean) marketed in the UK with dumb lifestyle ads that showed you f**k all about the phone itself. Compare that to Samsung’s print ads for the S3 vs iPhone. Perfect.

  7. More like lack of single unified well supported devices on all carriers.
    Hell, just supporting devices might help. The poor rezound has a nicer screen and better CPU than my Nexus, but still is on ICS.

  8. I disagree with everyone saying they need sd card slots and removable batteries. I love not having a sd card and having simplified, unified internal storage on my GNex. Plus, it’s more secure. However, if my GNex had a larger battery, I would be fine with it having a non-removable battery.

    Plus, isn’t the tech community raving over the Nexus 4 even though it has those deal breaking features? Yet, it seems the tech community are the only ones that care about a removable battery and a sd card.

    1. i think you fall into the minority of consumers. most of us want sd cards and removable batteries. until all carriers offer unlimited data at an affordable price or Wi-Fi can be had nearly anywhere, could storage won’t be accepted as the only storage. also there need bigger batteries in these phones to deter the want to put an extended battery in these phones

      1. I have Sprint with unlimited data. So I understand people on other carriers can’t stream their entire music collection like I do. So that puts me in the minority in that sense.

        1. pun intended…?

          1. OMG! I love it.

        2. ROFL… I have Sprint, the 3G is like dial-up. ROFLMAO. Good one.

          1. Sucks for you. I have LTE everywhere I go.

          2. Everywhere? So you go to 2 places? LOL.

          3. I’m sorry you hate Sprint. Just switch to another carrier if the speeds bother you so much.

            Everywhere I go in the Atlanta area has LTE. And when I’m in my college town, I have wifi all over campus.

          4. LOL I don’t hate Sprint, I use it for voice calling / texting. I also carry an AT&T phone (for work) that actually has usable data. Lucky you that you get LTE. I’m in Phoenix, never got Wimax (f**kers) and still not on roadmap for LTE. This is the 6th largest city in the US we’re talking about!! While little hick towns in Kansas get LTE we get screwed. Never mind that…microSD card storage is a life saver for the most of us without unlimited plans / decent download speeds.

    2. Tech community raves over it b/c it comes unlocked at a low price with the latest hardware and the only pure android in town. Everyone complains constantly about the storage size though. Its the one thing i hate about my Nexus 4. Battery life is pretty poor too. I’m fine with only having internal storage and no SD slot, but these Android manufacturers need to go the Apple route and offer 16 32 and 64gb models. 8 and 16 just don’t cut it, and the cloud isn’t good enough. They also need to quit focusing on thin and focus on battery life. I’m tired of having to carry chargers with me everywhere I go.

      1. Well, I think the solution is to ask for bigger batteries and larger internal storage. Not to ask for removable batteries and sd card slots.

        1. no sd card and larger internal storage doesnt solve my issue of when i change phones, with removable storage i can just remove the card and put in the new phone or i can sit there for a few hours moving all my files from internal storage from the old to the new everytime I change my phone.

          Id still prefer a removable battery. Larger batteries do last longer, but they still die and when its dead, your phones dead until u get to an outlet.

    3. Simple solution for you on the removable sd slot. Dont use it if you dont want/need to.
      Those that want to use it can/will. Just because the option is there doesnt mean you have to use it if you dont want to. Its an option. I dont understand why people just cant see that….

      Its not like the $2-5 they save leaving it out reflects in the retail price at all. It’ll still be around $2-300ish subsidized and $6-700ish unsubbed regardless.

      1. Very well said, why is so bad to have choices?

      2. Post of the year, dude.

    4. Different individuals value different things, and are willing to make different trade-offs for the things they value. Finding the right combination to appeal to the broadest possible market is hard.

      I’d speculate that squeezing out the last possible millimetre of thinness is probably a worse choice than improving the battery or allowing for removable storage. It’s easier to convince someone that it’s “thin enough” (which is so subjective) than that the feature they loved/relied on on their last phone really isn’t that important.

    5. Ive stated this before in regard to the non removable battery argument. Recently, the charging port on my Galaxy Nexus went kaput. Wo

      ‘t charge at all. Needs to be replaced. However, Google and Sammy are giving me the runaround. If the battery was non removable, I wouldn’t be able to swap them out and I would have a paperweight.

      So, yeah, removable battery is an absolute deal breaker for me from now on.

      The sd slot Ive learned to live with, but larger storage space should be a given.

  9. I don’t think the average consumer cares about SD and removable battery too much. HTC devices released in 2012 (DNA, One X, One X+) were nothing short of fantastic. Personally the reason I stood away from them is the fact that they are not running the newest software, I am not sure how much the average consumer cares about fragmentation, it is in the news quiet a often so this could actually deter some people. Personally I will never buy a non-Nexus device as long as I stick with Android.

    1. even the icrap makes 32gb and 64gb internal storage why settle for 16 gb when you can add 32 on top?, i just don’t get your logic. i meant this to Andr3ww.

  10. people have pretty much nailed it already. HTCs failure is so to not giving the people what they want, sd card slots, removable batteries, releases on all carriers. it’s just funny because HTC has been singing this same song for about two years now. you’d think with all the comments on the internet about their phones, they would have been able to figure out what they are doing wrong a long time ago.

  11. This guy is more pathetic that MITT ROMNEY’S son offering a revisionist history version of why they’re both LOSERS……..

    Put out a product that people actually want,not some BS in a slick marketing package which lacks substance.

    There’s too much competition offering what people want ,so,HTC,if you’re so worried about slick advertising, perhaps you should just drop product development altogether & become an advertising agency,& leave the product development to the professionals……

    1. Red herring is an English-language idiom that commonly refers to a type of logical fallacy in which a clue is intentionally or unintentionally misleading or distracting from the actual issue.

      1. Kinda kewl dat u got 2 put dat INGLESH LITTERAGE dagree 2 yoose 4 wonce……….

  12. I can live with a non removable battery if it is good enough. I thinkt that sd card slots are important. There are too many different ways to sync pictures with cloud services and apps on android, spread across different oems that it can be confusing to some people who just want to pop their sd card in and out when they change phones. There also is the other side for people who are savvy enough to have it nailed down on their own. I still havent figured out the best way yet even though I transferred everything with dropbox.

  13. To fix HTC:
    1. Release 1 (ONLY 1) Flagship phone that is readily updated for at least the course of a full year. Let last years phone be the budget phone, don’t make 3 versions. The One line had the The One V, One S, One X and then ultimately the One X+. You can’t market that many variations and expect to get anywhere against the likes of the Galaxy SIII and the iPhone. Market the hell out of that single phone worldwide, stop spreading budgets thin.
    3. If they’re going to keep doing the non-removable battery and no sd slot, offer giant batteries and 16gb, 32gb and 64gb models. Or hell, just 32 and 64!
    4. Get some better developers for HTC Sense. Even the newer version is still bloated to hell at back. Not as bad as version 3, but still its a nightmare.

    That’s my 2 cents.

    1. Agreed 100%. Sense sucks balls. black screens of death… never again HTC.

  14. Multi carrier launch. Stick with one device. Don’t let the carriers dilute the flagship device by getting their own variant.Advertise your device yourself. Dont rely on the carriers to do it. The one x from AT&T had a guy frickin sky diving taking pic with his camera phone and that was the entirety of the commerical! Really? How many people realistically do that? And they only showed it a couple times. This was AT&T and it was horrible and didnt speak to what the device could actually do, no specifications nothing just a guy using him HtC one x camera. It was industrial strength lame.Stop making SO many devices. I love your work too and i’m a mobile tech geek and even I’m confused about what devices you have and I read about this stuff every day. Can you imagine how confusing it is to someone new to mobile technology and is about to get their first device? You guys can do better. A lot better. But if you dont change things it wont matter how nice your devices are. You’ve got to make them available to everyone, and to promote them. Go straight at Apple the way Samsung does. Make it so!

  15. what about just one flagship available on all major carriers?
    no? what do you mean no?

  16. HTC – JUST GIVE THE PEOPLE^ WHAT THEY WANT (the people^ = the 0.00001% of Android users who comment on Phandroid) BECAUSE IT ISN’T ABOUT MARKETING (please ignore the gazillion people who continue to buy iPhones despite what “the people” recognize as its abundance of insufferable shortcomings!)

  17. How about HTC just make a phone that doesn’t suck? As an early devotee of HTC (had the Evo 4G and Evo 3D) I was on an HTC only roll. Too bad the Evo 3D sucked balls. Suffered black screen of death (Sense bloatware), and I was foolish not to have used a SD card at the time and lost all of my data / photos after a factory reset (pulled the battery to do it too). Now HTC doesn’t offer SD card to store my data safely after an OS corruption, and non-removable battery in case of more screens of death to even more bloated Sense.

    I’ve stuck with Samsung sense then (pun intended) and been a happy camper. Screw HTC as they can’t produce a decent product even for early devotees like me.

    1. Yeah I was in your boat with those first two Evos until they stopped putting removable batteries and sd slots. Then Samsung put out the Note and I had to get it. It’ll take a lot for someone to get me away from a Note 2. Nobody is even trying to compete in that area.

  18. poor execution of updates in a timely manner on existing phones? Lack of true support for phones once they reach the market? More worried about being licensed by Apple than being innovative. Those are some better reasons.

  19. What HTC really needs to do is learn how about what people want. They need to do EXACTLY like samsung is doing which is giving the people what they want. Of course they have to remain HTC with their sense UI, gorgeous design and all that but what i mean by giving people what they want like samsung is doing is:
    – removable batteries
    -expandable storage
    -availability through all carriers
    -get rid of that stupid HTC dev and ship devices S-off ( that would be a major win)

    -choose the right SoC ( qualcomm is the best available)
    -be more generous with their batteries ( 2100mah and up)
    -Add cool features ( like smart stay, smart alert from samsung)

    If they do that, they will have a fantastic 2013. This is the key to please both regular customers and developers/modders and thats exactly what samung does. They make a powerful phone like the S3 with lots of features, and its developer friendly.

    1. Yes, all of that. Exactly what he said.

  20. I have to say I really hope they do turn it around. I hope they make a top notch phone with SD card and that new slcd 3 screen. Wow that would be so nice and to be back with HTC!

  21. After changing to Razr Maxx I could never go back to a phone with a lesser battery. I don’t miss having my phone on charge more than it isn’t.

  22. i blame sense get rid of it and i may buy another htc i loved my g2 htc build quality and vanilla android now my evo design on the other hand crap was so slow and laggy. granted it was not the most powerful device but simple things like replacing the launcher actually improved responsiveness

  23. Dude (Chou) you still don’t get it. Sixteen Gb and small batteries aren’t the answer.

  24. And as long as they release a phone then one year later forget about it to start work on the next best thing ( amaze, sensation) with only one update it seems like htc is trying to make people spend money on the unsubsidized ‘new thing’ because every carrier has a two year upgrade policy. If you want the newest os, buy the newest phone out of pocket only to be forgotten about a year later. Update the amaze already, it’s still a great phone.

  25. My first Android phone was Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G, by the time the EVO 4G LTE came out I already was at T-Mobile on the Galaxy S3 (I’d owned the GS2 on Sprint temporarily), but while I like HTC devices the EVO line are the only ones I find really attractive. The One X is also great but I prefer the specs/kickstand/color scheme of the EVO.

    What I like about HTC is their sturdy feel and I like Sense much more than any other manufacturer’s skin, and software is nice as well. They should of course continue building solid, sturdy phones that are also attractive. To compete right now they’ll need to jump ahead with the technology on smartphones, I’m sure they [manufacturers] could make phones even more advanced *right now* if they so wished, but if HTC wants to compete with Samsung they need to really impress.

    I’d also love to see a kick-ass tablet from HTC.

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