I’m beginning to believe that HTC doesn’t think they have it hard enough already. That, for whatever reason, they believe they have to handicap themselves right out of the gate here in the U.S., just to make any victory they might get better. We watched last year, for example, as the company made all sorts of announcements and had all these great plans, many of which just didn’t pan out. We didn’t see fewer phones, is just one example. This is a company that absolutely has to stick to a plan to make any headway in the smartphone race. Which is why a lot of people are excited about the One, their brand new flagship device.

As a refresher, the One features a 4.7-inch 1080p LCD 3 display, which gives it a pixel density of 469. It comes in two variations: a 32GB or 64GB model, but both feature 2GB of RAM, and a 4 Ultrapixel camera on the back. There’s also a 2.1MP front-facing shooter, BoomSound, BlinkFeed, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and HTC’s Sense UI version 5. It’s all powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, which is clocked at 1.7GHz.

All in all, the HTC One is the very definition of HTC’s design aesthetic, featuring one of the most impressive frames for a smartphone many people have ever seen. There’s no doubt that HTC managed to cram a lot of great features into a ridiculously nice design, so it should be no surprise that people here in the United States are eagerly anticipating the phone’s impending launch.

There are a lot of different, sometimes super complicated steps to having a successful product. In the case of a smartphone, there may be even more than any other device heading to retail locations. Not only do you have to start the process by showing off a device that catches the attention of potential buyers, but you have to sell it. It can’t just look good. You have to tell people why they need the phone, and why it should be the next thing they throw their money at – and sign a contract for. (Unless you’re switching to T-Mobile USA, that is.)

We’re expecting to see HTC market the One, a lot more than they ever marketed the One X, or the One X+. Or any of their handsets from 2012, for that matter. They need to make sure that people know the One exists, what it can do, what it features, and where they can get it. HTC is already burdened by the fact that there are multiple reports that the One won’t be landing on Verizon’s Big Red network, so that’s a step in the wrong direction right away. So, they’ll have to work even harder to get people to other carriers, to make the switch.

But, here’s the rub, HTC: You aren’t trying to get the carriers extra points. You aren’t trying to make people say, “Hey, well, AT&T’s obviously the better choice because….” No, you’re trying to make people like you. Your brand. Your phone and its features. You aren’t trying to make people leave Verizon for AT&T, or AT&T for T-Mobile. You are trying to make people leave the iPhone 5 for the One, or to stop people from buying the Galaxy S 4, or the BlackBerry Z10.

HTC, you’re selling a phone. Not a carrier’s branding.

And yet, here we are, reeling in the news that you’ve got an exclusive tied with AT&T. An exclusive for the device offering more memory. According to a report from Droid-Life, an AT&T promotional video shows the HTC One and talks features. What it also does, twice, is promote that the 64GB One will be an AT&T exclusive. Okay, great, AT&T has an exclusive.

How does that help HTC? It doesn’t. A phone isn’t popular anymore because it’s an exclusive. Why? Because there are other phones worth buying. If anyone is even remotely interested in the One, but knows they can’t get the 64GB version on Verizon, why wouldn’t they look at a Galaxy S 4? No switching carriers, a newer version of Android (if that matters to you), and plenty of features shoved into TouchWiz. But, more than anything else: no switching carriers.

HTC, you aren’t in a position to be offering exclusives and think they’re a good idea. Especially not an exclusive that will inherently have a higher price tag. Unless, of course, the 64GB HTC One is already cheaper than the $249.99 price tag for the Galaxy S 4 on AT&T’s network.

The reason why BlackBerry’s Z10 will be a success, if it sees any success at all, is because it’s on multiple carriers. The same goes for the Q10 when it launches. Samsung’s Galaxy S 4? Yep, it will be a huge success because it’s on even more carriers. Phones need to be widely available, there’s just no getting around that anymore. Carrier exclusives just aren’t what they were, if they were anything at all.

This is certainly not a "quietly brilliant" move. Oh, too soon?

What do you think? Do you believe HTC should be gearing up for an exclusive of any kind? Or should they be working hard to make sure that their One is available on every single network they can get it on? Will you even think about switching to AT&T from another network to get the 64GB One? Let me know.

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Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the HTC One Black 32GB

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28 Reactions to this post

"Should HTC be actively avoiding any carrier exclusives for the One?"

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Carlton Littlejohn In this day and age its pretty silly to have carrier exclusives.
Kelly Tanaka Bad idea. Whoever makes these decisions should be replaced.
Wanda Hayes-Henry I'm NOT changing carrier (Verizon,) for the HTC One, but I wish Verizon would get with the program! All this damn procrastination, gets on my nerves! Make up your ever loving mind already! My contract is up, and, I could upgrade LAST November, sheese!!!!
Wanda Hayes-Henry Did Verizon choose not to carry the HTC One??? Now they're going to get some type of variant?? What's up?? DNA 2; HTC Butterfly 2; HTC Deluxe, WTH!
Bradley Larcher Carrier exclusive is dumb. Nokia set the example with the Lumia 900 and 920. Many people wanted them, but were not willing to switch to AT&T
Shamuel Miah Think they are trying to make a point The One only available on the One network LoL
Julio Rivera The only reason what anyone would change carriers in the iPhone on all 4 major carrier era is if they want the most robust network (VZW) or they want to save money (T-Mobile). HTC should be on every network with the same phone. It's what made the S3 such a huge seller.
Cesario Brito Jr. This is why HTC always lose. Smh.
Nathan Bryant Yea, it was one of many reasons why they flopped. Same phone across the board. Otherwise the name itself is ironic and an oxymoron.
Haithem Obeidi They should definitely be avoiding it. Who the hell is in charge of whatever team decides to make exclusives? Its a horrible idea, they need to get their phone on every carrier with every storage size.
Michael Vanegas They are not going with a carrier exclusive phone line rather they are giving att the luxury of having the 64gb version .......which is limiting the consumer
Jake Cain The One X never made it to Verizon and that was a huge disappointment to me because I actually like a lot of HTC 's phones. Now I have a Samsung S3 and love it, but could easily be tempted away by a good HTC product, like this new HTC One. But there is no way I can see myself leaving Verizon. Carrier exclusive phones are old hat. If you want to sell your product and you want to sell a lot of it, you have to offer it to everyone possible. I want HTC and companies other than Samsung and Apple to be successful because we want choices and product diversity. C'mon HTC, I'm rooting for you!
Eric Mitchell They should stop w/ the exclusives. It's hard to tell which device is actually HTC's flagship.
Brian Zhang HTC seriously can't be considering that right? The only reason a lot of the people I know bought the S3 was because it was popular AND available on their carrier. I have friends with Galaxy S3s from T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and even MetroPCS. If HTC really wants to go carrier-exclusive, let's see how that turns out for them.
Benzchino Reyes HTC sucks
Justcallme Ren Yes they should. They should offer it to every carrier they can. If they want to make a comeback it would be stupid to have a device exclusive to one company. A 10 year verizon customer is not gonna jump ship to att for a new phone and vice versa. They should look at post and prepaid. Bigger the audience, better the chance of a sale
Mark Belkowski if the one goes up against the s4 its all over for htc. this phone should be availble already.
Kenneth Maneeley Release the phone to all carriers such as Samsung has done with the galaxy series. It will then help HTC grow. Get a premium product to everyone!
CeeGii Borels HTC: Trying so hard to be Apple back in 2008
Jason Vargas These kind of decisions are ones that make Samsung more superior.
Amir Canty Htc cant afford it they better get the ONE on as many carriers as possible even Metro And Cricket
Naveen Shan Who cares about HTC
Shamus Edward Valentine Nazario No, if they avoid any more carriers they will screw themselves! All carriers same phone.
Alexander Rojas Yeah, they can't afford it, literally.
Rich Hernandez Tmobile. With the impending iPhone release, that network will shudder.
Steve Hartsock HTC won't be around 'as we know it now' in a couple years.

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