HTC's CEO, Peter Chou, is always straightforward when he's talking about any kind of situation his company might be in. We all know that HTC isn't in a great spot right now, and instead of hiding behind a smile and positive quotes, he lays it out like it is. It's not all bad, though, as Chou always has an idea to turn things around.
At least, to try and turn things around, anyway.
Whether or not that's actually happened right now is up in the air, but at least HTC isn't giving up. Peter Chou has decided to stick it out, to fight the long fight. So while 2013 is in the process of wrapping up, and HTC is gearing up to show off their One successor next year, it doesn't sound like they're resting on their laurels.
Chou has said that the One family of devices is doing well, and I'm sure most of that love is thanks to the first One to be released last year, which eventually became the middle child in the lineup. It's still one of my favorite Android devices on the market, and HTC deserves a lot of credit for creating one of the first Android-based devices to take the high-end hardware crown.
That's a nice turn-around. Last year, HTC's CEO was saying that marketing was one of the hardest obstacles for his company to overcome, but that they'd be working on it throughout 2013. That eventually turned into commercials with Robert Downey Jr., and the real-time, long-term results of that partnership are probably still being ironed out.
HTC stuck to a plan, though, and that's really what matters for a company that seemed incapable of doing so just a couple of years ago. Moving into 2014, we should see a more focused, more driven HTC. Hopefully that means we get to see the fruits of that labor in devices.
Peter Chou is going to put more focus in the devices that his company releases, too, something he hasn't been able to do recently because he's been too busy. He'll be shirking a lot of duties to chairwoman Cher Wang from here on out, and he'll be putting more effort in having more to say about the devices that HTC will launch in the future.
And yes, that means more than just smartphones.
HTC is looking towards the wearable industry, which he states is a "critical segment." That means we could potentially see an HTC-branded smartwatch as early as 2014. HTC confirmed that there are a lot of "gimmick" devices out there, so hopefully they're creating something that can actually sweep potential consumers off their feet.
Perhaps more interesting is HTC's return to tablets, which Chou and Wang teased quite a bit. Wang went as far as to say that their tablet would be "nice and disruptive" when it saw the light of day. Obviously no final release dates or even windows were offered, but it's a way to get people looking towards the future and infusing HTC with some additional hope.
HTC's departure from the tablet market wasn't a surprise, as their Flyer tablet wasn't a huge success -- especially not against Apple's iPad. But obviously tablets aren't going anywhere and not everyone wants Apple's wares, so there is still some room for a worthy competitor (just ask Amazon).
The HTC Flyer could have been better in a lot of different ways, yes, but I think the one big issue with the tablet, which focused so much on the stylus and its bundled features, was the fact it wasn't sold with the stylus. (Eventually some models were, unless you purchased one from Best Buy.) That was an extra charge, despite the fact that the Flyer's main existence was to use that stylus. It was an odd move, and hopefully if HTC plans on using a stylus again, they fix that little issue. (If Samsung can do it with all of their Note devices, you can too, HTC.)
I like that HTC isn't focusing just on smartphones. Sure, the wearable sector and the tablet market are tough niches to dig into, but I think if HTC can put the same high-end design elements into those devices as they have with the One series, then they're already moving in the right direction.
What do you think HTC needs to do to make some waves in the wireless industry again? Should they skip devices like smartwatches and tablets and just focus on smartphones, or do you think HTC could make some really interesting hardware? Does HTC have the ability to turn things around? Let me know what you think.