Next year should be interesting for HTC

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| November 5, 2013

Like BlackBerry, the most recent news around HTC hasn't been the shiniest pieces of info to make their way around the internet. It may not be as all doom and gloom as it is for BlackBerry, but it's also no secret that HTC isn't in the best place. They're certainly not doing as well as they'd like to be, that's for sure, and it's not a surprise in the slightest that we're hearing the company is going to start doing some reworking to start eking out a profit as soon as possible.

As someone on the outside looking in, I can say that I think one of the best things going for HTC at this point is their CEO, Peter Chou. While many executives at our favorite mobile companies are willing to speak their mind about what's going on, in my opinion only Chou is as straightforward about a company as it gets. He knows that it's not all butterflies and daisies right now, and he's doing what he can to address it. I'm sure he knows that it's incredibly hard to turn around a company in a short period of time (just look at BlackBerry, who has a six quarter plan to turn things around), but he's willing to do whatever it takes to get it done as quickly as possible.

I think that has a lot to do with the fact that Chou knows HTC has a place at the top of the pack. HTC's name isn't completely forgotten about, and people are just waiting for that one device, the combination of hardware and software, to put the company back at the top. They're moving in the right direction, there's no doubt about that, but HTC needs more than just one device. Or, more than just the One.

At the end of October, we heard that HTC's CEO planned on putting a bigger focus on the smartphones and other devices his company creates, which is something he hasn't been able to do for quite some time. The result, hopefully, will mean a more laser focus on the creations they release, whether it's a set of new smartphones, a new tablet, or even a smartwatch. Whatever comes out of HTC, it sounds like Chou is going to have a personal touch on it, which will hopefully mean good things.

It's been less than a month since we heard that, and now it sounds like we may be missing out on high-end smartphones from HTC, at least for a little while.

Earlier today, HTC's CFO Chialin Chang said that HTC has a plan to increase profitability by looking at "broader products," and selling more smartphones. The kicker is the smartphone, where Chang says HTC will focus on "more affordable smartphones." On this end of the telephone game, that sounds like a step away from high-end devices like the One, and a bigger focus on mid-range devices, like the One mini.

We already know that HTC is going to get back into the tablet race, based on comments from Peter Chou, and we've been hearing about a smartwatch from the company for quite some time now. That would indeed broaden their device portfolio, but there's just no doubt that both of those markets are deep in turbulent seas. HTC has to make devices that stand out among the crowd, and that could prove difficult to do.

I've been straightforward about my love for the HTC One right from the start (and so have all of you who vote for our Official Smartphone Rankings), and that outlook on the device hasn't changed a bit. I love the One, and I think HTC made easily one of the Best --if not *the* best-- Android smartphone to date, software miscues and all. That's why I'm sad if HTC is indeed going to take a bit of a hiatus from the high-end smartphone market to put their focus on other products, as well as mid-range devices.

However, I get it. HTC and company have to do what they can to turn things around for the company as a whole, and if that means they need to put a focus on more affordable devices to move more handsets, then that's what they have to do. There's always a chance they do that while also creating a successor to the One, which is even better on all fronts than its predecessor. Plus, the tablet and whatever else they're working on could indeed make some waves in all the right ways.

Fingers crossed, anyway. And hey, maybe Windows Phone can play a part in the comeback.

What do you think HTC needs to do to get back on top of the smartphone market, or just get more footing in general? Do you think a smartwatch or tablet will make a difference? Or do you believe a focus on mid-range, to ship out more affordable devices, is the right path? Let me know.

Products mentioned