Alright, so to avoid being a total hypocrite about my post the other day regarding Samsung and all of their Galaxy S5 variants, it looks like I have to dish out some criticism for HTC as well. How can I not with hard rumors of three new HTC One (M8) devices that are supposedly on the way? Despite as much drivel as I give Samsung for their constant need to produce new variants, they do have certain advantages over HTC that give them the ability to do so without causing much of a hiccup in their profits or popularity. It’s more of an annoyance than a real problem for the company.
HTC, on the other hand, is treading in murky waters. The HTC One was a gem in a sea of duds over the past couple of years for the Taiwanese company. The fact that they decided to release three of the same phone in varying sizes was one thing, but what they’re doing this year is a little different, and a little more confusing at that. I’m afraid that HTC is already losing focus after one good year.
If you’ve been around since the beginning of the whole smartphone revolution, you probably have fond memories of HTC’s earlier days. You probably remember the G1, which was one of the first phones to really rival the Apple iPhone in the name of Android; you also had other popular devices like the Hero, Droid Incredible, EVO 4G, and of course the Nexus One. HTC certainly had a lot of influence at the beginning, but somewhere after the EVO it seemed like HTC dropped off the face of the earth. Nothing they were making were selling very well, but they were making a lot of nothings to sell. HTC released 22 Android devices in 2011, and 11 in 2012. Out of 33 phones, there was only one that I was ever interested in, and that was the EVO 3D. The phone was a huge let down, and everywhere I looked it seemed like HTC was having problems with several models of phones. I wrote HTC off after the 3D.
In 2013, HTC released 3 Android phones, the One with different size variants, and was able to put them back on my (as well as many others') radar. The One was a good looking device; it was fast, responsive, and had very little issues. You could tell that HTC was really committed to this phone, and brought some nice features along with it. This year, I thought that HTC should be committed to doing the same, to prove to people that they wouldn’t go into that same frenzy they went into before. You don’t want just one good year, you want to have many good years. But this year is already shaping up to be different with rumors of an HTC M8 “Prime” and “Ace” models, and looks strangely similar to Samsung-like tactics.
Aside from the fact that it’s slightly jarring to see that brand new phone you just bought outdated mere months later by the same manufacturer that made your phone, I think I’m more worried about HTC confusing people into oblivion again. Granted “Ace” and “Prime” are codenames, but so was “M8” and it stuck (although I will gladly take “M8” over “The All New HTC One” any day, because holy cow that was bad). Still, it would seem like common sense to clearly name the variants accordingly. They all share the same M8 name, but what makes it different? The Ace is rumored to be a model made out of cheaper materials, the Prime is rumored to be a model made out of even more premium materials, be larger, and have a faster processor. I felt that HTC One Max and Mini made more sense than getting fancy with the terms. I suppose Prime works for all intents and purposes, but Ace? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether the codenames stick or not.
I would hate to see HTC sink back down into the slumps they were in not too long ago. The One was a good phone, the One (M8) is a good phone, but they’re treading in dangerous, familiar waters. Hopefully these models work out for the best for HTC, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel a little bit worried (and slightly annoyed) at this point.