It’s no secret that HTC, one of the most well-known smartphone manufacturers, isn’t doing so well when it comes to profits or stock market value. HTC has been struggling for quite some time now, but within the past week the company has had even further setbacks that are causing many to question the future of the company.
“Slower demand for high-end smartphones and weaker sales in China prompted HTC’s June 5 warning,” writes Tim Culpan of Bloomberg when describing the short of why HTC is suddenly doing worse rather than better as of late. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the backlash that the company’s most recent flagship, the HTC One M9, received earlier this year.
The HTC One M9 isn’t bad, but it’s also not that great in comparison to other flagships this year. With companies like Samsung coming out with the flashy Galaxy S6 (and S6 Edge) and people still glomming onto the fact that the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are much bigger than previous generations, it’s a rough time to try and keep things consistent – which is exactly what HTC decided to do with the M9. In fact, they kept the design so consistent that they even accidentally used a photo of the One M8 in one of their own Facebook advertisements for the M9 earlier this year. An honest mistake, I’m sure, but when the differences between completely different models are that mundane, you have to wonder if it was the right decision or not.
And then, of course, you have the debacle with the camera. HTC’s choice in camera has been under scrutiny since the HTC One M7 was released back in 2013. The uniquely named “UltraPixel” camera was something that utterly confused many people. The camera, which had a 4-megapixel resolution, was still supposedly better than other cameras with higher resolution.
For the most part, I actually tended to agree when I owned the phone. The quality of the UltraPixel camera did seem to be higher in many ways compared to smartphone cameras with 8 and 13-megapixel resolutions, but you would be hard-pressed to get most people to agree. Megapixels was, and is, still what people care about the most, and although HTC went with the same 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera in the M8, the company caved to criticism this year by releasing a 20-megapixel camera on the back of the M9. Unfortunately, without optical image stabilization (OIS) the camera still ended up being less than impressive. (Although, it would seem that the company is continuously working on the quality of the camera via updates, so that’s good news.)
And although the M7 was widely regarded was one of the most premium looking and feeling Android smartphones in 2013, other manufacturers have picked up on these cues and have made some pretty fancy design changes of their own. Each generation of HTC’s One looks similar to the last, and while it’s still a good looking piece of hardware, I don’t think people are exactly wowed by the design anymore.
Finally, you have the issue of HTC’s bizarre advertising. Their long, drawn-out advertisements that spend most of the commercial making fun of other companies rather than promoting their own product, along with repeated attempts at being humorous but only coming across as awkward, could use a different approach.
With all of that being said, I do think HTC could bounce back if they really wanted to. I was extremely impressed with the change that the M7 made in 2013, and I probably would have been very much on board with the M8 if it hadn’t been for its large size (but everything else was pretty great). The M9, however, didn’t bring that same spark, and I’m sure HTC realizes this. They’ve been innovative in the past, and they’ve bounced back from a similar situation before. As bleak as things might look for them, I don’t think this is the end. I hope it’s not the end.