In this industry it seems like anything could change at the drop of a hat. What might be considered “great specs” for a phone one month may be considered obsolete by the next. That super fun new game that all of your friends and their moms are playing will be forgotten about by the next week. The OEM that clearly has a leading edge on the industry might make a couple of bad decisions that plummets its reputation straight to the bottom from one year to the next. Alternatively, maybe the OEM makes a change for the better and begins a (much slower) descent to the top.
As many of you are probably aware, HTC is pretty much the poster child for the aforementioned inconsistent OEM. The company is currently experiencing a noticeable downtrend. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will always be in the position that they are in now. For the most part, it would seem that people are rooting for HTC to make a solid turn around, and soon.
I’ve seen a couple of leaks pop up recently for upcoming rumored HTC devices, both of which have since been debunked. The first was a reference to next year’s HTC One model, dubbed the “HTC O2” (which I think is actually a good, easily marketable name, but might be a problem in the UK where mobile carrier “O2” operates). The second is for the "HTC Aero", which is rumored to come out sometime later this year.
These are both expected topics to talk about at this point. My only problem is that both of these phones are often speculated as being a “hero phone” for the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer. (Which, coincidentally, HTC has technically already made, but I digress.)
The term “hero phone” I feel sets us up for failure; rather, it sets the company in question up for failure as it seems like it sets people up with high expectations, and if those expectations are not met then there’s an even bigger let down. While we should certainly hope for the best when it comes to HTC in their efforts to win back the hearts of smartphone users, the term “hero phone” worries me because it has a tendency to be taken out of context and spiral out of control very quickly.
We can refer to Motorola’s Moto X as a good recent example of how this doesn’t play out well. Here are some excerpts from articles talking about Motorola’s mysterious “X Phone”, the first phone to be released by Motorola since the company was acquired by Google:
“Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside announced today that the company's new 'hero' handset will be called the Moto X…” – TechRadar
"Moto X 'hero' device confirmed by Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside..." - PhoneDog (guilty as charged)
"Motorola... is indeed working on a phone called Moto X that is their 'hero' device for 2013." - Droid-Life
You get the idea. People were expecting great things out of this device. It was supposed to be Motorola’s hero! Its saving grace! And what became of it? Initially, a big heaping pile of disappointment, that’s what. The device was overpriced, under-specced (for the price being asked), and although it came with some cool color options, it just didn’t measure up to the expectation of being this big, fancy “hero device” for Motorola. Fortunately not all was lost, as the Moto X did end up picking up some steam towards the end. The Moto X today is actually a pretty fair choice in the industry after adjustments to the price were made.
However, I do think that the massive amount of hype that surrounded the phone was a big part of the reason that it got the reaction that it did. And I’m worried that the same thing will happen to HTC.
Yes, it would be awesome if we got this fantastic, mystical phone from HTC; that the past couple of years were just filler put in place for HTC to buy more time to create this wonderful, magnificent phone that we have all been waiting for. But, realistically, I feel like using terms like “hero phone”, or anything that otherwise suggests that this phone will surely save the company and win everybody over in one fell swoop, is shooting ourselves in the foot.
We should hope to see a phone like that, but if the term is used often enough I think people start to expect it. Or at least not hype it up as such before we even know what the next device is, or when it’s coming. On the other hand, maybe the term is necessary to fuel any interest in a company that’s currently in a slump.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think that terms like “hero phone” are beneficial for the industry, or do they do more harm than good? Let us know in the comments!