How would you fix HTC?
Two Know Your Mobile readers offer their thoughts on what HTC needs to do to get itself back in contention
Once the biggest player in the Android Kingdom, HTC is now languishing in third place behind Samsung and Sony in the UK. 2012 saw the company’s sales, revenues, profits, and market share fall dramatically quarter after quarter. So what can be done?
HTC CEO Peter Chou made it through 2012 with his job intact and vowed that 2013 would be a better year for the company. Maybe so, but with increased pressure from Sony and LG, as well as Samsung, 2013’s Android space looks just as competitive as it did last year, perhaps even more so…
Whatever happens to HTC, it’ll be consumers that decide the company’s fate. And with this in mind, Know Your Mobile reached out to some dedicated HTC supporters to find out what they’d do if they suddenly found themselves in Peter Chou’s chair, calling the shots.
First up is, Bart Sintenie – follow Bart on Google+
My two cents:
1. Work on reliability before anything else. Way too many HTC phones don't last two years. I know three people who had the Desire Z, and all three had to replace their handsets within a year.
I currently own a Desire Z as well and the damn thing switches off at least three times a day, which is obviously very annoying.
2. Updates: Get them out ASAP and for as many phones as possible.
3. Forget about Sense in its current form and go for the standard Google Android experience. This makes it way easier to update phones to a new versions of Android.
Offer Sense and its programs through Google Play. Free for HTC owners and paid for non-HTC users, that way HTC can earn money at the expensive of its competitors, whilst also being more flexible.
4. Be the best in battery life, instead of thinness.
Here’s +Paul Curtis’ take on HTC’s current predicament and what he’d like to see changed:
I jumped on the Android bandwagon following the huge success of the HTC Desire. My contract was up for renewal just as the Desire S was launched, and I took the chance to get what I saw as the natural successor to the Desire, the Desire S.
For the first couple of months, I loved it. Then HTC pushed an OTA update, which effectively meant that if I wanted a 3G signal, none of the 2G stuff (call, SMS, the stuff that makes a phone a phone) worked.
It was widely reported but completely denied by HTC. The only way I could receive calls and SMS was to turn off the 3G signal, which made my new smartphone not very smart at all.
In an attempt to have a functioning phone again, even though it was only a few months old I rooted it and flashed Cyanogenmod 7.2. I was blown away with the speed and battery life compared to whichever version of Sense I had been using, and found I much preferred the 'vanilla' Android experience.
My Desire S is coming up to 2 years old now and still runs flawlessly. I am now using CM10. This is the first phone I've had that has lasted this long, and it’s showing no signs of giving up.
I still look at the HTC One X+ – it's a stunning phone, the specs are sensational, and the benchmark tests speak for themselves. But I can't get past the fact that it will be crippled by Sense, and then possibly bricked in 6 months time with no hope of any support or further updates.
If HTC want to get back in the game, they've got a tough road ahead. I completely understand that to make their sales numbers up they have to appeal to the masses, and the masses don't all want constant updates and the latest version of Android. Most customers will buy their phone and be perfectly happy with it until they change it again at renewal time.
However, the people who care enough to be vocal about it really do care. We don't want two-year-old phones with two-year-old software. You pay a lot of money for a smartphone, so you expect it to go the distance or else what’s the point of having all that high-end hardware?
We know that the hardware can handle the updates and we know that HTC have Jelly Bean based ROMs. It’s this aspect of it that is most frustrating. That and the fact that so many legacy devices have been left out to rot after only six months to a year on market.
I think HTC would do well with a two-pronged approach:
1. One or two solid, middle-of-the-road phones. Fill them up with Sense, Beats Audio, whatever junk they think will appeal to their mass market.
2. Another one or two high-end phones, aimed at their 'techy' and 'geeky' customers. People like me. People who want a quality phone, but who want to be free to use it as they wish, which means unlocked bootloaders, no Sense, easily Rooted, and AOSP based ROMs. No preloaded junk. We know if we mess with it we'll void the warranty - but let US make that decision.
Then SUPPORT THEM! All of them! Dedicate some of the dev. team to working on fully tested, safe updates as soon as Android releases the source code, and offer them ahead of everybody else – Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony, etc.
I see a lot of others hoping for a HTC Nexus phone too, because to them and to me, that would be the ultimate combination: solid, dependable hardware and vanilla Android.
HTC, the ball is officially in your court now...