The Rise and Fall of HTC

HTC Losing Out to Samsung in Smartphone Race

If there was one company which benefited the most from Android’s success in the early days, it was HTC. It was the first device manufacturer to launch an Android device – the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1), and also the first to launch the first Google branded Nexus device – the Nexus One.

It was at the top of the charts when it came to Android device sales, way ahead of Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others.

But then, the others caught up with it. Motorola launched the Droid which was a huge success, and possibly the first Android smartphone with excellent sales.

HTC was still leading the pack with the HTC Hero, HTC Desire, HTC Evo and the HTC Desire Z. But it was slowly losing its dominant position to Samsung. The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S catapulted Samsung to the top of the charts globally. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 was an even bigger hit. HTC had launched the Sensation to counter it, but it wasn’t nearly as successful as the Galaxy S 2.

Samsung has also beaten HTC in vying for Google’s affections, and made the next two Nexus devices – the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus.

Even though HTC is still among the top device manufacturers in terms of shipments, it hasn’t launched a single impressive device in the last year. It seems to have ignored the Android tablet market, launching just the Flyer, which hasn’t been flying off the shelves. Samsung, on the other hand, has taken the lead in the Android tablet market too. It is beating the competition neither on specifications, nor on price.

Samsung now has Android smartphones in every price bracket, while HTC has only the Wildfire S in the budget segment. HTC has a number of impressive devices when it comes to Windows Phone, but then Windows Phone itself isn’t doing very well. Additionally, with the launch of Nokia’s new Windows Phone devices, the competition is heating up even on the Windows Phone front.

It recently cut its sales forecast for the fourth quarter, following which its stock has crashed almost 30%.

The new HTC Rezound seems impressive, and may bring it back on top, but it seems unlikely, as both Motorola and Samsung are working on similar devices.

“We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive. Other than new LTE phones for the U.S. market, we have phones for the global market. We will launch some worldwide flagship products. We’re confident in them,” said HTC’s CFO, in an interview with Reuters.

HTC has also stated that it will be focusing on China, which is now the world’s largest smartphone market to drive sales growth.

For now, it seems hard to imagine that any manufacturer can topple Samsung from the top of the Android charts. But then no one saw it coming for HTC either, when it was on top more than a year ago.

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  • HTC won some award for innovation last year, but I have not see anything innovative from HTC lately!
    However, developers love HTC, especially since it promised unlocked bootloaders.

    • Tommy Subway

      HTC is allowing Verizon to shoot them in the foot. HTC is allowing people to unlock bootloaders, but Verizon won’t allow them to unlock the HTC Rezound. Because the bootloader is only locked and not encrypted someone will bust it open eventually anyway. This is all because Verizon wants people to pay for services like tethering and wifi hotspot (which doesn’t cost Verizon anything extra for the user to use) on top of the data plan that you are already paying for.

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