Inevitably, there was one big loser this year on the smartphone market: HTC. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer became popular when it launched the original, HTC One M7. Before that, the number of people who had heard of the company was significantly smaller. The HTC One M7, followed by the HTC One M8 were and still are two of the best Android smartphones on the market – to this date. With great design, user-friendly Sense interface, great support and updates as well as excellent performance, Android fans were smitten with HTC. The change started at the HTC One M8 camera – when the company took its first major risk involving the flagship line-up. Now we’re at the HTC One M9s and an HTC One X9 might be coming by the end of the year. What’s going on?
The HTC One X9 is the latest rumored device from the company, after having launched the One M8s, One ME, One M9, One M9 Plus, One M9 Plus Supreme Camera, HTC One A9, One E9 and One E9 Plus, all in 2015. That’s 8 phones, just in the One flagship family, launched this year. The company seems to be going down the Samsung road when it comes to releases (without the funding,though), and making an iPhone 6S clone didn’t help sales whatsoever. With the rumors about yet another One X9 device coming along, we can’t help but wonder if it will be the last phone from the legendary company.
The HTC One X9 has already been leaked online thanks to its TENAA certification documents being posted. When such documents showcase smartphones, they usually end up being launched within two months from when the documents were published. That means that before the year ends, the HTC One X9 release date will be coming around. I, for one, am tired of what the company is doing and as a long-time fan, I feel they’ve lost their way. The One A9 is a failed device and it should not be followed up with the likes of the One X9.
In the leaked documents, One X9 specs showcase a 5.5-inch FHD resolution display, a Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera and most interestingly: the One A9 design. So, what HTC is doing is launching their own set of iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus clones in the form of mid-range smartphones. Although HTC was first to use the antennae lines and chamfered edges design years ago, Apple made it popular and the judgment that people are passing on HTC for this is inevitable. It’s wrongful, but it’s HTC’s fault. They should have thought about the backlash and should have thought about their fanbase. HTC fans have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the company’s future, always making sure to emphasize how great the One M7 and One M8 are. The company didn’t listen.
Fans got a big blow with the HTC One M9 and its Plus counterpart with a fingerprint sensor being Asia-exclusive. The bigger blow was the HTC One A9 and its obviously iPhone design. We understood that they wanted to make a premium smartphone, but they should have focused on their own, perfectly acceptable and globally liked, design language. The One A9 would have been much more appreciated if it looked like the One M7 and still had BoomSound. The company seems to be making the worst possible choices, and there has to be a reason for it.
As you can probably tell, HTC is pretty aware of what people are saying and what response their devices are getting. They’re definitely aware of dropping stock values and revenues, so my guess is this: we can bid adieu to HTC in the Android smartphone market. A theory that surfaced is that HTC wants to spin-off its smartphone division and that seems like a good explanation for all this chaos with their recent launches. The One X9 kind of sounds like the last phone, you know, X marking the spot and everything. But why devalue the company if you want to spin it off or sell it? It’s something a financial analysts should get on explaining, but the change in HTC’s management had a very big impact on the company’s smartphone industry. The steep drop in popularity and sales couldn’t have been so unexpected. What do you guys think?
In my opinion, the One X9 might be the last smartphone from the company – on its own – but we might want to look for HTC in other industries: wearables and VR. That’s where the future of innovation seems to be, at least for the next couple of years and the Taiwanese company has already confirmed its intent of making more of an impact there rather than working to revive something that’s been dying for a while now. To sum up, HTC is probably going to keep its smartphone division focused on Asia and give international customers what they want: immersion.