HTC makes great smartphones. From their days producing devices for others till the present when it is churning out Desires and Ones under its own

The injustice of HTC’s dilemma

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HTC makes great smartphones. From their days producing devices for others till the present when it is churning out Desires and Ones under its own brand name, HTC devices are some of the finest on the planet. Yet, the small company keeps struggling to stay afloat. In just world, HTC would be smiling to the bank every year. But only in a just world. The world we live in does not necessarily reward the best man or the best products. There are always other factors.

HTC One M8 front top

HTC keeps plodding on and trying to gain traction with its range of smartphones. I have had hands-on time with the HTC One M8, and it is undoubtedly a superb flagship device. I am reviewing a Desire 816, a slightly less powerful version of the M8, and it is impressive on all counts. Everyone who has seen it with me has loved it.

Some will argue that HTC phones are too expensive. If that were the only valid factor, Apple’s iPhones shouldn’t be selling. Some of Nokia’s flagships shouldn’t be selling either. Neither should Samsung’s flagship Galaxies. No; there is clearly enough market for HTC’s premium devices. There is always a market for well crafted, durable, and capable gadgets.

HTC Desire 816 top front

Apple had the Mac ecosystem and fanbase to count on in pushing out the iPhone and a deep chest to fund its hype machine. Samsung has had huge economies of scale from its chain of industries to manufacture components, push costs down and also to fund its huge marketing budget. Motorola had the deep pockets of Google to keep it going while not making any profit. Sony is owned by a corporation with a global footprint. Even Nokia had the help of Microsoft to keep it going through its roughest days.

Without the economies of scale and the benefits that larger corporations enjoy, it is a tough sell for the Taiwanese brand. It is actually a miracle that they have stayed in the game this long.

HTC is already exploring the low-end market and planning for smartphones that cost between The phones would range between $150 (N24,000) and $300 (N48,000), I am not too hopeful that this will have a huge impact. Everywhere you turn, bigger brands are subsidizing their low-end devices to push costs down. How does a company without huge financial resources hope to compete effectively in such a terrain?

HTC’s small pockets keep holding it back. With little or no support like the other brands have, it is an uphill task. One can only wish the company well and hope that the legacy behind the i-Mate Jam, i-Mate Jasjar, HTC One X, HTC One, HTC One M8, and HTC Desire 816 does not eventually die out.


  1. “The phones would range between $150 (N14,000) and $300 (N28,000)”
    Mr Mo, please do you mind telling me where you change your naira to dollars. You seem to be getting it at close to half the normal cost.

  2. Mr. Mo, your parameters for superb or superior smartphones are probably the problem here and that must also be HTC’s problem too. HTC have misplaced priorities and should try finding out what the greater number of users want rather than insisting on what they think superior or superb devices ought to be and failing consistently on their insistence. They should also be careful not to price their devices out of competition, all these count.

    They should always try to marry physical solid feel and esthetic designs with performance and features as well as staying competitive with their pricing since they are using the same operating system with the likes of Samsung and LG.

  3. You said it all @harry producers should research what the consumers want rather than they telling us what we should want. I sold my HTC one m7 now using a galaxy grand not because I hate flagships or beautiful designs but because HTC has made the user experience complex, that it takes a rocket scientist to fiddle with it. HTC is a good brand no doubt but there’s still a missing link on simplicity which is the overall essence of the Android experience. After all Toyota is the biggest and richest car company in the world not because they make the best cars, but emphasis is on simplicity (they are made for all- rich or poor, illiterate or literate). Unlike their European counterparts.

  4. @peterjero I sold my SGS3 because I found it annoying, but picked up the HTC One M7 and could use it without thinking twice about what I was doing. I don’t think it’s about rocket science or fiddling but user experience. I hated TouchWiz and still do (thank God for launchers), but whenever I’ve picked up an HTC I can use it without having to know rocket science. Horses for courses, as the saying goes.

    The good thing is that HTC, like Sony (even with their other multimedia backing) have their fans and niche users. Once upon a time the landscape was covered with Samsung, but nowadays more and more I’m seeing HTCs (but people still love and use their Wildfire, X and Incredible). Add to that HTC might have resellers in some parts of the globe, but no real local base, unlike Nokia, BlackBerry and Samsung in Nigeria.

    Recently I was having a conversation with my IT friend, and we noted that in some parts of the globe, Samsung have made their mark. In one forum I’m in, one guy said that where he lives is “a Samsung country”. In others, the markets emphasize the latest BlackBerry and Samsung barely gets a mention. If they push Android it is Eclair or Froyo, not Gingerbread or anything higher. Even Windows Phone sometimes gets a better rep because of the Nokia connection.

    The world is big enough for HTC to find its niche, and adapt according to market forces.

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