Unclear Strategy: HTC is fighting for its life with new ONE smartphone

by Bradley Baker
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HTC is fighting for its life with new ONE smartphoneThe Taipei based HTC Corporation is now fighting for life in the smartphone category. It originally started out as a third party smartphone manufacture but began launching phones under it’s own brand in 2006. Initially successful, they lost their way through a series of missteps including launching too many products and confusing consumers. As a result, it never carved out any brand equity with consumers. In fact, I wonder if there’s any significant awareness is of the brand.

In an attempt to revive the company, they launched the HTC One this year. An Android based smartphone boasting impressive specifications, including a 4.7” screen (are you listening Apple?), the phone has received many accolades from the like of Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal digital guru) and the like.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to not find a review of the new Samsung Galaxy 4S where the author refers to the HTC One as a better performing product.

The problem for HTC with this strategy is as follows:

  1. There’s nothing that really ‘breakthrough’ with the product that clearly separates it from Samsung or the other competitors. Yes, it’s great to hold, looks impressive and runs the Android software, but can you simply stand on that in today’s smartphone world? I don’t think so. Case in point: Huawei from China just launched the Ascend P6 in a high profile event in London this past week. It’s one of the thinnest and most advanced smartphones to hit the market. Lesson: anyone can knock off and ‘one up’ technology in this category.
  2. Lack of product integration. What is emerging is the idea of a digital eco system where, if you’re an Apple user, all your devices/software sync up nicely. Samsung is beginning to feature integration with their smartphones, TV's and Google (with the Android software).  HTC doesn’t have this critical mass or leverage
  3. Lack of a clear positioning. Most consumers don’t know what to think of the company and the brand. Samsung established the anti-Apple beachhead with their advertising and it’s working. Apple touts its UI and eco system. HTC needs more than “Everything your phone isn’t” tag.

They clearly need to find a meaningful and relevant point of differentiation.  If they don’t rectify it, they will go by the way of Nokia.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 18:24
Bradley Baker

Bradley Baker

Bradley Baker is a senior level global marketing expert whose specialties include rapid new product development, transition from traditional to digital media, profit optimization and other marketing needs.  Please use the contact information to reach Mr. Baker and inquire about his services.

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