HTC MOBILE - The Rise and Fall From Biggest Smartphone Maker to Nothing

HTC Phones - From Biggest Smartphone Maker to Nothing!

htc phones

HTC holds a very special place in the heart during many brief techy persons . HTC understood design and attention to detail they reminded me of the old-school traditional apple methodology but in the android world chances are if you owned one you loved it. HTC were a more influential player in the smartphone market than you might think they made the first ever android phone they also designed google's nexus devices and at one point they were the largest android phone manufacturer and the largest smartphone vendor in the united states. yes even bigger than apple but as of today their last phone was in may of 2018 and they've completely vanished from the public's consciousness.
So how did this happen let's go back to a time before samsung and the plethora of android devices a time when the mobile space was very different.

let's see the rise and fall of HTC   

cher wang

HTC is formed by Cher Wang she was born in 1958 in Taiwan and studied in the United States in 1981 she graduated from the University of California with a bachelor's degree in economics the next year she would join the Taiwanese firm first international computer and here she learned much about business operations many years later in 1997 Cher Wang had the desire to start her own company and out of this high-tech corporation or HTC was born initially HTC was a manufacturer of notebook computers but just a year later the firm would begin designing some of the world's first touch and wireless handheld devices 

Cher Wang in a seminar said "Early in my career showing off pc multiple performance to customers all over europe back then not too many people had a personal computer within a few years most of people has won while i was dragging my 25 kilo computers up and down the train across europe quite exhausted i saw the dream about a small computer that fits into my hand that i could use to call my friends or listen to music as soon as Window c came out i started HTC with my partners to achieve their dream".
 A former work colleague of Wang, Peter Chao took over a ceo in 2004 and from here HTC started making Windows mobile pdas and smartphones 
In the story in 2008 HTC released the world's first device powered by android the HTC dream in the same year they would release the first american 4g smartphone and then they went on to design google's first hardware phone the nexus 1 in 2010 ceo peter chow was known for his quick decision making and also his perfectionist mentality he would take trays of smartphones at his desk and check every detail was the finish on the edges of the phone perfect did the joints of the phone line up with precision other staff would note that this was obsessive attention to detail but on the other hand peter would criticize management decisions and override them with little discussion this would later turn out to be a major problem within the walls of HTC but for now they were flying high. 


In november of 2009 the company released the HTC HD2 it was the world's first Windows mobile device with a capacitive touchscreen before this all Windows phones are a resistive touch making them clunky and hard to use. The HTC HD2 phone had a cult following and some online forums took great interest in the modifications. In 2010 HTC was named one of the most innovative companies in the world they were definitely a worthy rival for apple in the United States and Europe so why were they so successful.


Well the company cared about design both in hardware and software their phones felt premium in your hand they were well proportioned and designed often sculpted from unibody brushed aluminium this was important it was HTC and not Apple they introduced a unibody metal design Apple would later copy HTC remember this was at a time when Android smartphones were still plastic the company was also featuring stereo speakers at a time when sound was an afterthought for many manufacturers HTC was well ahead of their time in this regard the attention to detail by CEO Peter Chow was paying off .

HTC'S successful design philosophy was in software Windows mobile was a big deal in 2009 although the interface was basically an ugly spreadsheet to address this HTC created a software skin that ran on top of Windows mobile called touch flow 3d and it turned the boring spreadsheet look into something engaging and fun as the world moved from Windows mobile to android the touchflow 3d software would turn into HTC sense and it did wonders for android at the time because android was a mess HTC sense cleaned up a lot of the issues and gaps that existed users loved it and the phones gained widespread acclaim at this point around 2010 HTC were on top of the world so how did it go all so wrong.


Samsung was looking at what HTC had accomplished and they decided to make their own themed android home screen calling it touchwiz the Samsung Galaxy S in 2010 marked this change next Samsung began flooding the market with their devices HTC and Samsung both began to release phone after phone in a battle for supremacy but with deeper pockets and better marketing Samsung's advantage quickly began to show.


2010 was a pivotal time for the smartphone industry the general public was beginning to wake up to the fact that smartphones weren't just another pda they were actually changing the world the smartphone boom was just beginning and as a company you had two options hit to ride or be left behind Samsung was still largely unknown at the time but they were coming up fast if HTC weren't careful it wouldn't be apple vs HTC but Samsung versus apple the correct thing for HTC to do would be to double down on mobile poor money into research and development advertising everything and anything to solidify their market position instead they did something bizarre they lost focus and they invested in unrelated markets. 


first the company bought s3 graphics a pc manufacturer the deal failed to create any new hardware for HTC phones for their own company or to license to other smartphone makers HTC then looked to streaming content investing nearly 90 million dollars and two streaming providers on live and saffron neither venture was fruitful in 2011 HTC took a 51 stake in beats electronics for 300 million dollars they sold it for a profit of 56 million dollars two years later just a year later in 2014 apple came along and bought beads for 3 billion i guess HTC were just trying to make bets to diversify but all of these ventures ended up failing. 


While HTC were spinning their wheels throwing money at things that wouldn't help Samsung was using its huge manufacturing arsenal they got to work providing displays and flash memory for both their phones and for other major players such as apple's I Phones and even HTC's phones while Samsung's market share grew its whole honest competitors also became stronger the Korean company chipped away at HTC's dominance bit by bit admittedly these punches would have been difficult for HTC to handle but it was their next mistake that made things even worse. 


from 2009 to 2013 HTC centered its marketing strategy around two words quietly brilliant the company believed that the quality of their products and the brand would speak for itself i remember using HTC phones back in the day and thinking that that was true people just had to use it and then they would love it their early phones were second to none but the thing was when you asked around no one really knew who they were unfortunately this would prove to be a big problem while HTC was being quietly brilliant Samsung was mocking apple fans in their advertising the campaign was a classic and thrust Samsung into the spotlight it inflamed a war between apple and android users so large that it only started to fade just a few years ago   by 2011 HTC's market share had shrunk in half from 67 to 32 while Samsung's market share grew more than five-fold from four percent to 27 in the next year Samsung was seeing year-over-year growth as high as 300 percent and apple 200 percent meanwhile HTC was practically standing still they just had a mere 17 percent of year-over-year growth the naming schemes of HTC phones made things even worse they had wacky names like cha-cha salsa vivid velocity and maze they even repeated names like the HTC One confusing buyers is this the new HTC one or the old one for Samsung at the time the naming scheme was simple their premium phones were just the Galaxy S brand followed by a number. 


Despite winning design awards in 2013 the damage had been done for HTC within the company Peter Chow's criticism of managers along with the hiring of foreign executives led to morale problems and confusion over responsibility in 2013 HTC lost their vice president of global communications retail marketing manager director of digital marketing and product strategy manager their marketing department was in shambles there was great upheaval and disarray within the company Microsoft began to sniff at the crumbling company they were in negotiations to purchase HTC but Microsoft would go for Nokia instead by 2015 Peter had resigned and Cher Wang returned as CEO. Things gradually got worse for the company and in 2015 their share price fell over 60% in that year and 90% since 2011. it was so low that it fell off the main exchange in taiwan's stock index HTC had to cut over 15 percent of its global workforce as a result. It was during this time that Cher Wang knew that the company needed a new direction so what was she going to do smartphones were a thing of the past for them they needed to think of something new the answer would be Virtual Reality headsets in collaboration with valve they would begin manufacturing VR headsets in 2016 and as of today the headset seemed to be relatively successful in their own right HTC owned about 13% of the VR market however in 2017 google would step in and acquire half of their research and design team for 1.1 billion dollars in 2018 HTC would lay off a further 22% of their global workforce. 


htc vr

Currently HTC has completely taken their focus away from phones and has shifted to emerging technology, virtual reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning to name a few it sounds like it's going to be a tough road ahead but if they can get a strong foothold in the VR space or any one of these spaces we could see a rise in HTC again in late 2019 Eve Maita took over a CEO he remains optimistic about the future of the company. 

HTC were once the largest smartphone vendor in the United States and the largest android maker globally their fall is almost as impressive as their rise from weak marketing to poor business moves to unclear management and confusing naming the story of HTC can tell us something in the modern world which is so noisy and loud a quiet brand that makes great products isn't enough anymore if you stand still and think that the quality will speak for itself the competition will surpass you before you know what's happened so that's the end of HTC phones or is it last year the company stated that they were going to be making a 5G Phone.

Credit: ColdFusion
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