HTC hopes to reverse Q4 sales slump with more competitive smartphones

HTC said it will launch a number of new and competitive smartphone models, including a fresh batch of LTE devices in the United States, to help it end its fourth quarter slump. The company recently revised its outlook for the fourth quarter and said revenue would be flat, a move that came as a surprise to investors used to a company that had previously seen six consecutive months of record revenue leading up to October. HTC was the first company to launch an Android smartphone in the United States, the first to launch a WiMAX smartphone on Sprint and the first to sell a 4G LTE device on Verizon Wireless. “We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive,” HTC’s chief financial officer Winston Yung told Reuters, noting that the situation isn’t that serious. “Other than new LTE phones for the U.S. market, we also have phones for the global market. We will launch some worldwide flagship products. We’re confident in them. We have six quarters of improvement, the most conservative guidance is 45 million units of shipments this year, a lot higher than 25 million last year.”

Citigroup blamed the weak fourth quarter sales on “inferior products” that weren’t able to keep up with Samsung’s Galaxy S II and Apple’s iPhone family. Additionally, investors aren’t so sure that HTC can maintain the innovation that has made its past phones so attractive. “More foreign investors are still selling HTC as the company doesn’t have many bets in hand,” Masterlink Investment Advisory vice president Tom Tang told Reuters. “And unlike last time [the company was in this position], HTC didn’t make a share buyback plan this time.”

HTC’s ongoing lawsuits will not help the situation, either. The company recently said that it will not appeal a 2009 ruling that gave IPCom the winning hand in a patent lawsuit. The decision could result in a German injunction against sales of HTC’s smartphones, which could hurt sales during the holiday season.

BGR recently reported exclusive details surrounding two upcoming HTC smartphones — the HTC Ville and HTC Edge — both of which are expected to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February.

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