HTC is apparently tired of seeing BlackBerry hog the spotlight reserved for bad news about smartphone manufacturers. Per The Wall Street Journal, HTC on Tuesday projected that it would generate revenue between USD$1.36 billion and USD$1.53 billion in the fourth quarter this year, down from the USD$2.04 billion in revenue it generated in Q4 2012 and from the USD$1.6 billion in revenue it posted last quarter. HTC said that it may still eke out a profit in Q4 by aggressively cutting costs and by realizing gains from selling its stake in Beats Electronics. HTC has also finally decided to give up on its strategy of only releasing high-end phones and will develop a range of low-cost smartphones targeted toward Chinese consumers, the Journal reports.
Sony’s dreadful quarters are becoming something of an earnings season tradition. This autumn was no exception; movie flops, weakening camera sales and the slumping PC market form a gruesome background to this Halloween spectacle. What must be particularly humiliating is the way that Samsung is now absolutely hammering Sony in the TV market. Only a few years ago, Sony was the gold standard for high-end TVs and Samsung just a tacky wannabe. Oddly enough, the one division that is showing a flicker of light is the smartphone unit, which delivered torrid 39% sales growth. More →
As HTC’s infernal autumn comes to a close, it appears to be entering an equally dismal winter. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nokia has won yet another patent suit against HTC, this time in the United Kingdom. Included among the smartphones found to violate Nokia’s patents were both the HTC Wildfire and, even more worryingly, the flagship HTC One. As with Nokia’s other wins, the company will seek monetary compensation for the patent infringement as well as the ban of HTC smartphone sales and imports. More →
HTC has enough problems right now and it doesn’t need to deal with paid trolls bashing its products in online reviews as well. The Associated Press, per Bloomberg Businessweek, reports that Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has slapped Samsung with a fine worth about USD $340,000 for paying a pack of trolls to bash HTC products and praise Samsung products in online forums. It’s a little odd that Samsung would bother to organize an anti-HTC troll campaign given that it already dwarfs its Taiwanese rival in marketing spending and that HTC has been suffering from a series of self-inflicted wounds for the past two years. If Samsung is willing to create an online troll ring to take whacks at HTC, it makes you wonder the sort of stealth operations that it has going to bash bigger fish such as Apple.
It’s never a good thing when you have to spend time denying credible reports that you’ve started shuttering some of your production facilities. But that’s just the situation that HTC found itself in on Wednesday when it told Reuters that it’s “not shutting down nor does it have plans to sell any of its factory assets.” HTC issued the statement in response to reports from both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal that claimed the company is considering outsourcing some of its production capabilities. Reuters even went so far as to claim that HTC had already shut down one of its four major production facilities after one of its reporters went there and found it abandoned. HTC said that it had temporarily closed the factory because “like any manufacturer, we do volume planning to optimize our lines, our manufacturing and production facilities.”
Although the Galaxy Gear hasn’t exactly received critical acclaim so far, that isn’t stopping seemingly every major tech company in the world from preparing a smartwatch for release in 2014. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that HTC is the latest device manufacturer planning to enter the smartwatch market with an Android-based device that’s tentatively slated to launch in the second half of 2014. By that time, of course, HTC could be facing a very crowded field since Samsung will likely already have its sequel to the Galaxy Gear on the market and Apple, Google and other companies will probably have smartwatches of their own.
Smartphones haven’t been working out terribly well for HTC lately, so the company is looking elsewhere to help reverse course. The Taiwan-based vendor isn’t going to stop making smartphones anytime soon, of course, but the company posted its first-ever loss last quarter despite having recently launched what is arguably the best Android smartphone on the planet. HTC chairwoman and co-founder Cher Wang and CEO Peter Chou told The Financial Times in a recent interview that while HTC still has plenty up its sleeve where smartphones are concerned, the company will also soon look to new categories for a boost. More →
Pretty much nothing is going well for HTC these days and now the company is starting to lose key executives after they’ve been on the job for less than six months. Bloomberg reports that Lorain Wong, who joined HTC this past June as its head of global PR, has already left the company for “personal reasons.” Wong’s resignation comes just days after HTC chairperson Cher Wang blamed the company’s marketing strategy for a dismal earnings report that saw it lose money for the first time in its history. Of course, HTC has had even bigger troubles with executive departures this year, such as when police arrested former vice president of product design Thomas Chien for allegedly taking payments from a municipal government in China to set up a smartphone company in the region using trade secrets stolen from HTC.
The elusive Amazon smartphone made a rare appearance in the news on Tuesday when the Financial Times reported that Amazon had partnered with HTC to build the “Kindle Phone.” Bloomberg continued to piece the puzzle together on Wednesday with a report that cited unnamed sources and claimed that Amazon has “been in talks since at least June to develop handsets for sale to users of the Amazon Prime service.” These sources backed up Tuesday’s report that stated Amazon has not yet decided when or if it will release the handsets, although it’s becoming more and more clear that both companies have invested a good deal of time developing these phones.
To say that things have gone poorly for HTC in 2013 so far would be an understatement: The company released one of the year’s best smartphones but has nonetheless gotten clobbered by Apple and Samsung, which both continued to dominate the high-end smartphone market. Meanwhile, low-cost Chinese Android vendors kept pumping out devices that had respectable specifications at rock-bottom prices. Since HTC lacks the advertising clout of Apple and Samsung, many observers assumed that it would make a strategic shift to release more low-cost devices that would appeal to consumers in emerging markets. More →
Samsung and Apple have remained perched atop the smartphone sales charts for quite some time. Other vendors have endlessly vied for third place, and occasionally taking pot shots at their chief competition isn’t unheard of. LG is the latest manufacturer to take aim with a series of targeted advertisements which have begun appearing on Apple, Samsung and HTC phones. Business Insider has collected a sampling of these ads, which include quips such as “Waiting for your Galaxy to catch up?” or “Hard to read this on your iPhone?” One ad seems to be even more explicit, stating the LG G2 has a 20% faster processor than Samsung’s Galaxy S4. AT&T received some flak after making similar claims in relation to its service versus those offered by other carriers, so let’s see how LG fares. A couple of the ads can be seen below. More →
Amazon has been exceedingly tight-lipped about its upcoming entry into the smartphone market. Rumors surrounding the “Kindle Phone” have been circulating for years, but a Financial Times report might be the most reliable claim yet that an Amazon smartphone is on the way. According to the report, “Amazon is working with HTC to develop a range of smartphones as the e-commerce company steps up efforts to compete with Apple and Google.” One of the sources FT was in touch with claims that the Amazon and HTC are developing three devices, and at least one is “at an advanced stage of development.” Another source says the release timetable is constantly evolving. Amazon has remained adamant on its stance that it will not enter the smartphone fray this year. HTC also declined to comment on the FT report, but HTC CMO Ben Ho said that his company is “always exploring new opportunities.”
HTC on Monday finally took the wraps off of its HTC One Max, the humongous phablet we have seen leak extensively over the past few months. Just as earlier reports suggested, the handset is a bigger version of the flagship HTC One smartphone, which BGR recently called the best Android smartphone in the world. One Max highlights include a 5.9-inch full HD display, a somewhat stale 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, an UltraPixel rear camera, a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, microXDHC card support for an additional 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a 3,300 mAh battery and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean running under HTC’s new Sense 5.5 software. It also includes an integrated fingerprint scanner for added security, though unlike Apple’s fairly elegant solution on the iPhone 5s that keeps the scanner inconspicuous by embedding it in the home button, the One Max’s scanner is a dedicated panel positioned next to the camera lens on the back of the phone. HTC says the One Max will begin rolling out later this month, though no specific launch date or pricing for the U.S. market have been announced. The company’s full press release follows below along with a video showcasing the new phone. More →