HTC has publicly denied a new round of rumors suggesting that the company is planning to oust chief executive Peter Chou as it continues to struggle. Chatter that HTC’s CEO might soon be forced out has popped up a few times, but HTC was quick to squash the most recent rumors. Chou “has done a great job” and HTC has no plans to remove him from his current post, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang told Economic Daily News. She continued, noting that HTC has “many innovative products and will continue to work to introduce our excellent products to everyone in the world.” Shares of HTC have fallen more than 45% through the first eight months of the year and the company recently reported unaudited August 2013 revenue that dropped 47% compared to the same month last year.
In early 2011, HTC announced that it had acquired U.K.-based digital content company Saffron Digital for $48.5 million. The buy would bolster its media content portfolio and help the then-successful smartphone maker provide top-notch services alongside its wildly popular smartphones. Fast-forward to Thursday, and HTC has reportedly sold its 100% stake in Saffron for $47 million — $1.5 million less than it paid. Focus Taiwan reports that HTC has agreed to sell Saffron to CDMG Holdings UK Limited, which is owned by leading content delivery company Cinram Group. The firm will pay HTC $7.5 million in cash up front, according to the report, and an additional $39.5 million over the next five years. HTC will also retain permanent royalty-free rights to Saffron’s intellectual property, according to the report. HTC on Wednesday announced that its revenue in the month of august had plummeted 47% on-year to $444 million as the company continued to struggle while competing with larger rivals Samsung and Apple. More →
This week brought two calamitous developments for HTC, the hottest Android phone brand of 2011. The August revenue decline was a stunning -45% year-over-year. The context for this number can be found in the July revenue decline of -37% and the June revenue decline of -26%. The trend line from these summer months reveals that the pricey HTC One flagship model is fading far faster than even the biggest HTC bears had anticipated. More →
There are a lot of words to describe someone who leaves $260,000 in allegedly ill-gotten cash stashed in their car, but “quietly brilliant” aren’t some of them. Engadget points out that several reports in the Chinese media are claiming that investigators found around $262,000 worth of cash in the car of a former HTC executive who was arrested over the weekend for allegedly stealing trade secrets from his former company. More →
HTC makes the best Android smartphone on the planet, but sometimes the best just isn’t enough. The struggling vendor on Wednesday announced that its unaudited consolidated revenue for the month of August totaled NT$13.2 billion, or approximately $444 million in U.S. dollars. That figure is down more than 47% from the NT$25 billion HTC pulled in during the same month last year, which was down 45% from August 2011. In other words, HTC’s troubling downward trend continued last month. The vendor is expected to launch the brand new HTC One Max phablet in the coming months, which is said to feature a massive 6-inch display with full HD 1080p resolution, a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, up to 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and a 3,200 mAh battery. The phone will also reportedly include an embedded fingerprint scanner just like Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5S.
Five departing HTC employees including top members of the company’s design team were arrested this past weekend on accusations that the group stole trade secrets. According to China Times, five people including vice president of product design Thomas Chien, research and development director Wu Chien Hung and senior design team manager Justin Huang were taken into custody and interrogated this past weekend after HTC chairwoman Cher Wang filed a complaint with authorities in Taiwan. The group, which was leaving the company to start its own mobile design firm, is accused of downloading internal files pertaining to unreleased HTC software set to be unveiled on the upcoming HTC One Max and then sharing them with people outside the company. Several of the people in question have also accused been accused of falsifying claims regarding commission fees. HTC’s full statement on the matter follows below.
The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics. Protecting the company’s proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not compromise nor condone any violation at any level of our organization and the company shall act in accordance to the law. As this matter is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities, we therefore refrain from further comments.
In addition, the company has sufficient resources in our design team and this situation will not impact the company’s operations, product portfolio plans and our overall business performance.
Have you ever wished that you didn’t have to use your smartphone to make phone calls? If so then HTC is hoping you’ll throw down $50 for the HTC Mini+, a new accessory that connects with your HTC smartphone via Bluetooth and lets you make calls while you use your smartphone for surfing the web. HTC says that the new smartphone phone also features a “hands-free remote camera control lets you take pictures from your phone at a distance” and that it “even doubles as a TV remote control, and pairs with select HTC devices to operate multimedia streaming through your HTC Media Link HD.” If accessories like this start to catch on, we might see Nokia release a separate camera to go with the Lumia 1020 so you won’t have to waste your device’s 41-megapixel camera taking pictures.
Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5S will reportedly feature an embedded fingerprint scanner that will be one of the phone’s key differentiating features, but it might not be the only top-tier handset on the market with fingerprint scanning technology for very long. A report from last week suggested that the upcoming HTC One Max phablet will include an in-built fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, and new leaked photos seem to confirm the news. The images, published on Wednesday by an ePrice forum member, show not only the cutout on the back of the HTC device for the physical scanner, but also a setting in the phone’s software that includes a fingerprint icon. Other rumored HTC One Max specs include a 5.9-inch full HD display, a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, an UltraPixel camera, a 3,300 mAh battery and Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. The leaked photos follow below. More →
Even though Android is by far the most widely used mobile operating system in China, HTC thinks that it can break through in the Chinese mobile market by ditching Android in favor of its own homemade mobile platform. The Wall Street Journal reports that HTC is working with the Chinese government to create a new mobile platform that’s targeted directly at Chinese consumers and that “involves deep integration with Chinese apps like the Twitter-like microblog Weibo” and that will launch by the end of 2013. More →
It’s hard to believe, we know, but the flagship HTC One smartphone is now fiiiiiinally available for purchase from Verizon Wireless. HTC’s hero phone for 2013 first debuted about four months ago, and we had almost nothing but good things to say about it when we reviewed the AT&T version. In fact, we called it the closest thing to a no-compromise smartphone we had ever seen. Technology progresses at breakneck speeds in the mobile world, but even four months later, we still think the HTC One is the best Android phone on the planet. Beginning August 22nd, the One is available from Verizon in stores and online, and it starts at $199.99 on contract.
An extensive Bloomberg article published on late Wednesday afternoon examined the likelihood of HTC getting bought by ZTE, Huawei or Lenovo. According to recent speculation, Lenovo is now apparently expected to gobble up BlackBerry, Nokia and HTC, though perhaps not in that order. HTC’s market cap has shrunk by 88% from its peak and the company is now valued at less than half of its annual sales, so it definitely is a lot cheaper than it used to be. More →
Earlier this year, many analysts expected HTC CEO Peter Chou to come under pressure to resign if the HTC One didn’t turn around the company’s fortunes. And with HTC still looking like a complete basket case, it seems that some HTC executives are starting to talk candidly about Chou’s failures to the press. Reuters has interviewed “a dozen former and current HTC executives” who say that Chou’s abrasive management style and stubborn refusal to listen to others has led to a dysfunctional and demoralized corporate culture. Most amazingly, some executives say that Chou refused to acknowledge and address problems with the company at senior executive meetings, which has often meant that flaws in the company’s strategy have often snowballed after going unfixed. More →
HTC’s One Max isn’t the only new handset HTC plans to launch this year. According to a leaked image and specs published by @evleaks on Monday night, HTC is planning another new addition to its 2013 lineup. The handset, code-named Zara, will feature a plastic case with a design in line with the One and it will sport HTC’s familiar BoomSound front-facing speakers. Other specs include a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.5-inch qHD display, an 8-megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a 2,200 mAh battery and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean along with HTC’s Sense 5.5 software. The Zara will reportedly debut in the fourth quarter this year, and the leaked image follows below. More →