Smartphone maker HTC posted yet another loss -- its second in the last three quarters. The first quarter loss totaled a whopping $62 million. The company is now hoping its soon-to-be-released HTC One M8 will reverse its fortunes.
The M8 version of HTC’s flagship smartphone is set to invade the market on April 10 with an all-new HTC Sense 6 and a Smart Sensor Hub that promises to anticipate your every need. The Android operating system-powered HTC One M8 has a 5-inch full HD display and a design that tapers to thinner edges with softer curves the company claims offers a more natural grip. The device also boasts removable storage, making room for up to a 128GB micro SD memory card.
In the announcement, HTC CEO Peter Chou was full of hyperbole, noting that in 2013 he introduced “the best smartphone in the world,” but that the company didn’t stop challenging itself and the smartphone status quo. He called the HTC One M8 the “most stunning, intuitive and advanced handset that the industry has seen to date.”
Settling Supply Stalls
We caught up with Avi Greengart, analyst at Current Analysis, to ask him one pointed question: Can the HTC One M8 reverse the company’s loses? He told us he hopes so and offers a few reasons why it may.
“It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous device. It’s very fast,” Greengart said. “HTC has much better distribution this time around than last year.”
Indeed, when the HTC One rolled out last year the handset maker struggled with supply constraints. Greengart pointed out that even after other carriers were stocking the phone, it took Verizon Wireless another four months to get the device on store shelves. He figures HTC would have sold more One devices at launch if there had been an abundant supply. The good news: HTC seems to have corrected its supply issues.
Mending Marketing Missteps
“HTC is also doing a better job this time around with advertising. Last year’s ad campaign with Robert Downey, Jr. was confusing at best. It was nonsensical,” Greengart said. “It never at any point said HTC was a phone manufacturer. So if anything it probably made branding worse. HTC disagrees. They say their brand recognition is higher now than it was before.”
Either way, this time out HTC hired Gary Oldman to be the face of its commercials. Greengart called the marketing “quietly confident.” The commercials do not explain every feature on the device but suggests users read online reviews of the HTC One M8. From Greengart’s perspective, he’d still like the company to talk more about the device and the firm's status as one of the first-ever smartphone makers but he called it a big improvement from years past.
“At this point, consumers really do walk into the stores asking for either a Samsung Galaxy phone or an iPhone. HTC is challenged to get mainstream consumers to acknowledge that there are alternatives and the One M8 is a very good one,” Greengart said. “HTC wisely understands this and they are focused more on early adopters, at least initially, who do a lot of research. If HTC can get enough of them to buy it and sell the devices at a profit then they should be in better shape to expand to more mainstream consumers.”