Can HTC Make up Lost Ground?

HTC One M8

Julian Jest, Research Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, on the launch of the new HTC One:

This week, HTC launched the One (M8), the successor to the 2013 One (M7), in a bid to win back lost market share and restore profitability.

Although the One (M7) was showered with awards, the latest of which came at the 2014 Mobile World Congress, HTC was unable to avoid a poor financial performance in 2013. HTC is in danger of history repeating itself in 2014 with the One (M8) and must avoid relying solely on the good looks of the new phone. It is better placed this time around to succeed with its new flagship device, and appears to have addressed the distribution issues that plagued the One (M7), announcing UK availability for the One (M8) from today.

However, the device’s good looks will be crucial in attracting the attention of consumers. While the design of the One (M8) is similar to that of the One (M7), the result, in my opinion, is more aesthetically pleasing. This has primarily been achieved by extending the aluminum back casing to wrap around the sides of the device, which has the added benefit of allowing for the inclusion of a microSD card slot and also making the device comfortable to hold.

Although the One (M8) has a distinctive design, HTC decided to conform with the recent trend set by other smartphone vendors by launching dark grey, gold and silver models, to be marketed as Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold and Glacial Silver, respectively.
The One (M8) represents a continued push by HTC to develop and use more of its own technology, particularly in optics and in audio. It is likely that there will be a lot of interest from consumers over the inclusion of two rear-facing cameras. The additional camera feeds in information regarding the positioning of objects in the frame, particularly those in the background. This will improve the experience, by allowing the user to decide after taking the photo, rather than before, which effects to apply. HTC has also included a 5MP forward-facing camera which will allow for an 80° wide-angle image capture, ideal for video calls and taking the ultimate selfie photo.

HTC ended its partnership with Beats Audio and as a result has had a more direct input in the development of the new device’s audio technology, which it claims will deliver a 25% greater amplification than the speakers of the 2013 model.
While it is undoubtedly important for HTC to pack its devices with innovative features, this won’t be enough. HTC needs to be proactive in engaging with mobile operators and handset retailers to ensure that sales assistants are adequately trained on how to demonstrate the technology.