For 2014, HTC is betting on more devices and a renewed focus on marketing. After “years of development,” the company will launch its first wearable device by the end of the year.
Company executives talked to Bloomberg about the challenges and opportunities awaiting HTC, after a year of falling sales and financial losses. To fix the problems that beset it in 2013, HTC promised to diversify its product range and focus more on marketing. CFO and head of global sales Chang Chialin declared himself “positive and optimistic”, while Chairwoman Wang said the company would finally release a wearable by Christmas.
After “years of development and technical challenges” HTC is positive it solved some of the core problems that affect the wearable user experience, including battery life:
Many years ago, we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems. These are customer-centric problems.
This isn’t the first time HTC talks about wearables. Back in October 2013, the company said it would release an Android-powered smartwatch with a built-in camera by the second half of 2014. At the time, CEO Peter Chou called existing smartwatches “gimmicks”, openly alluding to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.
Wang admitted that, despite bold statements from last year, marketing is still not a major preoccupation for HTC: “To tell the truth, we never think marketing is that important — this is really not very good.” The company plans to use its marketing budget smarter, though it won’t necessarily increase spending. Last year, HTC contracted Robert Downey Jr for a $1 billion marketing campaign, with great fanfare and little palpable results.
Finally, CFO Chialin stated HTC is currently fixing its portfolio in the mid- and low-end, segments he says HTC neglected in the past.
If you’ve been following HTC throughout 2013, these statements might sound very familiar – the company was vocal about doubling down on marketing and strengthening its mid-range portfolio. Will 2014 be any different? We hope so, but HTC has its work cut out, with fierce competition from every side.