We’ve seen a range of companies announce plans to offer 5G in 2020, and HTC has joined the party in announcing its plans for a 5G phone.
That ship sailed a long time ago
HTC’s phones have seen abysmal sales in the last few years and it recorded its sixth straight quarterly loss in Q3 2019. In other words, people simply aren’t buying HTC’s phones and haven’t been doing so for a couple of years.
The firm’s current situation is in large part due to several duds, dating back to the underwhelming HTC One M9, which yielded awful financial results. We then saw the great HTC 10 in 2016, but this reportedly fell far short of sales expectations. 2017’s HTC U11 series bucked the trend and apparently outsold the HTC 10 and One M9, but the firm followed up with another critical and commercial flop in the HTC U12 Plus.
The company didn’t even release a proper flagship phone in 2019, opting to focus on the Wildfire budget phones and its blockchain-focused Exodus phone. Oddly enough, the latter series seems to have met or exceeded HTC’s expectations, perhaps showing that there is a niche aside from flagships (albeit a tiny one).
Maitre previously stated that HTC intends to return to the premium flagship space, acknowledging that the firm didn’t innovate in recent years. This premium flagship will likely be the 5G phone the CEO is talking about, but the days of the HTC One M8 and even the HTC U11 are long behind it. The firm is facing a distinctly different smartphone landscape in 2020.
This is in large part due to the rise of Chinese brands such as Huawei, OnePlus, Realme, Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi. These brands have managed to usurp the former Android heavyweight at a variety of price points. More importantly, they’ve also managed to expand to Europe, the Middle East, other countries in Asia, and even North America in the case of OnePlus. Meanwhile, HTC has retreated from several countries in the last few years.
All these rival companies have released 5G smartphones already and are gearing up for more 5G devices. The likes of Motorola, Asus, LG, and even Sony are also there to pick up the scraps, leaving HTC with virtually nothing ahead of its first 5G phone.
That’s not to say HTC couldn’t surprise us with a great 5G flagship smartphone worth buying, but between consumer apathy, competition, and the loss of numerous employees to Google, the firm has a gargantuan task ahead of it. We hope the company succeeds though. Its flagship phones delivered interesting designs, great camera quality, and some innovative features. Maybe an HTC One M7 5G 2020 Edition (please don’t call it that) would be just the ticket?