HTC’s newly unveiled camera-centric devices mark a departure from the company’s usual product cycle. Whether you view them as quirky or innovative, HTC’s co-founder Peter Chou sees product diversification as the key to the company’s survival. Speaking in New York ahead of the launch of the RE camera and Desire Eye smartphone, Peter Chou shared his views on the current smartphone market, HTC’s previous weaknesses, and where the company can go from here.
“This market is very very competitive, that’s true. What we have to do is to make sure we have the best design, the best experience” – HTC’s Peter Chou
HTC has seen its share of the Android and general smartphone markets plummet over the past few years. The company has suffered a two pronged attack from premium manufacturers like Samsung, whilst simultaneously losing ground in the value end of the market to newer manufacturers. Chou puts HTC’s decline down to an overly narrow product focus, and uncompetitive prices.
To combat these issues, HTC is focusing more heavily on its mid-range Desire line-up. The product category where the company is seeing the highest levels of growth. We’ve started to see the odd product first come to the Desire range ahead of the company’s flagship One series, such as 64-bit processors and these high megapixel dual-cameras, suggesting that HTC wants to become a leader in the mid-tier.
“This year we’re actually strengthening our mid-range Desire product line. Our Desire line is doing well in emerging markets. It’s even starting to get very positive momentum in Western Europe, the Middle East and here in the US,”
The other half of HTC’s new campaign is to improve brand penetration and market appeal through new innovative products. The RE Camera is apparently just the first in a new line-up of standalone devices aimed at non-HTC customers.
By opening up its Zoe software, new products, and social media features to a wider range of customers, HTC can access revenue from market segments that it is currently struggling to compete in, whilst hopefully tempting consumers over to its broader product range. It’s a longer term marketing plan, but one which may give HTC an edge over most of its competitors.
“We have to keep working on new value, new innovations. We can’t be just working on one thing forever,”
A smartwatch range would be an obvious next step to bolster HTC’s portfolio, but Chou remained tight-lipped about any future plans. However, announcements will be made “next year”.
Do you think that this change in strategy will work out for HTC? Or is it too late?