htc one m9 review aa (27 of 34)

HTC hasn’t had it easy for a few years now, though the HTC One (M7) and One M8 have been positive steps in the right direction that have somewhat helped the company make a much-needed turn around. Unfortunately, HTC still has a long ways to go and 2015 hasn’t exactly been a great for the company so far. Whether you are an HTC fan or not, it’s hard to deny that the company is losing ground (and attention) quickly this year. Part of this can be chalked up to a fairly modest upgrade cycle with the One M9, but it likely goes way beyond this.

First, HTC is seeing increasing competition from Samsung, LG, and its other rivals. All of these are companies that are pushing into the premium territory that has been a strong point for HTC since the release of the HTC One (M7). It’s also hard to ignore that HTC has been releasing tons of spin-off devices this year that in many ways look more impressive than their actual flagship: the One M9+, One E9+, and now the One ME. Many of these devices offer special features not found in the One M9, like a fingerprint scanner and QHD display, even if they tend to have less impressive processing packages.

From an arguably unimpressive primary flagship (the M9) to too many flagship variants, HTC seems to be ticking all the wrong boxes.

From an arguably unimpressive primary flagship (the M9) to too many flagship variants, HTC seems to be ticking all the wrong boxes. The slide downward is further evidence by HTC’s stock price, which has recently dropped to NT$98, a 12-year low for the company. The good news is that HTC seems to recognize that they aren’t off to a great start this year and is reportedly committed to turning things around.

During a shareholder’s meeting yesterday, HTC’s chairwoman and CEO Cher Wang apologized to shareholders for the company’s disappointing performance over the last few months. Wang claimed that the performance was due to “poor operational efficiency” and an “overly conservative marketing strategy amid fierce competition”. So what is HTC’s next move forward? For starters, HTC promises to make significant changes to the next flagship One in 2016 and improve its product mix strategy for smartphones. HTC also says that, despite having a lower marketing budget than competitors like Samsung and Apple, they must also find ways to improve their marketing strategy.

Vive, Re, and other non-smartphone products will play an increasing role in HTC's revenues going forward.

Vive, Re, and other non-smartphone products will play an increasing role in HTC’s revenues going forward.

Beyond this, Cher Wang also commented on how the company’s non-smartphone segment will continue to play an increasing role going forward, contributing at least 10 percent of the firm’s revenue in 2016. That includes connected devices, VR, and more. More immediately, HTC plans to launch a new hero product in October. Keep in mind that Wang doesn’t specifically say what this product will be, or if it will even have anything to do with its handset/tablet efforts.

Let’s be honest, Cher Wang’s comments are mostly meant act as PR control and to calm down investors. That said, it is becoming obvious that HTC’s path forward will revolve around thinking further outside the box and relying more on VR and non-smartphone devices. What do you think of HTC’s efforts so far in 2015? And of their plans for 2016? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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