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HTC One’s launch under the microscope: revenues up but could have been better

It was a rocky launch for the HTC One, but the handset's quality seems to have shone through. Has HTC done enough to turn the company around?
May 8, 2013

Many have been watching the launch of the HTC One with particularly keen interest, not simply because it’s a nice piece of hardware, but because it has the potential to make or break its manufacturer. Many have been forecasting doom and gloom on the horizon for the veteran Android smartphone developer, and the unsteady launch of the HTC One didn’t help to assuage these concerns.

However, HTC has posted figures for its first full month’s revenue since the launch of the HTC One, which, fortunately for HTC, show that things are starting to look a little better.

HTC’s Figures

Since the initial launch of the HTC One back in March, HTC has witnessed a month to month growth in its revenues, finally pulling the company out of a decline lasting almost a year.

HTC Monthly Revenue April 2013

The most recent monthly statement puts HTC’s revenue at just over $NT19 billion ($642 million), up from March’s $NT16 billion. Between February and March HTC witnessed a very healthy 40% increase in revenues, avoiding another record low for the company. Similarly, April also saw an additional 23% jump in total revenue, resulting in a 72% total boost since February.

One can’t help but wonder however, just how much HTC’s bottom line would have benefited from a smoother launch. There’s little doubt that the component shortages and resulting staggered release dates put a dent in the company’s income, after all the handset has been out less than a month in the U.S., one of the world’s leading markets for high end smartphones.

Next month’s figures will provide an ever clearer picture as to how the One is being received on a world wide scale.

Consumer reception

According to research conducted by, whereby they conducted a survey of 20 AT&T and Sprint stores in the Los Angeles area, sales for the HTC One are good, but not excellent. Unsurprisingly, the results suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S4 sold more units in a shorter space of time, but that’s not to say that the One is selling poorly.

Slightly more worryingly though, the survey also found that consumers are returning their HTC One’s for issues ranging from dead pixels to blown speakers. This isn’t a common complaint that I’ve heard about, but hardware faults could seriously dent the One’s reputation, which in turn will hurt HTC’s fragile bottom line.

On the whole though, the HTC One has been very well received. It’s had stellar reviews across the board and consumers seem very pleased, which is clearly translating into sales.

Vs Samsung’s Galaxy S4

Regardless of individual preferences, the Galaxy S4 is going to be the benchmark against which other high-end smartphones will be measured this year. Perhaps this is rather unfair, as Samsung has spent a lot more money on marketing and seems to have a much larger brand presence than HTC does, at least here in the UK.

samsung galaxy s4 vs htc one standings aa

Even so, you couldn’t have imagined a more different launch for two premium handsets. While HTC was struggling to even roll devices off the manufacturing belt, Samsung had to delay shipments and limit stock due to an unprecedented level of pre-orders.

Availability of the One was, and is some cases still is, heavily dependent on where you live. North America and most of the Asia-Pacific regions had to wait weeks before stock arrived, which slowed HTC’s momentum down considerably. In fact, the One is still suffering delays in places like India.

But it’s not been a terrible launch for HTC; the SIM-unlocked models, developer editions, and T-Mobile pre-orders sold out in an incredibly short space of time. In fact, both handsets managed to sell out their pre-orders, which is certainly impressive.

No-one can deny that HTC could have done a lot better launching such an important product, but fortunately the handset’s quality appears to be speaking for itself.

Looking to the second half of the year

The past couple of months have been good for HTC, and it looks like the company is well on track to reach its second quarter revenue target of $NT 70 billion, which should go some way to convince investors that HTC is finally coming out of its prolonged slump.

HTC Quarterly Revenue

But let’s take a reality check. HTC’s immediate financial security seems completely tied in to the HTC One, so the handset will have to have some serious market staying power if HTC expects the revenue to keep rolling in. This is still a pretty precarious situation to be in.

Overall, this is certainly a promising start for HTC’s flagship smartphone. HTC needed to create a great device that would be appreciated by a consumer base which was feeling a little disillusioned with the company, and it’s managed to produce quality when it counted most. However HTC isn’t in the clear yet, there are still three more quarters left in the year. The HTC One is going to need some serious market presence if it’s going to single handily hold the company up for the whole year.