Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC is and has been the only real competitor to Apple and Samsung for the past few years, both when it comes to financial numbers and in terms of overall product quality.
Although HTC’s previous financial year was kind of sluggish in the US –a market that is expected to account for as much as 20 percent of HTC’s income for the current year — the Taiwanese manufacturer has high hopes for 2012, a lot of them having to do with the commercial success expected from the HTC One X on AT&T and the HTC EVO 4G LTE on Sprint.
Unfortunately for both HTC and their fans in the US, the Taiwanese announced that the availability of the two flagship smartphones was delayed due to a prolonged US Customs review of shipments.
The review is required “thanks” to Apple’s court victory over HTC last December, that banned HTC smartphones using a technology (a trivial popup) from entering the US markets starting April 19. Although HTC claims that the HTC One X and the HTC EVO 4G LTE do not infringe the disputed patent, the US Customs review has already taken a whole month and no decision was reached.
While it is highly unlikely for the two smartphones to be banned from the US market, this delay might translate into availability issues for the two hottest smartphones currently available in the United States. AT&T has released the One X on May 6, but now the official website says they are out of stock. According to Reuters, Sprint’s release of the HTC EVO 4G LTE, initially planned to take place Friday, May 18 will be delayed until further notice.
At this point, it should be mentioned that the One X units that were sold up until now have reached US shores before the ban was effective, thus enabling its release. It’s too early to define the impact this delay will have on the overall sales of the two devices from Sprint and AT&T (and directly on HTC’s revenue). But it’s safe to assume that, if the smartphones are delayed by another month, nothing good will come out of it for HTC.
The Taiwanese manufacturer had definitely hoped to sell as many smartphones as possible before the Samsung Galaxy S3 reaches US shores. It’s not that the S3 is a lot better than the One X, but it will certainly sell more thanks to all the hype that surrounds the new member of the Samsung Galaxy S series.
It looks like a low blow for HTC, given that they’ve really struggled to come out with the next generation of Android smartphones months before their main competitors. I’m sure there are a few conspiracy theorists out there who will claim that the US customs took its sweet time in order to protect Apple iPhone 4S sales, but that’s a little over-fetched for my liking.
What are your takes on this? Any Sprint users that have pre-ordered the HTC EVO 4G amongst the readers of this post? Drop us a line below and tell us how you feel about this delay (note: feel free to blame Apple for this situation as well)!