htc_one_series

Featured Editorial: What’s with HTC and their ‘Carrier Exclusive’ Devices?

October 22, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

We all know HTC makes some great phones right? Look at the HTC One X/X+ and even the HTC J Butterfly in Japan, those are some nice looking phones. So why is HTC doing so bad financially? There are a few reasons. Probably the two smaller reasons are the lack of a micro SD card slot, and a removable battery. Features that the normal Android enthusiast would want to come standard on any device. But the bigger reason is that they only put their flagship device on one carrier. The HTC One X is only available on AT&T here in the US, and yes it is the number two wireless carrier behind Verizon with just over 100 million subscribers. But why settle for just one fourth of the US carriers (or one fifth if you count US Cellular) when you can put that device on all carriers.

Put the HTC One X+ and future high-end devices on all carriers

We’ve talked this to death on the podcast for what seems like forever now. But what is the number one reason that Samsung is doing so well, and running away with the market share inside the Android ecosystem? Because they launched the Galaxy S3 on Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular all in the span of about 4-6 weeks. And they are about to repeat that with the Galaxy Note 2 in a few weeks. So why can’t HTC do this? Good question. My thoughts are that they are afraid to stand up to the carriers. HTC should hold a meeting with the exec’s at each carrier and tell them:

“Look, we are launching the HTC One X+ (or whatever the next device will be) and we want it on every carrier under the same name. No HTC EVO, no HTC Droid Incredible crap either.”

Why can’t we have an HTC EVO One, and HTC Droid Incredible One to go with the One Family?

 

Honestly, it would be confusing. As both of these lines have had an original version, and are sometimes referred to as the EVO one, although usually it’s the OG EVO. It would also deviate from the One Lineup. At Mobile World Congress this past February, HTC told the world they wanted the One line to be universal across the world. And that we wouldn’t see any more of the same device with 10 different names depending on locale.

That didn’t last long.

It appears in the US, the One line was only for T-Mobile and AT&T, the GSM carriers. The only phone HTC put on Sprint was the HTC EVO 4G LTE, and for Verizon was the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. Now the new Droid Incredible was basically the Droid Incredible 2 but with 4G LTE connectivity. Big upgrade there, right? But the new EVO device which hit Sprint back in May, was a bit more of an Upgrade. It brought the kickstand back from the original EVO, had a larger screen, a non-removable battery, and of course 4G LTE connectivity, although most people still can’t connect to Sprint’s LTE network.

How can HTC turn themselves around?

So far they aren’t in as deep a hole as Motorola is right now. They are still producing quality devices and updating the ones they have out there. But what they need to do is copy Samsung in how they market their flagship devices and what carriers they put them on. I’d love to see the One X+ on every other commercial on TV like the Galaxy S3 is, and see the One X+ on every major carrier in the US. That way when you decide you want the One X+, you can pick your favorite carrier. And you won’t have to worry about the minor differences between the different variants.

Another good thing is that HTC is cooperating with Developers and those of us who are crack flashers. They are allowing us to unlock the bootloader on most devices, there are still a few that can’t be unlocked, generally due to the carrier it’s on. Like AT&T’s HTC One X(L).

Now of course I’d love HTC to return to the days of the Nexus One. That was a great device and helped put HTC on the map, similar to how the original Motorola Droid put Motorola and Android on the map. But I’m not so sure Google will give them a shot at building another Nexus device, but we’ll see.