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AH Primetime: A Look at HTC Past and Future

December 18, 2013 - Written By Ray Greer

 

HTC has had a rocky year in 2013 to say the least, and we have all been paying attention to the decisions they have made. From the devastating blow of the third quarter, to the praises received regarding the HTC One, HTC sure has an interesting year coming in 2014. Firstly, to get a better idea of the future for HTC we should look at the past, bear with me if you know all of this, if not, then you have a lot to learn.

We all were introduced to HTC in 1997, they focused on design and manufacturing of devices running Windows OS. The people behind what was known as the High Tech Computer Corporation, were Peter Chou and Cher Wang. Together they started the company with another, lesser talked about HTC exec Cho. Cho, is more like a silent investor except for the fact that he is on the board of directors at HTC. Though the more interesting part of the three leaders of HTC, has to do with Cher Wang. Back when the company was just starting, their first project took all the money they had to invest. It was almost the end of HTC altogether, save for Wang, she comes from a very well off family in Taiwan. In fact, her family is one of the richest families in Taiwan, and she tapped into those riches to turn things around. Keep that in mind towards the end, because we are about to go full circle here.

In 2009 the company started developing Android devices, actually, they were the first to release a device sporting Android, and it was known as the HTC Dream. Innovation such as this, comes into play quite often with HTC. They have been the first Android device manufacturers, first 3D camera, though we all know how they went. HTC also brought us the first Nexus device, and that was definitely cause to celebrate. The list goes on for HTC innovations, the problem is that those innovations only carried them so far.

Like I have said before, the world of tech is cut-throat, and once other companies caught up to HTC, their innovations meant little. Though they did help in gaining a fan base in people who bleed green for HTC,  and People who try to help spread the word for HTC, elevating the company if you will. Those fans are a huge help to the company, covering the social networks with the gospel of HTC. Those people have been the driving force behind the Here’s To Change campaign from HTC.

In 2013, the company enlisted the help of their fan base, as well as Robert Downey Jr. for a new ad campaign that was aimed at drawing more attention to the company. Commercials and hashtags have helped, though there has been little done since then, at least in the US. The most common reason behind the fall HTC has been taking has been the advertising.

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The third quarter of 2013, brought on the worst news for HTC. They had a record loss for the company totaling over $101 million. Many hoped that the flagship device of 2013 may turn things around.

The HTC One has seemed to be the rightful device of the year. Earning award after award and getting plenty of rave reviews. Though the device has its flaws, it is still a piece of innovative hardware from HTC, yet again. Unfortunately for HTC, no matter how great the One is, it is not enough to completely save the company from fates similar to Motorola, and Nokia. Which is why the company is making changes.This is where Cher Wang comes back into play.

The biggest move made, was CEO Peter Chou stepping back from his duties and turning his attention to product development. Taking on more responsibility, and essentially taking over as interim CEO was, you guessed it, Cher Wang. Not to mention a new CFO, Chia-Lin Chang, and new HTC USA president, Jason Mackenzie. We have seen little change as of yet to come from all these executive changes, save for one major change in the US.

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HTC USA president Jason Mackenzie has been a more talkative executive from HTC. Taking to twitter to give exact plans for update scheduling. In fact, HTC has made huge changes in how fast they have updated software. When Android 4.4 Kit Kat was released by Google, Mackenzie took to Twitter to say in 90 days, all HTC US devices will have Android 4.4 Kit Kat, and the developer’s edition in 30 days, and the Google Play Edition of the One in 15 days. Sticking to their word, amazingly, HTC gave out 4.4 for the Google Play Edition with-in the time frame and same with the developer’s edition. Making them the fastest to update their devices only second to the Nexus line. Which brings us to the topic at hand, the future of HTC.

As of right now there is little rumored about things to come, all we seem to have is the HTC M8, or HTC One 2 or the HTC 1.2 whatever you want to call it really. The device is rumored to be the flagship device for HTC in 2014, but that may not be where they need to focus. As long as HTC sticks close to the design of the HTC One, with of course internal changes needed to stay up to date with competitors, they will be fine. Their attention is needed in other sectors of the device game.

We have reported that Samsung is possibly focusing on tablets, and we are sure HTC is going to as well. See, what happens to companies that don’t set, or follow trends, is disastrous, take Nokia for example. Though the HTC Flyer wasn’t the best tablet launched, that doesn’t mean HTC should give up on tablets. In fact, if they want to stay floating, they will need to focus more on tablets, and we are sure they have plans for a tablet or two. Along with tablets, HTC needs to make sure they stay with the trends, and 2014 might be the year of the tablet, and more importantly, wearables.

We have yet to see HTC emerge with a wearable device, and that’s not good. The only saving grace is that Apple hasn’t launched their wearable, and we all know what happens when Apple launches a product. It is plastered everywhere. HTC needs to dive into the wearable market, so that they don’t get left behind and just somebody that we used to know. They will remain safe, as long as they use their creativity and show some innovation when they finally do.

I personally, want HTC to succeed, I fear a world where Samsung, and Apple are the most innovative companies. Where we rely on them to provide us with great devices, because let’s be honest, no one has made devices that can compare to the greats of HTC. Hopefully,2014 will be the year of HTC, a green year.

This article of course is purely speculation, an editorial if you will, so speak up, tell us what you think about HTC, love them or hate them? Sammy, or HTC? Where do you feel they need to put more attention to in 2014?