Yes, the folks over at Business Insider went there. Calling HTC "The Biggest Business Disaster of 2012". Now I can't say they are wrong, because well frankly they are right on the money with this. HTC has been trying to come back and be a real contender in the Android market but it hasn't gotten much traction on Samsung recently.
Where did the trouble all start?
It all started in the middle of 2011. When HTC's financial problems started to surface. Their biggest mistake was barely innovating new devices. Basically putting out upgrades with barely any differences, sorta like the One X and One X+. The only real differences in those two devices are the battery size, processor speed, OS was upgraded to Android 4.1 and the storage was upgraded to 64GB from 32GB. Not that much of a difference compared to a phone that came out less than six months earlier.
We've said time and time again throughout the year that HTC needs to reinvent themselves. Which they did that at Mobile World Congress in February. When they announced the HTC One Series. Peter Chou stood up on stage in Barcelona and told us that there would be no more of the hundreds of names for the same phone in different regions and carriers. That it would be the HTC One for everyone! Well that sounded great. Except it only lasted a few months until the HTC EVO 4G LTE was announced for Sprint, then a few months later the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE came out on Verizon. That device was honestly dead on arrival. It was basically the Droid Incredible 2 with LTE and a slightly better display.
HTC really got their foot in the game when they released the original HTC EVO on Sprint back in 2010. That thing was marketed like crazy. You'd see it everywhere on TV ads and website ads as well. Now fast forward two years. HTC barely markets their devices at all. Why? Well probably because they are losing so much money right now. But you've heard of the saying "you gotta spend money to make money" right? HTC needs to hear that phrase.
We all see Samsung commercials everyday. Whether it be on TV, YouTube, or just a banner ad on your favorite website. And that's a key reason as to why Samsung is selling so many phones and tablets now. Imagine if that was HTC devices you saw in those commercials. Would you be more willing to buy them? Of course you would be.
It happens with every manufacturer, and HTC is no different. The carriers think they can bully these manufacturers. And the sad thing is they can. If the carriers don't want to sell their phone, the manufacturer won't make much money at all. In fact they may only sell a handful of devices because they would be sold at full price and not subsidized.
Now in recent months we've seen one manufacturer rise up against these carriers. That is Samsung. They have successfully launched the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 on five of the major US carriers with the same specs, design, and pricing (except for T-Mobile). That's something that hasn't been done before on the Android side of things. Sure Apple does it, but in the beginning they were only available on AT&T and soon branched out to Verizon and Sprint.
So HTC, next time you're pitching a phone to a carrier don't allow them to bully you. The Droid DNA would have been a great device to compete with the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 on all of the US carriers. Especially with the screen size being right in the middle of those two devices. But instead it'll only be competing for Verizon customers.
Honestly, I like Sense. I know many, many others hate it. But when it comes to Sense vs Stock Android, I'll take either one. I used Sense for about a year and a half, and Stock Android (Android 4.x) for a little over a year now, and love them both. But now that Stock Android is much nicer looking, we don't need skins like Sense, and Touchwiz. Back when we had Froyo and Eclair we need skins because Android was just plain ugly. But Android has since grown up, and Matias Duarte has made it beautiful and easy on the eyes.
Sense is also pretty intensive on resources making your battery get used much more than it should in standby. But that was before Sense 4. Now that HTC has changed up Sense so much in Sense 4 and 4+, it doesn't use as much battery. In fact it might even be as efficient as Touchwiz or Stock Android.
Other Minor Things
There are some other small things HTC is doing with their devices lately that is causing their sales figures to drop. One is the non-removable battery. Now I don't mind the non-removable battery, but I don't like having a small battery that can't last the entire day. If you're going to make it non-removable at least make it a larger battery. The 2020mAh battery in the Droid DNA is such a waste. Now I have heard that it does well with that 1080p display and LTE, but it's still pretty small.
Now onto the topic of expandable storage. HTC is following Google and their Nexus line with this. Probably in hopes they can return to the land of Nexus, since they manufactured the Nexus One they have not made another Nexus since. Some dislike the non-expandable storage, but why do you need more than 32GB or 64GB storage on a phone? Now a tablet I can understand. I have the 8GB Nexus 4 and it's more than enough for me. Now I know I'm not the typical user since I have unlimited data and stream a lot. But more than 64GB? What are you keeping on your device?
If you've read my posts before, you know that I love HTC and their products. I've owned three different HTC devices, and all the others have been Nexus devices. So of course I'll always try to defend HTC, but in this case they need to step up and make some changes. I've said this plenty of times before, but I'd hate to lose an Android manufacturer. That makes it worse for consumers as Samsung will have even less competition and not feel a need to innovate. I do think they've had a bad year, but I don't think they had the worst year. What about HP?
So with that being said, I can't wait to see what HTC shows us at CES and Mobile World Congress in the beginning of 2013.