HTC have, hopefully, learnt the painful way that going toe to toe against Apple’s premium (consider this to mean “very expensive”) smartphones requires a combination of a great product and a reality-distorting marketing field. HTC have offered great high-end products for the last two years now with their One M7 and One M8 smartphones, but their marketing department is not the same forcefield projecting machine as Apple can muster. As a result, the business has continued to struggle, but we are starting to see a change within HTC. The business is placing more of an emphasis on mid-range and emerging markets, where Apple do not effectively compete. We’ve seen BoomSound-toting, HD (admittedly 720p) screen carrying devices for around half the price of the flagship device. Plus HTC are making more of an effort to keep their mid-range devices up to speed when it comes to the version of Android that they’re running. Some of the changes that we’re seeing with HTC’s mid-range devices is the business catering for the “higher numbers is better” marketing style that has proven effective in the Asian and developing smartphone markets.
HTC have traditionally stuck to the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor line but have recently started introducing alternative versions of their mid-range devices that have used MediaTek processors; the Qualcomm offering has used a quad core arrangement and the MediaTek powered models have used an octa core arrangement. Going forward, we’re expecting HTC to use Qualcomm’s octa core processors, but using the middle and higher specification units, which have two pairs of quad core processor cores arranged in a big.LITTLE fashion. Most of the time big.LITTLE processors behave as either a high-efficiency quad core or a high performance quad-core processor, rather than all eight cores working at once.
This leads me nicely back to the leaked HTC Desire 626, which we covered a couple of weeks ago. This is a mid-range offering from HTC that would come with a choice of either an octa core, 32-bit, 1.7 GHz MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM or the quad core, 64-bit new generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, which featured 1 GB of RAM. And now the Desire 626, sporting the MediaTek processor but 1 GB of RAM, has showed up at the Chinese TENAA (Telecommunication Equipment Certification Centre, their testing and approval centre). The Desire 626 comes with a 5.0-inch, 720p display and appears to be running Android 4.4 KitKat, although it is possible that HTC will release this smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It has a 13MP main rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera and a LTE modem. Cutting through to the chase, this is a solid looking, mid-range device from HTC that appears to cater for both the developed and developing markets in a similar vein to the Desire 820, which also used Qualcomm and MediaTek processors.