Android Headliner: RIP HTC, Thanks Samsung

HTC One M9 Samsung Galaxy S6 AH 1

It’s no secret that HTC has been struggling for a few years. They’ve struggled to make a profit, pretty much since 2011. Even before that. HTC used to be one of the biggest phone manufacturers out there, in fact they made the very first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream if you are in the US you probably know it as the T-Mobile G1. During the early stages of Android, HTC did quite well. With the HTC Hero, HTC EVO, and even the few DROID devices that Verizon had HTC make for them. Including the DROID Incredible. But somewhere they lost their way, and now in 2015, they still haven’t found it.

I’m a fan of the HTC One M9. Not big enough to swap out my Xperia Z3 for an HTC One M9 every day, but I do really like the device. I think HTC did a great job with it this year, but it largely still looks like the One M8 and even the One M7. And that’s something Samsung had done for a while. Go look at the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. They largely look the same. With the only real difference being the faux leather back on the Galaxy Note 3. While Samsung’s devices did look the same, they had something that HTC still doesn’t. And that’s their marketing department. We’ve said it so many times. Samsung knows marketing, and it’s probably the biggest part of their success. HTC on the other hand, needs some help with their marketing.

Everyone had been asking for a new design from Samsung. More premium materials. And they listened, after a couple of years. We first saw last year the Galaxy Alpha, which had that metal frame, and boy did it look good, it felt great in the hand as well. Fast forward to March 1st, in Barcelona, Spain where Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Imagine a Samsung device with a glass back, and metal frame – if you hadn’t already seen the Galaxy S6. Samsung made one of the best looking smartphones I think I’ve ever laid eyes on. Not only was the hardware top notch, but so is the software. Samsung really optimized Touchwiz this time around and it’s actually fast. What did HTC give us on March 1st? The HTC One M9, and if you put it next to the One M8, you may  not know which is which, sadly.

So is this another nail in HTC’s coffin? Sadly, I think it is. I like HTC’s hardware, software, and everything. But they just aren’t giving their customers what they want. Sure we finally got a camera with more megapixels, but they opted for a Toshiba sensor instead of the Sony sensor that every other company is using. Even Apple. They wanted to go 64-bit, so they used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor. Not a good idea. And I don’t think we need to go into detail as to why here. Then there’s the battery life. It’s not amazing, and it’s not disappointing. But it’s definitely not consistent. Which isn’t a good thing either.

Just recently, HTC returned to profit. A small profit, but a profit. And I have a feeling that when we see Q2 numbers in July, that HTC won’t be seeing a profit. I hope I’m wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them with another loss this time around. Unless somehow their Desire line can keep them afloat.