Once branded as “quietly brilliant” HTC has scratched and clawed its way from run-of-the-mill smartphone maker to brand champion. While the company’s financial situation is still somewhat on rocky footing, the worst is behind them. The HTC One series has been a hallmark catalyst for the recent turnaround. This year, the One successor (M9), has been met with marginal reviews. While the device nails all the major desirers of smartphone users, criticisms have arose for “playing it safe.” Unfortunately, HTC’s refresh pattern is rather predictable, likely having us wait till next year to see the latest addition to the flagship lineup. But, newly appointed CEO Cher Wang says HTC will produce a plethora of new smartphones by the year’s end.
What can we expect from HTC? Well, little details are known from the recent HTC shareholders meeting where Wang addressed the new series of devices (and declining stock value). The small nugget of information provided was an emphasis on VR (virtual reality) devices as a potential untapped market. This rather vague explanation could potentially bring a whole host of opportunities. For one, we could see HTC bring about an entirely fresh product line. Or, the more likely, a few additional handsets sprinkled into diverse markets by year’s end. Either way, we probably won’t see a direct M9 competitor or replacement this year (the M9+ is your closest option depending on location). Typically, there is a trend for handset makers to attack specific target markets to increase profits. Take Motorola for example, a manufacturer with a few high-end products, but pumps out a lot of its business in the more conservative mid-range arena. Over the past few weeks we have seen a few leaked HTC handsets that focus on non-Western markets and the ability for dual-sim output. Perhaps HTC will focus their strategy beyond the One series?
Love it or hate it, consumers often drive the direction of our newest devices. After the M9’s rather average praise, the Taiwanese producer will need to raise the bar yet again. This, coming at a time when direct competitor, Samsung, has vastly changed its flagship approach (who also was previously criticized for incremental changes), HTC will need something fresh to keep pushing in the right direction.