Last week during CES 2016, virtual reality and wearables were a common theme running throughout the whole show, with the former making more than a few headlines. The Oculus Rift might have made headlines for finally being able to pre-order, but HTC was betting big on both trends. Their partnership with Under Armour finally bore fruit with the launch of the UA Health Box and their ongoing work with Valve is progressing nicely with the Vive Pre that we got to spend some time with. Speaking with the Telegraph, Cher Wang, HTC's CEO and Co-Founder seems to think that both wearables and virtual reality are the future for HTC, with the latter being "more important" than smartphones.
After yet more rough sailing for the company's accountants in their December 2015 figures, it's clearer than ever that HTC just cannot win at the smartphone game. So, what does a company that's been producing them since the early 2000's do to turn their poor fortunes around? According to Wang, virtual reality is where the future of technology is headed, going so far as to say that "smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important." Obviously, virtual reality seems to be a hot ticket for everyone right now, but Wang has no qualms coming clean about their failures in the smartphone market. She admits that "Apple, Xiaomi, these companies spend tons of money on communications and marketing, they pump a huge amount of investment into the market." Wang, somewhat refreshingly, goes on to admit something that many big-name mobile manufacturers refuse to and simply says that "there are a lot of Chinese competitors."
Wang co-founded HTC way back in 1997, but it was only recently that she became CEO of the company, after Peter Chou stepped aside. Whether or not Wang is the right person to turn things around for HTC is unclear, but if we look at their sales figures from smartphones alone, it appears that competition is just too fierce for the HTC One to break through. As Wang admits "we have had some problems with it for two years" the HTC One is not the second-coming HTC hoped it would be. While virtual reality is set to be a big consumer product over the next five years, Wang says that they won't give up on smartphones any time soon, but that they need to be "more realistic" and that the company has "a vision of smartphones with different types of form factors, it won't always look like this".
Confident that HTC does have a future beyond just the normal smartphones churned out all the time Wang is looking ahead to less traditional sources of revenue. Their partnership with Valve has yet to bare a final product, but it's shaping up nicely and judging by the buzz surrounding other products from Oculus as well as Sony, it could be a big market for HTC to get started in.