It is no secret that HTC is in trouble when it comes to selling their mobile devices, but nowhere is it more evident than in Canada. There, you may still find an HTC One M8 at Koodo and an HTC Desire 626 at Virgin Mobile, but these devices are simply running their course. Just last week HTC announced the One A9 would be available in two new colors – Topaz Gold and Deep Garnet – to the Canadians, as if that was going to change the fate of HTC in Canada. The One A9 is sold as an unlocked device and available directly from HTC, but they were hoping that one of the carriers in Canada would offer it in their stores. HTC specifically announced it “supported carriers: Bell, Rogers, Telus, Videotron and Wind Mobile.”
A few days later we heard that the HTC One M8 and One M9 on Telus and Koodos were getting their Android 6.0 Marshmallow upgrade – the HTC One M9 on Bell had already received their upgrade. With all of this recent love from HTC to Canada, you would think that they may be expanding their presence, but unfortunately, for HTC, this is not the case. The HTC One M7 was their first stellar hit – the all-metal design and those BoomSound speakers were the darlings of smartphones. Customers and critics still liked the HTC One M8, but the 4MP Ultrapixel and duo-camera had camera lovers scratching their heads. The outside body was essentially unchanged, but hey, why would HTC mess with a good thing. The real killer was the HTC One M9 – while HTC tweaked the body design ever so slightly, it was the same for the third consecutive year. They moved back to a more traditional camera setup, but it still took mediocre pictures and it still used a FHD display while the competition moved on to QHD.
Even in October, the new HTC One A9 could not muster up much excitement from the Canadian carriers. It was an iPhone clone to be sure, but everybody likes the iPhone design. It was a decent product that was slightly over-priced, but it hit at a time when the Canadian dollar was in a weakened state, driving the price even higher. The winter sales holidays came and went and everybody, including the Canadian carriers barely gave it a passing glance. Efforts from our source to talk with HTC or the major carriers fell on deaf ears. A US smartphone analyst Jan Dawson believed the time would come when carriers soured on HTC and said, “Given how few phones HTC is selling, it would make sense if at least some carriers were backing away from [them]. There’s only so much shelf space in stores, and if you’re a carrier you want to stock the phones that people actually want to buy.”
HTC seems to be turning its future towards smart wearables by collaborating with Under Armour and Valve with its Vive VR headset. While Virtual Reality will be the future, that future may not come fast enough to keep HTC a float. With Canadian carriers looking to slim down their lines of smartphones to sure winners like Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola and even ZTE and Huawei – just where does that leave HTC…pushed off the shelf.