Can HTC mount a comeback?
Earlier this week, it was reported that HTC is planning on axing 1,500 of its employees from its division in Taiwan. That's a little over 20 percent of the company's total workforce, so it's certainly not a small number by any means. The smartphone manufacturer is trying to work out a positive quarterly earnings report, because things have been looking dire for HTC for quite some time now.
The company did earn a surge in its bank account not too long ago, courtesy of a major deal worth more than $1 billion with Google, which saw HTC pass some of its design team to the other company's ranks. But that was a short fix, and now HTC has to keep making tweaks to personnel and find a way to get back to positive outlooks.
But is it possible?
It's a question that I've seen bandied about a lot over the last few years. It's a pertinent question, because every time HTC announces a quarterly earnings the results aren't good by any means. And obviously HTC wants to find something that will help right the ship.
The question is how? It's not like HTC hasn't launched some pretty solid smartphones in the past. The U12+ just launched not too long ago, and while there were plenty of complaints I saw about the new buttons on the smartphone, it seems to have had its strengths.
But can it compete with Samsung? Because as far as Android phones go, especially on the high-end market, that's exactly who HTC has to compete with. Samsung snatched the crown from HTC years ago and now reigns over Android as the go-to smartphone option for most customers.
Maybe HTC needs to focus on the mid-range. Or, perhaps the company should take a route inspired by companies like OnePlus, but with a few important tweaks to the process. Create a flagship smartphone that has a few drawbacks when compared to true high-end smartphones, but price it aggressively. The U12+ right now costs $800 from HTC directly -- I have no idea why you'd fork over that money when you can get a Galaxy S9 for almost $100 less.
Unless you're a fan of HTC and not Samsung. Then it's probably an easy decision.
If you travel over to Verizon's, AT&T's, T-Mobile's, or Sprint's websites and try to buy an HTC smartphone from them, you'll come up empty-handed -- and that has to be a huge knock against the company. Not being able to walk into a carrier retail store and see an HTC flagship on the shelf, where people can actually see the phone, use it, and maybe get won over by it already puts it at a major disadvantage when compared to the competition.
I imagine that HTC has at least tried to work out carrier deals. Or maybe they haven't. I can't help but think that being on at least one of the major wireless networks --maybe not an exclusive with Sprint?-- would be a step in the right direction.
But it probably wouldn't be enough to turn things around. Can HTC even make a comeback with a ridiculously powerful, well-regarded smartphone? Would that praised device even matter if customers couldn't pick it up from their wireless carrier of choice?
Let me know what you think HTC can do/should do to try and mount a comeback in the wireless market. Or if you even think it's possible at this point.