HTC, a Taiwan-based company that has been a pioneer in the smartphone industry for over two decades, began its journey as an original design manufacturer and original equipment manufacturer, designing and manufacturing laptops and some of the world’s first touch and wireless handheld devices.
In 2008, HTC made a groundbreaking move by launching the first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream. This critical and commercial success helped establish Android as the world’s leading mobile operating system, and HTC cemented its position as one of the leading Android manufacturers. The company’s HTC Sense user interface, which was layered on top of Android, offered a more customized and personal experience.
In the following years, HTC released a string of successful smartphones, including the HTC One M7, the HTC One M8 and the HTC One M9. The HTC One series introduced many innovative designs and features, such as a metal unibody body, dual front-facing speakers, and an UltraPixel camera, and helped make HTC one of the most popular smartphone brands in the world.
The company also partnered with Google to produce the first Nexus device, the Nexus One, in 2010, and later the Pixel and Pixel 2 in 2016 and 2017. However, HTC’s fortunes began to turn in 2015 with the release of the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. These devices were more powerful and feature-rich than HTC’s offerings, and they quickly captured the lion’s share of the market. HTC struggled to maintain its market share and profitability, as it faced challenges such as high production costs, low brand recognition, lack of differentiation, and poor marketing strategies. It also failed to keep up with the changing consumer preferences and demands, such as larger screens, longer battery life, and better cameras.
In addition, HTC has also been hurt by the rise of smartphone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo. These Chinese companies offer high-quality smartphones at very competitive prices and have taken a significant share of the global smartphone market.
In 2016, HTC diversified its business beyond smartphones and ventured into virtual reality with the HTC Vive, a VR headset developed in collaboration with Valve. The Vive received positive reviews and became one of the leading VR platforms on the market. However, it also faced competition from other VR devices such as the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR and did not generate enough revenue to offset HTC’s losses in the smartphone segment.
In 2017, HTC sold about half of its design and research talent, as well as non-exclusive intellectual property rights related to smartphones to Google for $1.1 billion. That deal was seen as a way for HTC to focus on its core competencies and streamline its operations. However, it also raised questions about HTC’s future in the smartphone industry and its ability to innovate and compete.
Once a major player in the smartphone market, HTC has fallen on hard times in recent years. Its market share has dwindled to less than 1% globally, and it faces an uncertain future in a highly competitive and saturated market.
HTC still has some loyal fans and customers who appreciate its products and services. The company also has some potential and opportunities to explore new markets and technologies. It still produces new models under its own brand, such as the HTC U series and the HTC Exodus, a blockchain-powered phone, and outsources some production to third-party manufacturers to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Can HTC regain its former glory? Or will it fade away into history? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure: HTC is a company to watch. It has the potential to make a comeback, but it will need to make some significant changes to its strategy and execution.