I want to tell you something about my experiences, because about 10 years ago I bought a HTC Canary smartphone. Nobody, and I mean nobody, knew who HTC was. Walk down a street in 2003. Ask someone back then who HTC was, they’d just look at you blankly. HTC didn’t have a real presence and relied on networks like Orange, Vodafone or T-Mobile marking HTC phones as their own (the HTC Canary was called the Orange SPV). Then, slowly, things started to change. HTC proudly started adding their own logo and they built something that is so hard to achieve – a brand.
Wind the clock back a year or two and ask anyone about HTC – they’d all be aware of the company and most would have a HTC in their pocket, or they’d know someone who did.
Back then HTC handsets were being released regularly and there were so many shapes and sizes. HTC were effectively carpet-bombing the market, but the support and upgrade requirements were becoming a headache. In 2012 they took the big decision to slim down – releasing the HTC One range of handsets at Mobile World Congress. Three new phones. Done.
But HTC have suffered. For some reason the advert (remember than sky diver taking photos?) didn’t seem to capture the imagination. For some reason, even though the handsets were great, the HTC share price started to dip. This is a company I’ve written about for 10 years. This is a company that got me started in all this, they are the whole reason that this site started up.
So, I wanted to show you the share price over the decade or so that we’ve been here. Look at 2005, 2006, when things really started to lift off. In 2010 and the early part of 2011 everything went super-crazy. Then, half-way through 2011, things nose-dived. I’m not going to go into exact numbers here, but up is good, down is bad.
Sure, the competition is tough (I’ve got this far without mentioning Samsung or Apple once), but I can only hope that HTC have something up their sleeve this year.
I love HTC. It’s a great company, with a great community connection and they really do listen. That’s why it’s painful to hear them announcing a disappointing financial outlook for the first quarter. This is worse than analysts had forecast.
Now I know, you’ll hear me waffle on about “brand”. To me it’s extremely important. The Nokia brand lost a lot of shine and they’re battling hard to re-capture those customers and that mind-share. HTC are in danger of hitting the same position. It seems that, just moments ago, HTC was the darling of the Android fan-boys. Now, although they’re still holding a good position, the sledge-hammer that is Samsung have smashed their way into the Android fan-base.
Now HTC are to change focus and start selling cheaper phones into China. They’re not the only company to do this either, with Apple choosing to push into the market too. HTC say that their first-quarter revenue will be between T$50 billion to T$60 billion ($1.69-2.03 billion). In Q4 their revenue was T$60 billion and analysts had hoped for T$62.77 billion. Those same analysts are doubting that 2013 will see the HTC fortunes change.
However, I really hope that HTC sees a resurgence in 2013. We’ll be covering their big event on February 19th and we’ll be running around Mobile World Congress to bring you all the action.