HTC

HTC's 'Advantage' is peace of mind for both nerds and normals — but is it enough?

HTC this morning announced its “Advantage” program for American HTC One customers, a series of promises targeting some of the main pain points of Android smartphone ownership. Timely updates for the One, One Mini and One Max — and presumably whatever comes next. A free screen replacement if you smash your display within six months of purchase. And free cloud storage through Google Drive, which it was already offering on some devices. (Previously HTC had teamed up with Dropbox.)

It’s a package of services that sees HTC, amid declining revenues, looking beyond hardware and software to differentiate itself from the competition at large. In particular, it could give the smaller smartphone maker an opportunity to outmaneuver bigger manufacturers, particularly the dominant Samsung.

The main target of HTC Advantage is consumer anxiety.

The main target of HTC Advantage is consumer anxiety. Offering a six-month immunity to smashing your screen (or even scratching it, according to the fine print) gives new HTC One owners short-term peace of mind, and it’ll be a welcome relief to that one person who juggles their shiny new smartphone right out of the box and onto the sidewalk. After your six months is up, some sort of fee will presumably apply — but by then you’ve likely got a better handle on your phone, and are therefore less likely to drop or damage it.

HTC One

In recent months we've covered the issues surrounding Android updates at length, and in 2013 we found that HTC was ahead of the curve in pushing out new versions of the OS. The Developer Edition HTC One, with Sense 5.5, got KitKat within a month of the open-source code drop. U.S. carrier versions followed a couple of months later. Android 4.4.2 updates are imminent.

HTC wants to position update speed and transparency as a key “feature” for its flagship phones.

What HTC’s promising today is timely updates for the entire HTC One line, and again, presumably the same will apply to its upcoming 2014 flagship. In addition, the manufacturer says it’ll support HTC One series phones with updates for two years after release. And crucially, this promise also extends to updates for HTC’s Sense UI, which we’d argue has way more impact on the user experience than the underlying OS version. Talk is cheap, though, and we've seen HTC have to abandon phones before their time before.

It’s no coincidence that this point resonates strongly with vocal Android enthusiasts, and the language of today’s press release show that HTC wants to position update speed and transparency as a key “feature” for its flagship phones among tech-savvy buyers. What’s slightly problematic is the lack of any real timetables, besides “the coming months” for the One Mini and One Max. Admittedly, as we pointed out in our recent updates piece, that’s more information than many rivals are giving. But nevertheless, it’s a vague promise that provides plenty of wiggle room for HTC and not a whole lot of information for the consumer.

Verizon HTC One

The U.S. carrier approval process is surely the main reason for this. As HTC showed in its recent update infographic, carrier-branded versions of phones need to have operator-approved apps and customizations applied to them, before going through testing to make sure they play nicely with the network. That’s a time-consuming process, as the HTC update status page has shown, and an unavoidable chore for new firmware.

Today’s announcement is a clear sign that HTC America sees speedy updates as an exploitable commercial advantage, at least within the U.S. market. But it's still stuck between a rock and a hard place — users clamoring for the latest firmware, and typically slow-moving and cautious mobile operators. HTC will remain at the mercy of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and others in the months ahead — but greater transparency in the update process should mean the company won’t take as much flack when a carrier is the source of a delayed update.

The two-year commitment is also interesting in light of certain HTC phones having recently suffered a premature demise. Most significantly the NVIDIA Tegra 3-powered One X and One X+, and the One S, which in some countries used an older Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 CPU, were put out to pasture. In all three instances the phones fell victim to a lack of chipmaker support, so the fact that HTC is committing ahead of time to two years of support means it must have received (or perhaps negotiated) certain assurances from Qualcomm.

HTC money

Engineers aren’t free, QA testing isn’t free, and replacement displays certainly aren’t free.

All of this costs HTC money at a time when it’s under increasing financial pressure. Engineers aren’t free, QA testing isn’t free, and replacement displays certainly aren’t free. But just like all bundled goodies included with a smartphone, HTC will have run the numbers and weighed the cost against the potential benefits. It’ll know how many people smash their phones in their first six months, and the proportion of users for whom speedy updates is a decider when buying a new device. As such, expect "HTC Advantage" to form part of the company's marketing campaign for its next flagship. This is, after all, about publicity as much as anything.

With HTC Advantage we have a one-two punch of incentives for nerds, in the form of updates, and incentives for normal people through protection from physical damage. It’s also significant that all this is getting announced now, a week ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 event, not a month later at HTC’s new flagship events in London and New York. Clearly HTC wants its promise of replacement screens and fast updates to be in the back of customers' minds as Samsung does its thing in Barcelona.

HTC generatorNo-one's suggesting the “Advantage” program will solve HTC’s problems in a single release cycle. At launch it’s limited to the U.S., for a small portion of HTC’s high-end portfolio at a time when the company is increasingly looking to mid-range handsets and the Chinese market to grow. And news of these offers will be little comfort to HTC customers in other countries, where there’s not such a strong push behind timely updates — and where, yes, people also drop their phones.

Today's announcement a drop in the ocean, but in the short term it's a unique, public commitment to U.S. consumers at a crucial time for HTC. The company is preparing to launch its 2014 flagship, squaring off against a market-leading competitor with vast resources. In early 2013 HTC nailed the product side of the equation with the HTC One. Later in the year it made progress with the timing of software updates, particularly in the U.S. — and HTC Advantage forms part of that. But neither of these has really been the reason for HTC's decline over the past couple of years. Between its hardware, its software and now the unique services offered to American buyers, HTC's products have never been stronger. What's needed now is a kick-ass way to share that message with consumers.

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Reader comments

Can fast updates and free screen replacements boost a slumping HTC?

140 Comments

They have nothing left to compete with compared to others, no customers, no support, no added value to its phones. You cannot sell something you dont have.

What do you mean no support? I don't understand... They're supporting their devices.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly it's good that they doing this now and actually doing timely updates but only when they in trouble. Where was all this when they were doing well? Maybe then they might not be struggling right now.

Posted via Android Central App using galaxy s4

Nobody outside of this techie bubble cares about updates.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

No one out side the techie bubble supposedly cares about:

-Timely updates, which until very recently, HTC sucked on.
-A coherent product line, which until relatively recently was totally lost on HTC
-SD cards, which HTC refuses to offer
-Removable batteries, ditto ^

And yet the general public has been flocking to companies that offer all these things and ditching HTC since they stopped.

I'm not saying everyone absolutely DOES care about these things, but at the same time, it's a bit presumptuous to state with such certainty that they don't, especially in light of the general public's clear abandonment of HTC. They're clearly doing SOMETHING wrong.

People have been flocking to one company (Samsung) which only has as much market share as they do because they are a huge company that makes a bunch of other things and can literally pour BILLIONS (an estimated 4.5 billion in Q4 of 2012 alone) into marketing that drills their brand into people's heads. Oh, and I don't see Apple offering SD card slots OR removable batteries.

Did I ever mention any of those things?

No.

They flock to these brands because everyone uses them and different is bad in this world.

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Posted via my thumbs and Google Keyboard. (Defective) N7 2013

I was an Inc 4G owner before I got fed up and replaced it with a Moto X. As much as I'd love to ride the good news train, promises from HTC mean nothing to me. The Inc 4G was taken out back and shot within months of release. The original Incredible was an amazing phone with real staying power, a vibrant dev community, and great design (especially for the time period), and when it came time to replace it, the Inc 4G seemed like a natural successor. It's a shame that HTC pretty much refused to promote or support the device, and the experience of owning that phone made me very wary of HTC. I never rule a company out--if HTC gets it together, I will gladly buy their products again--but HTC is going to have to do some special convincing.

Yep. Completely agree. HTC has done the "promising" on updating their lineup to the current version of Android. Typically they update the phone once or twice (if lucky) before the phone becomes abandoned. Also, they have to wait 8-12 months before they get any update and they're already behind the curve. Samsung has committed to update 14 devices to KitKat including devices that are at the 2 year mark. Also take note, the Galaxy S2 launched with GingerBread received a Jelly Bean update. Here below is the track record of HTC updates.

Why you don’t buy HTC on Verizon:

HTC Thunderbolt launched with Froyo 3/11
Upgraded to Gingerbread 9/11
ICS released in 10/11
Thunderbolt ICS upgrade 2/13

HTC Droid Incredible 2 launched with Froyo 4/11
Upgraded to Gingerbread 7/11
Did it even get an ICS update yet?

HTC Rhyme launched with Gingerbread 9/11
Did it even get an ICS update yet?

HTC Rezound launched with Gingerbread 11/11
Upgraded to ICS 8/12

Droid Incredible 4G LTE launched with ICS 5/12
Did it even get Jellybean yet?

Droid DNA launched with 4.1 Jellybean 11/12
4.2 Jelly Bean released 11/12
4.3 Jelly Bean released 7/13
Upgraded to 4.2.2 12/13

^^All of these phones were promised updates to current version of android at the time.

Some more abandoned HTC phones

HTC One S (T-Mobile) launched with ICS 3/12
4.1 Jelly Bean released 7/12
4.2 Jelly Bean released 11/12
Upgraded to 4.1.1 4/13

HTC One X (AT&T) launched with ICS 5/12
4.1 Jelly Bean released 7/12
4.2 Jelly Bean released 11/12
Upgraded to 4.1.1 3/13
4.3 Jelly Bean released 7/13
4.4 KitKat released 10/13
Upgraded to 4.2.2 1/14

HTC EVO 4G LTE (Sprint) launched with ICS 6/12
4.1 Jelly Bean released 7/12
4.2 Jelly Bean released 11/12
Upgraded to 4.1.1 12/12

HTC One X+ (AT&T) launched with 4.1 Jelly Bean 11/12
4.2 Jelly Bean released 11/12
4.3 Jelly Bean released 7/13
4.4 KitKat released 10/13
Upgraded to 4.2.2 1/14

All this really tells me is to stay away from Verizon if I want updates on my devices. Any device, not just HTC.

My previous 2 phones where HTC. I've recently jumped to an LG G2 and I will admit HTC offers both pretty solid phones and considerably more polished UI than anything else in the Android eco-system.

The problem with them IMO is that 1) they are trying to differentiate themselves too much with off beat feature like boomsound and this 4 MP UltraPixel camera. They need to be at least offering an 8 MP UltraPixel camera to compete with other manufacturers who are offering 10MP+. 2) Sense is hooked way too much into the Android OS. It is polished, but it does negatively affect the performance of the phone IMO. If they can basically do what Motorola did with the Moto X by separating out a lot of the visual enhancement so they weren't as hooked into Android, bump the specs of their phones and offer timely updates, I think they could easily compete with the other manufactuers.

Some good points made, although I disagree about the speakers. I would love to have big, rich, dual front-facing speakers on every phone ever made from now on.

I'd love to help their bottom line buy getting the HTC One Max

But where is the Google play edition? I guess I'll wait for the One Max 2 & hope it cuts the bezel & has on screen buttons as well

Posted via Android Central App

HTC's distinctive design and build quality along with Blinkfeed is what separates HTC from the clutter in a store's display ensemble. With the addition of screen replacement and update guarantees along with super, super cameras and multimedia experiences, the most important marketing will occur where the decision is made—at the point of sale. Now that's efficiently brilliant!

Where are some real world examples of that one? Considering it was announced yesterday officially, I am guessing you have an advanced copy of that one as well.

No flagship has been released this year, so saying that this year it will be the best is at best speculation, at worst, stupid.

Hey dazed & confused.
Nowhere in my thread did I suggest "this year.'it' will be the best".
Yet, if you insist.

Talking about this year, the bright future

That was you in response to "super cameras"

So yeah, you said this year

I'll just say this, talk is cheap HTC. It's easy to promise me everything under the sun, I just hope they are able to back up their promises.

Apparently, they are not able to do so, they proved it several times in the past already. Words, words, words and honestly, does it even matter? Everyone with just a little piece of brain in the head would never buy their phones anyway even if they, by some miracle, would be able to.

Your comment is so stupid. Just because you don't like HTC doesn't make anyone else brainless just because they do. I hope HTC succeeds. They make one heck of an amazing phone.

Posted via Android Central App

I had all HTC phones since Kaisur, can you tell me what makes their phones so "amazing"? Offering what others already have for several years? Anything they had left went down the sink with EVO and Pyramid. And yes indeed my comment was stupid it wasnt meant to offend anyone.

+1

The only thing they do that is "amazing" is audio. With everything else (well Sense is pretty great) they come up just short. Camera, battery, display...just a bit outside...

The HTC One has a better display than any Galaxy Phone that has been released so far. I agree on the camera and battery life though.

Display?!?!? what are you talking about? They have arguably the best display on any smartphone. Battery life is adequate and the camera is actually pretty decent. Let's be honest, Samsung is winning only because they have the resources to shove their plasticy crap down everyone's throats. Their "see what sticks" mentality works only because they can afford the many failures they endure along the way.

No, Samsung is winning because they make "plasticy crap" that people want and use. The display on the Note is better than the display on the One.

Adequate is unacceptable, and the camera comes in 4th out of 6 for last years "hero" phones. LG, Sony and Samsung are all noticeably better.

You're telling me that a phone that came out almost six months after another phone has a better display? Shocked I tell you. You Samsung fanboys need to work on consistency.

Posted via Android Central App

They have arguably the best display on any smartphone.

That was you and I showed you how wrong you are. The G2 has a better looking display as well.

True on the camera. The Moto X is the only flagship that is worse (I know I have a Moto X).

Samsung is very mindful of the 'plastic' criticism - look at the backs of the Note 3 and Samsung Pro Tablets.

How is the display on the Note 3 better than the display on the HTC One? LCD screens are more accurate with color rendition and perform better outdoors.

Crisper, cleaner, less artifacts.

The "better outdoors" thing is gone as well. No doubt it was there in the s4 and everything previous, but not with the Note.

Wait what? Lower pixel density coupled with the pixel arrangement where only 2 subpixels (instead of 3) are shared, makes it crisper than the SLCD 3 display of the One? How is that even possible? What are these artifacts that thou speakest of?

Posted via Android Central App

@NoNexus

I'm shocked!

/sarcasm

The Note 3s display is obviously going to be better the. The HTC ones display.

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Posted via my thumbs and Google Keyboard. (Defective) N7 2013

Yeppers. I judge a brand based on past performance. I would never personally risk getting burned by HTC if I thought they would renege on their promises yet AGAIN.

Posted via Android Central App

You might as well never buy another phone because none of the oem's are actually keeping there promises with updates.

Posted via Android Central App

Samsung isn't making any promises and LG is not being apologetic in saying sometime sooner or later you will get one. I am not quite sure that Sony knows that Kit Kat was released yet.

The only one failing at their promises is HTC, just because they keep making them.

I have the HTC one and came from note 2, I'm not EVER going back Samsung and will never recommend them. When HTC came out with these fast updates, they grabbed my attention and will keep my attention if they keep the fast updates.

Posted via Android Central App

My gs4 has 4.4.2 on it ( stock).. So it wasn't that much of a time difference between the updates with the one and gs4

Note: I like the HTC one more than the gs4 but my gs4 was free, so it was hard to turn down

Posted via Android Central App

not only that, superior hardware (not build quality) on the S4 makes it hard to resist... (Note: I use a Galaxy S III and Nexus 4)

Posted via a Deknoxed, Rooted, Xposed 4.3 AT&T Galaxy S III.

The S4 does not have wireless charging stock, battery size doesn't matter to me as long as the phones are get comparable usage. The camera on the One was a joke though, they seriously need to step it up.

Posted via Android Central App

You asked a question, I answered. Just because the things I mentioned do not matter to you it doesnt mean that they are not superior

Wireless charging is stock, you just have to buy an accessory. Does the One have wireless charging without a Mod

The screen replacement will go a whole lot farther than the updates thing. Perception is that HTC "is doing something" with fast updates. The reality is that they are just catching up to Samsung and raising the bar that they set very low. Updating is nice and those that have the phone will appreciate it, but talk to the One X owners that are watching their phone EOL while the SGS2 is getting updates. Ask a Rezound owner how the update went.

But if it isn't Samsung, it is a rah rah go HTC moment.

Catch ing up to Samsung ?! You on drugs kid ?! Catching with the laggy cartooney touchwiz ?! With the booring and cheap design ?! How did the recent updates go for the S3 owners ?!!! What about the flawed chip in the early s4 units ?! My God you get so excited about samsung...I think it's a fine balance between appreciating a good product or just get superoverexcited on every Shit that a big corporation squeeze z out...and then you act like a wet boy promoting their products when you really know that they actually dont give a flying fck about you or yr existence.

OH NOES! SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET DOESNT CARE ABOUT ME!

How is the One X doing on 4.3? Oh wait they will never see it.

Not only does he not like you, but he doesn't like Samsung as well. Shame on them for being in business to make money and grow their company to make more money....

One thing that is consistent, no one likes the guy on top.

If your honest with things. Samsung makes a great phone.
So does HTC
So does LG

They all have their pluses and minuses, the key is to find the one that works for you regardless of the logo.

The one x still might get 4.4 based on an interview with an Htc Rep they are reconsidering it.

Posted via Android Central App

The Thunderbolt might too but I kinda doubt it.

I will give them kudos when it happens, until then I am not holding my breath.

Well it can't hurt. I'm not sure why they are so unsuccessful. I have owned the OG EVO, and the One and both were beautiful pieces of hardware.
I think their biggest mistake has been (until the One) making a million versions of their phones instead of a recognizable brand across all carriers.

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

No support to and not givin a shit about customers, that was and is the keyfactor that will burry this company eventualy, they are basically Android Nokia - fancy phones as for looks but junk software-wise and theyll fall same way, hopefully being bought by someone who actually cares about its customers.

Junk software? Oddly enough, the runtime performance of Sense 5/5.5 bests mostly anything running a custom UI overlay. It doesn't require 3gb or RAM nor a higher clockspeed in order to run smoothly and effortlessly. So their support or lack thereof as you put it, will be what kills HTC? You might need to tell all of the executives that each time they release an earnings report. Would you care to find out if HTC's PAST performance regarding updates was better than any other Android OEM? So it's OK to have fancy and poorly written software with features that are best reserved for demonstrating and sub par aesthetics (according to your logic).

There is a good side to all of this. Once HTC is dead, peace will be restored in the Android kingdom once again....

I'm telling you everyone reading this wants updates to software yesterday. The majority of smart phone users who do not read sites like this could care less about updates. Some even get mad about updates that change what they have got used to!

Posted via Nexus 5

+1000

I think we folks who read this site forget that millions upon millions of smartphones are sold every year. The vast majority have no clue about updates, and my wife for one cannot stand them because like you said Jamie, it usually changes her normal way of doing things.

Ha yeah seriously! My lady's Nexus 4 is still on a 4.3 AOKP milestone. It flies, bug free, has transparent nav/status bars, and she's completely comfortable with it. A few times I said I'll flash you back to stock 4.4.2 w/ GEL or a 4.4.2 based ROM, but then I fear the wrath of some minor change she won't know or love lol. Hell my somewhat tech savvy coworker is furious that he finally upgraded his iphone4 to iOS 7...he knew it would slow it down as he heard but some app he wanted forced him to update. These types are by far the majority.

I would say no. Average customers don't care about updates. The screen replacement is a nice thing but I really don;t see someone buying a phone for that reason.

The answer is NO......if we want QUICK OS updates we can buy a Nexus or rom our phones with a custom rom to get the latest greatest. As far as broken screens, the only one I am aware of is my 20 yr old college sons Iphone and he doesn't take care of anything. I left HTC after the N1 and am not coming back.

I wish they'd get rid of Sense and just go with a stock UI with maybe a few useful features a-la-Google's Motorola. That approach combined with kick ass hardware design, which they already have down, would yield some truly great phones, and timely updates would then be a given.

No, that's what the Play Store is for. Skins tend to add bloat, lag (even w/ a beast like the S800), and waste internal memory. I just used a GN3 for a good bit of the holiday weekend (loaner)....thing is nice (esp.to read on) but often felt like a turd compared to my N5. Agree that Sense is much better and Moto probably found the balance for "a skin."

Moto is certainly nice, but I do not want to have to go and search for something. I hate to use the old apple logic, but I want my phone to "just work" which Sense, TW and whatever the LG skin is, does.

Stock cannot get a camera right to save its life, and it is just boring.

Exactly. Do you know how many phones I have that barely customize or install much of anything on their phones? If its not preinstalled they don't know about or use it.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

My wife is the same way. She has all the crapware sitting on the homescreen like she just pulled it out of the box. The only thing she ever installed on her own was Ruzzle.

I'm the type of person that has done the type of difficult modifications to smartphones like adding wireless charging you've posted above or touchstone support, compile roms/kernels from source, and such. So my point is my opinion on this matter is more valid that yours (: P)...STOCK is where it's at. Maybe your last stock experience was on Gingerbread? LMAO if you think it's easier to sift through all of the bullshiite in TouchWiz to find the few great additions (while turning a lot off to make it "just work") than it is to grab an app from the play store. I find the person behind the camera makes it great. I've taken plenty of terrible pictures on even the Nokia's...just as many good ones on a "bad" camera phone. Give your wife a Nexus 4/5 and then a GN3 and see what she thinks "just works." I've done it and there's a reason both my lady and my Mother love Nexus devices. They are not phone nerds. Beyond being extremely customizable, powerful, and extremely affordable...they just work.

I sure hope this helps HTC back to the forefront. They have done a lot for mobility, right back to the original Ipaqs. For those of us who have been around through all that we have seen the things they have done. Perhaps they have had a hard time competing with the mega sales of the giants like Samsung, but I'm rooting for them to hang in there. I love my HTC ONE, and think they have the ability to offer more great devices in the years to come. It's tough to compete with multi billion dollar advertising budgets but they are hanging tough......GO HTC!

Vanilla Android is all it would take for me to come back to HTC.

They will never do it though. They will cling to the anchor of Sense even as they're drowning.

I don't get this type of comments.
Why would they switch to vanilla? Do you really want all Android phones to have identical software, with only the design changing for one model to another?
If you don't want Sense, then just don't buy HTC.
I don't think Sense, or the software in general, is the real problem (average Joes and Janes couldn't care less about software - I mean I have engineer friends rocking Gingerbread and they're just fine with this), just that people don't know the phone.

Posted via Android Central App

"Do you really want all Android phones to have identical software, with only the design changing for one model to another " Yes, yes I do. As someone that has to support 400 users on all manner of mobile phones, I really wish these manufacturers would learn that their software overlays are garbage. The happiest users I have are iPhone users that have moved from an older iPhone to a newer one. Users that move from one Android OEM to another are the least happy with their choice.

I took your advice. I didn't buy HTC. Apparently a lot of other people didn't either.

HTC objectively makes great hardware. Everyone thinks so, even their critics. So the only other variable is Sense.

Variable: Sub-Par Camera
Variable: Enclosed battery
Variable: SD Slot
Variable: Metal

Everyone can say that the "build quality" is superior but if the consumer rejects it, you still lose.

iPhone... That's right, my bad. It has an SD Card slot, removable battery, and poor build quality. You are correct.

Posted via Android Central App

iPhone, different product for a different market. Not relevant to this conversation.

HTC- "Superior Build" No slot, no removable battery -- Broke
Samsung- "plastic crap", sd slot, removable battery -- #1. Selling more than Apple.

The tribe has spoken.

Hmm interesting. An iPhone = smartphone, HTC One = Smartphone, Samsung Galaxy ??? = Smartphone. How are they different products? Oh I get it, since it renders your fallacy invalid, then it must not be relevant. Gotcha. BTW I'll play your game. You cant' compare the sales of Samsung against Apple, since Apple only has the iPhone model and Samsung has oh so many Galaxies...egad!! iPhone be the bestestess SELLING smartphone y0!!!

Different OS, Different ecosystem, different market.

WP is a market, BB is a market, Android is a market, iPhone is a market.

Just because Samsung pays attention to emerging markets, where the majority of those Galaxies go, does not discount the sales numbers. The SGS3 and Note 2 at the very least came close to the Apple version in terms of sales that year.

Ugh, I can't believe I'm feeding you because you are by far the biggest troll on this website NoNexus (I mean, even your user name is a troll), but I have to disagree with you on several points. Firstly, I don't know what "market" you're referring to, but the M8 is slated to be HTC's flagship super phone and will probably cost between $620-650 for the base version when it comes out, which directly competes with the iphone 5s for high end market share. Secondly, from the way that you make it sound, you are insinuating that consumers are buying Samsung phones because they are either superior products or that Sumsung offers features in their phones that most consumers want. What you are ignoring is the fact that Samsung has far more resources to expend creating brand recognition. They spent 4.5 billion dollars on advertising in quarter 4 of 2013 alone. HTC didn't even spend that for the entire year, and most of the money they spent was the billion dollar advertising campaign with Robert Downey Jr. I would argue that Samsung is just better advertised, and not necessarily what consumers want. It has nothing to do with the phones themselves.

I am not ignoring the ad dollars, but you know what? They got those dollars somehow didnt they? If was not tv sales (since they are different divisions)

Because HTC consistently makes mistakes, it not a negative to Samsung.

I do not troll, no one actually like to hear the truth. I can do a MUCH better job at trolling if I want. I rag on Samsung when they mess up just like everyone else.

So... Samsung only allows the phone division to spend money that the phone division makes? That's not how corporations work. Before the phone division started to turn a profit where did the money come from to keep designing and releasing devices over the years? From the pot of money that other divisions brought in. They are a singular company and dollars are dollars, regardless of where they came from and where they are going. I'm sure they break down the different divisions and what each one spends and grosses during a quarter, but a corporation doesn't limit itself the way you describe. If Samsung Mobile Phones was a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics then things would be different. But it's not.

Do you think Acer and Lenovo are waiting for the Smartphone Money Fairy to give them cash to get in to the market? They're using the boatloads of money they earn from making PCs. HTC's financial problem stems from the fact that they only make smartphones so that is there only revenue stream. Not Computers or dishwashers or TVs or stereos or refrigerators. At one point they were pretty much the ONLY company making smartphones, but that was then and this is now. They have an uphill battle to get back to where they used to be and we should all be hoping they get there. I don't really want to get stuck with the Xperia/Galaxy/iPhone trifecta being my only option.

This is the most post hoc... nonsense I've read in a while. I especially enjoy how you arbitrarily disqualify any information that completely disproves your hypothesis. By your logic, making phones exactly like Samsung will somehow make them more successful than Samsung.

I agree with most of your comments. However, why did you have to put that Kit Kat update screen on the top picture when us AT$T folks are still waiting as of today? Come On big blue !!!! :-)

I still have the free 25gb free Dropbox storage that came with my HTC one X. I didn't even know it came with it haha. I bought the one X because it was friggin awesome. I'm sure this would help boost sales a bit but I also assume at least half the people buying the new HTC M8 won't know about the free storage nor care about updates.

Coming off of the One, and based on these recent announcements, I would have said YES. Then I saw the leak of the M8 and it seems like HTC is taking a step backwards in terms of design. It looks as if the One was an aberration and HTC is going back to the days of hardware compromise. Its a shame, but I think 2014 maybe their last.

I have no idea what all of the "issues" are that HTC faces, but I do know it'll never be one or two things that turns a company around, but these are good steps, BoomSound and Blinkfeed were good steps, front facing speakers were awesome steps, having one of the better displays is a great thing, improved quality control since the original EVO 4G is a great thing, etc... etc... Unfortunately this in an industry where they have 1 chance a year to make significant changes, and then the rest of the year to sell it to consumers.

I still have faith in HTC, and I'm sure 2014 will bring a great product, whatever the name is :-)

David

We shall see. HTC has made these types of promises before, and has fallen short. They have done fairly well with the update schedule for the HTC One, but they need (not should; need) to keep up this momentum. Samsung is supporting some of their flagship phones for 2 years (read: GS3 and Note 2 getting 4.4). HTC must do this to remain in the game.

Also, HTC needs to make devices that are easier to work on. The One scored the lowest score ever on the iFixit website. I've had to repair a handful of phones over the last several years, and now that I am in prepaid, and don't have insurance, I need something I can repair without destroying every piece. Right now, it's practically impossible to open the One without destroying the screen. A GS4 can be opened up and worked on pretty easily. Plus, parts are cheap.

It won't make any difference beyond the fan boys who frequent these sites. HTC can't compete hardware wise with the likes of Samsung and even smaller OEMs. Proof is in the pudding (actual numbers/percentages of their share of the market). I commend them for continuing the good fight, but the writing is on the wall.

seems everybody is on the Samsung bandwagon, but you have to admit that HTC makes quality phones. everyone wants to only focus on the bad (quarterly earnings).. we'll see what HTC has in store with sense 6 when the Desire 8 is unveiled on the 24th.

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HTC would do better to spend there money on television advertising in the USA. Their biggest problem here is that most people do not know who they are.

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What will do it is advertising. Samsung swamped pretty much all channels with a ridiculous, unrivaled advertising budget, and it has paid off. Now, the casual high-end smartphone buyer decides between an iPhone and a "Galaxy". It's not (backwards) features like a MicroSD slot that determine the difference in sales. Stuff like that will sway only some buyers who have specific needs. The difference lies in the large amount of "non-hardcore" (ie, non forum goers, etc) who are swayed merely by the huge advertising. Don't get me wrong, Samsung makes some nice phones, but there's no difference in quality between their handsets and the competitors', even accounting for individual preferences among consumers, that can account for the large and growing gap in sales.

Yeah Samsung makes some good quality phones, I much prefer it to the scratch & dent metal on the One.

And yeah, the removable battery is a big feature. I will give you the SD slot, but going on vacation, taking 500 pictures, having the battery down to 3% and then popping in a fresh one. Priceless feature.

Interesting, I've had my One for 6 months and there's no scratches or dents. Maybe not treat your phone like crap?

I love my HTC One, flaws and all!

That being said, I do hope they deliver on this. Breaking the screen is a pretty big deal to a lot of people so knowing they can get it replaced for free instead of going through all the bullshit of insurance replacement might attract customers. Will it be enough? Probably not but it's a step in the right direction. Go HTC!

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HTC really needs a better advertising campaign. Drop the Ironman garbage and focus on something that appeals to both genders and across age groups. Actually, if they're creative with the customer support angle (like Subaru, for example), that might be a great start.

HTC is a fantastic device and it's the best looking Android device currently. You stand out a whole lot more with the HTC One over a Samsung S4. Not ranting or anythin, I think HTC will pull it off well this year. :)

If they supported Rooted phones also that would put them over the top, because nobody wants to touch a Rooted phone when something (NOT ROM RELATED) happens to your phone

HTC Advantage feels like a last ditch effort. I don't think the company as we know it now will exist in 2 years time. Either they will shift to mid-range and cheaper devices only or a larger company will buy them.

They offered crap phones in 2011 and 2012. The Ultrapixel camera was a letdown and I think they should have put the power button on the right edge last year. The M8 makes some improvements (SD card slot, on-screen buttons) but if the One failed why should anyone believe the 'new' One, which looks almost identical to the One, won't?

It really is a shame. Competition benefits all consumers. I hope I end up being wrong down the road.

No, those are great perks, but I think stunning design (which HTC nailed in 2013), eliminating camera issues, improving its marketing strategies, etc. can give the company a real boost.

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Is the Advantage program going to turn the tide for HTC? Of course not, but like you said, it does have people talking. Let's look at the facts:
-Verizon gives you two weeks from the time you order a new phone to give you a new one for any software problems the device may encounter or to return it if you don't like it. After that, you have a one year manufacturer's guarantee in which you get a refurbished device and that doesn't cover the screen or any other physical damage.
-If you get insurance on your phone, you pay like $7-$10 a month and then you have to pay a $100 fee to have your phone replaced if anything happens because they don't replace or fix screens.
-Some places charge up to $200 just to fix a cracked screen.
So yeah, that along with the guaranteed updates would definitely make me strongly consider HTC for my next Android smartphone.

I think HTC has done well. As an owner of the US One X, I'm glad 32 GB is their default internal storage capacity with the One. Music is important to me, so having more internal storage in my future HTC device is nice. Their radio is also top notch. I've never had "searching for GPS" with full bars, unlike my poor, yet fun-to-root, Samsung Captivate, which Samsung released with a broken GPS.. Android 4.2.2 came late, but I had no problems with 4.1. It's "broken multitask" issue is minor to me. I wanted apps to close immediately anyway.

What I want HTC to do is to be better at advertising. I want them to show features, not actors.

I owned 1 HTC phone, did not work correctly. Support was lacking, sold it and never looked back. Been with Samsung since.

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Is Android updates really that important, given that the important apps and services are already segregated from the OS itself? I'd much rather have something well built. My Optimus G Pro runs 4.1.2 but is rock solid and has great battery life. My wife's comparable sized Note 2 already got 4.3, soon to get 4.4 but is prone to crashes, fails to detect our home Wi Fi most of the time, and loses 10% charge even before she leaves for work....

Great idea. It certainly can't hurt things and can only improve the relationship with their customers. Which they do have despite others saying they don't have any.Will this equate to better sales? Who can say? The odds are against anything they do helping them. It doesnt mean they should stop trying. I commend them for attempting to lure back customers and I think this will help repair some of the damage their reputation has taken over the years. Kudos.

I bought an One - X and was extremely disappointed. One year later I bought a ONE - and again was disappointed. Had to sell both devices after weeks of owning with a huge loss.

I will NOT buy another HTC phone ever again. That advantage shit will not change that.

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HTC there isn't a thing you can do to repair a first impression. Let me tell you about my experience with your company. Remember the HTC Thunderbolt? Yeah I'm sure you want to forget it too. Promises of updates, missed release dates, hardware that always had issues. Then being treated like the red-headed step child by YOU and VERIZON. Thanks but no thanks. What you should have done was replaced every single handset you sold to us poor plebs, but you didn't and before we ever got the updates we were promised you were already shipping new phones and forgot about US, your customers that gave you the initial push to put you on the map. Sorry but you could give me a gold plated HTC whatever and I wouldn't take it no matter what. Sorry....

I agree with this: While I loved my EVO, the Sensation was an ABJECT DISASTER, that really REALLY soured me on HTC. I'm not brand loyal (except to Google/Nexus), but that really eliminated HTC from any serious consideration over the last 2 years. And that's too bad, too because the ONE is the bomb, so I hear....

I think its a good start. In a world wherein smartphones, especially high end smartphones are becoming commoditized, companies with find ways to differentiate themselves. Some will choose the customer service route (a smart bet in my book), others will choose the "more hardware, doing different things" route. Glass, Smartwatches, etc are all attempts at the latter, while HTC is taking a stab at the former. Frankly, I prefer HTC's approach, for now.

HTC still listens to "focus groups" and "market research" instead of doing what's right. HTC seems incapable of executing correctly on the 2 most important smartphone attributes for me personally -- battery life and camera. Yep, they both still suck, even for the HTC One! I deal with on average more than 7 different smartphones a year, all from different manufacturers, required by my job. I have yet to use an HTC phone with either a good camera or long lasting battery.

After owning the Thunderturd (thunderbolt) I would be hard pressed to ever give HTC another chance. Nothing but problems with it from the get go. I have a Note 3, no issues whatsoever.

If HTC could make this phone wireless, like the DNA was, I'd be all over it. Unfortunately, the metal chassis prevents that from ever happening. I like what HTC does despite what others say. I like underdogs and tend to go in the opposite direction of everyone else. As far as cameras, the devices are cellphones and IMO should only be used in a pinch. Now battery life is a whole different story. I'd rather heave a slightly heavier phone with great battery life.

Gimmicks don't sell phones.

HTC needs to release products that consumers will want to buy and get quick updates.

HTC will have to realize that maybe their button layout choice sucks, and the amount of people who don't like on screen buttons (they should poll that).

Also they should possibly 'half withdraw' from the US market and just reduce to an internet/direct delivery service of an unbranded Flagship phone. They could keep releasing a single mid range phone every so often on each network, using that to keep getting the info on network specifics which they then put into their flagship phones. They could have a special app/menu option that contains a special settings pack for each carrier etc and the user chooses which to optimize for. Stuffing all the radio bands in one phone too obviously, if possible.

Will Google buy HTC, gut it for the patents before dumping that too?