Android Central

While the message out of HTC following yesterday's Q4 financial results focused on “short-term difficulties” and “product transitioning”, the company offered more detailed information on future strategy in its conference call. Looking back on a disappointing quarter, HTC CFO Winston Yung conceded that the company had “dropped the ball on products,” singling out its LTE devices, particularly in the US, for criticism. Yung noted that HTC’s LTE products had a “thicker form factor” than competitors, and that battery life had become an issue, too, concluding, “we simply need to do a better job on both the design, and also the internals and the components of products.”

To that end, the company is setting up a high-level “studio”, overseen by CEO Peter Chou, to work on on future device strategy. Yung said that this team, consisting of people from HTC’s design and engineering teams, would be focusing on “key products that we are going to launch this year.”

The CFO also suggested that HTC may be looking to diversify the range of chips used in future products. In recent years, HTC products have been powered exclusively by Qualcomm CPUs, however Yung said that HTC has “a very good range of suppliers to choose from on CPU, for example”, adding “I don’t think we are constrained in any way from a component point of view.”

HTC is expected to unveil the first products in its 2012 line-up at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. So far we’ve seen early leaks of the mid-range “HTC Ville”, as well as unconfirmed details of the high-end “HTC Edge.”

Source: UnwiredView

 

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HTC reflects on LTE devices, promises high-level 'studio' focused on new device strategy

44 Comments

I could care less about HTC's LTE phones... just get the Bluetooth issues fixed on the Amaze 4G and get ICS on the stupid thing already!

if the "Ville" is indicative of "something special" and what they have to offer in 2012 - they are in big trouble.

The Ville is yet another rehash of the 2 year old EVO 4G with the same small low def screen.

HTC was on top two years ago when they had the biggest and highest definition screens. But then HTC lost focus and switched to gangsta rap and 3D.

Samsung is focusing on big HD screens and is killing the HTC gangsta. Motorola has figured out that the phone can be a couple mm thicker if it has twice the battery life.

Even in the interview HTC still does not understand what they are doing wrong. This is not about thickness. This is about HD and battery life.

It is not HTC's past that is killing them . It is their lack of understanding of what they are doing wrong. They are admitting to the wrong flaws.

i agree - it really sounds like they still don't get it. it reminds me of the words from executives of Palm, Nokia, RIMM at the beginning of their death spirals. hollow words that don't seem to grasp an understanding of the real problems and how to fix them. and their answer was cheap gimmicks too as opposed to great revolutionary products. HTC has been riding that EVO success for way too long. they got fat, tired, and lazy. i wonder if they have anything left in the pipeline?

IMO HTC needs to release two phones asap -

1. G-Nex/GSIII Killer
2. G-Note Killer

everyone knows what these phones should look like based on the names. should they be exact copies? of course not. but it's a starting point - a minimum benchmark - a minimum bar that needs to be cleared.

this is your competition Chou! stop fighting yesterday's battles! you will lose the war!

HTC is a victim of perception, much of it inaccurate, with the exception of the battery claim.

HTC's EVO 3D was the highest (or tied for it) spec'ed phone in virtually every category when it came out (except resolution by 10 columns to the iPhone 4), not even counting the 3D, which is a free bonus that does not need to be used.

HTC's Rezound has a higher resolution screen than the Nexus, everyone here fantasizes about, because it's true RGB pixels rather than pentile, and it manages to do it in a smaller screen, giving it one of, if not the highest ppi.

Sense from 3.0 on is nothing to complain about, and 3.5 is better. The apps and widgets are much more polished and uniform than the stock Android offerings or other manufacturer skins.

HTC is the first to release software updates for their higher end phones, the first to pull Carrier IQ when everyone asked for it, and even the first to listen to customers when you complain about things (when has Apple, Samsung, etc. ever come out and said something like this article?).

My only worry is that HTC will listen too much to the complaining, not realizing many of us have no complaints at all, and abandon their awesome industrial design for thin, plastic feeling phones with pentile displays.

the market disagrees -

HTC sales drop 52% in Jan. Plans 35% decline in Q1. R&D slashed by 60% in Q4, starts hiding unit volumes too
By Staska on 06 Feb 12

Things just keep getting worse for HTC.
They were already pretty bad in the last quarter of 2011, when HTC had to issue a profit warning and then reported 30% revenue decline compared to Q3.
Now this HTC sales slump is accelerating into 2012.
January revenues just came in at 16.6B $NT ($560M), and they are a whopping 52% lower compared to January 2011. In the guidance for the January-March quarter, HTC now expects to sell NT$65-70B ($2.19-2.36B) worth of smartphones, which is more then 35% decline from $NT 104.16B ($3.5B), HTC collected in Q1 2011.
And, with January numbers as they are – I’m not at all sure that in April HTC will be able to deliver the promised revenues.

HTC had the only 4G device on two different carriers (Evo 4G and Thunderbolt). There is no way to match that revenue now that the market is flooded with similar devices.

There is no way to HTC to match sales for when they had exclusivity, now that there is competition. This is the executives' fault for assuming growth would be endless to impress stock holders. This has nothing to do with build quality or UI. Again, it's perception vs. reality.

Exclusivity is the key to rediculous margins. Apple has exclusivity on the 30 pin dock connector standard. If all the Android manufacturers standardised mirco USB with the same functionality you would see Apple lose its grip on consumer electronics integration and in turn market share.

HTC's numbers will be lower now, and what they make now should be the baseline to compare to for future quarters.

HTC hasn't just lost ground against themselves of a year ago, they've lost ground against their competitors, most glaringly Samsung.

HTC and their fanboys can make excuses all they want but the market is fickle and they've lost their momentum. I went from a HTC device to a Samsung GSII. My colleague did the same. I can imagine that has repeated itself many times across the globe.

I'm not a fanboy, I'm objective, and trying to balance out everyone automatically repeating something they heard vs. my actual experience with the product lines. My girlfriend's father with Samsung GSII, my boss with the Galaxy Nexus, and my Evo 3D.

I was also pointing out that the analysis of HTC's revenue drop wasn't a quality issue as much as a new competition issue. We'd all have iPhones if they never had any competition enter the market.

Samsung is slow to update software in their phones and all other CE devices for that matter (somewhere between glacial and never being more accurate). AMOLED is thus far only offered at lower resolutons than its LCD counterparts. Touchwiz is less refined than Sense according to most of the tech press.

You have battery life and thinness/weight, HTC has the rest. They just don't have the TV commercials to fool the sheep.

The Nexus is the exception to some of this, but of I was on the U.S. CDMA market right now I'd still take a Rezound and its promised HTC Sense / ICS update. Better screen resolution, hardware buttons, better audio, free headphones, Sense widgets, and now a comprable camera.

Unless your product is at the very front of development then you are simply one of the rest and doomed to be ignored.

HTC need to beat the Nexus and the Note or they will be history this time next year.

It's nice to know that they are admitting there are flaws to their handsets. Putting a bigger battery in your phones might solve half of your complaints.

I want to cry ;( DAMN YOU HTC Y DONT YOU LISTEN TO US WE DONT GIVE 2 SHITS WE WANT A PHONE THAT WE CAN THROW IN A RIVER PICK IT UP SMASH THE SCREEN WITH A HAMMER 20 HOURS OF FULL BRITE SCREEN DUAL/ QUAD CORE AND WOULD IT KILL YOU TO GIVE US A SPECAIL PREROOTED PHONE WITH A WARRENTY BECAUSE ALL TRUE ANDROID LOVERS HACK OUR STUFF WE LOVE TO TINKER DONT BE APPLE WITH LOCKED PHONES WE HATE THAT OPEN SOURCE OPEN SOURCE

I like HTC's industrial designs generally. My advice: dial down Sense. Widgets, a launcher, and some wallpapers, sure. Spinning home screens? Unnecessary. Stop cramming ridiculous animations and ugly icons on to your phones, HTC. No, really, just stop. If you want to alter Android so much, at least make it nicer, not crazier simply for the sake of being different.

i don't think HTC will do that. i think they are committed to Sense and will keep dialing it up - and not down. why? because i think their philosophy is "more is better!" when it comes to the evolution of Sense. "let's throw more shit at it to make it better and more desirable!" also they might think "we have Sense and Beats, so we don't need better hardware." if this is the case - it could mean more bloat, more animations, more lag, more clutter, longer delays for OS updates, and worst of all, lackluster uninspiring hardware and design. we shall see.

And this is what I am afraid of. I have always been a fan of sense but its a damn shame that sense rapes the cpu and ram more than the entire OS it would seem. I really hope they tone it down a little or they will continue to lose ground to samsung. As soon as the g-nex drops for sprint I will put my evo3d into early retirement. If htc doesn't step up their game the evo3d will be the last htc device I will own.

Unfortunately, I'm inclined to agree.

Interviews with HTC reps on various podcasts, and the general market speak is that HTC is 100% fully committed to the Sense UI. While this might have been a good thing before, I'm not so sure this is a wise move in the post-ICS Android environment. Many of the customizations found in Sense and other UI's are default features in ICS; one could argue whether there's much "Sense" in placing a lot of resources into specialized UI's at this point.

Indeed Motorola and Samsung seem to be focusing more on hardware design--both inside and out--and less on massive changes to the UI. Perhaps one of the biggest issues is HTC's apparent reliance on Qualcomm hardware--by all accounts it would appear ICS was designed with OMAP processors in mind (even Motorola changed the Bionic's hardware, for instance, between demos and release).

I love my EVO but HTC really needs to come up with some better hardware if it wants to recapture the spotlight.

We should start a petition!!

I own 3 HTC devices and I love the quality of the hardware, but HTC needs to realize Sense will destroy them. It delays OS updates, slows down user experience, and it limits choice for consumers.

What stock android phones means to consumers:

1. Latest version of android: With HTC Sense, updates will ALWAYS be delayed because whenever a new version of android comes out, HTC needs to spend the time programming Sense and then releasing to compatible devices.

2. Improved Speed: When it comes to purchasing a phone, there is nothing more head ache than sluggish user interface. With less side-loaded software, HTC devices will be faster.

3. Choice: This is what android is all about. For people who don't prefer Sense, we SHOULD have a choice. And that shouldn't require rooting. Why do I want to spend a few hundred bucks and do so much work? Also not everyone is so technically savvy. HTC can still make Sense available as an app/theme as "bonus" to HTC device owners.

HTC Sense will never be an app. Sense is in the framework.
My Evo 3D is so much better because of rooting. Wifi-tether, added features, a better kernel (AnthraX), custom roms (CleanRom 3.0 Preview), font changing, and bootanimations are just a few of the things that help to make their hardware shine.

I hate that they're falling behind in certain areas, but Sense has enough perks that I can stick with Gingerbread for another year before getting a NEX.

My screen resolution is still better than most SGS II's. Add lag is negligible running overclocked 1.5ghz cpu's.

Framework or not, many functions are already or will be included in the lastest OS. Plus most of what Sense is doing can be achieved with apps/themes/widgets.

It's great that we can root and overclock our devices. I used to enjoy doing that as well. However, The majority of consumers don't want spend all this time and risk breaking the phone after dropping hundreds of dollars on new device.

We are happy to spend the money and get the awesome HTC hardware loaded with latest android, working fast, and knowing it will receive latest OS updates to take advantage of newest and greatest features.

What HTC needs to realize is that - Sense is one of main reasons why HTC will not sell their products. Htc should focus on hardware innovation like improving batteries, processors, and the industrial design. HTC designs have great build quality, but the "look & feel" can use alot of work.

If HTC will make a "true" replacement for Nexus One, I will buy one immediately.

I have total faith in HTC! The Ville is a mid range phone so I'm not too worried about it. They'll be dropping some shit! The Rezound is testament to the improvements they've made thus...

Totally agree. At least people are finally calling the Ville what it is,a mid-tier Android device. The Rezound and the Amaze 4G really show what HTC can build. Now if they can learn from Motorola and design a slimline 3000+mAh battery to fit with their new LTE phones they'll be set.

This is an HTC device. You know its going to have
Sense featured. If you don't like
Sense you should probably not buy an HTC device. I wish it wasn't so intrusive sometimes as well, but I do like it. You know what you're getting when you buy an HTC device. Sense is going to be there. If you hate it either stay away from them or root it and load what you want. Otherwise complaining about Sense on a device that you know is going to feature it is pointless. Perhaps they'll tone it down in future, perhaps they'll improve it. But you know its going to always be on top of Android.

HTC became a player in this game for a reason. They did it right once, they figured out what we wanted and delivered. Looking at the comments above, a few things:

I don't think it's fair to compare them to a Palm or RIM as they're still going to be building phones on an OS that continues to gain customers. It's going to boil down to design an hardware.

Personally, I have no issue with Sense, as with any UI/UX, it's preference and as long as they allow us to hack it, we can load whatever we want.

Just because they have Beats, they're not gangsta rap, but it was a waste of money. Volume+ is only $0.99 and I already forgot about Dre.

If you're throwing your phone into a river or smashing it with a hammer, you may not need a phone, you may need anger management.

They do not need to create a Note killer. Not everyone wants a gigantic screen. While the EVO was great with it's big screen when it came out, the Incredible was just as great. They need to learn how to diversify their products without saturating it with every combo of screen size. That said, I would prefer a GNex/GSIII killer from them, I do like my gigantic screens.

I will agree that they do need to focus on better batteries, but what company doesn't? I know you get xx hours of battery life from your phone, but I guarantee that there are people on HTC phones that can do the same.

I'm hopeful that they aren't spouting out empty words, but we still need to give them time to make the changes. Just because they said it yesterday doesn't mean we should see the changes today.

HTC's rep came from basically the EVO alone and to a lesser extent the Nexus One with the development community. But, they basically rode the coat tails of the EVO to this day. Other than that one phone I don't think they have had a great success.

HTC's rep had nothing to do with the evo or the nexus one. Now pound for pound the original evo will probably go down as one of the greatest android devices of all time but htc had rep years before the evo was even conceptualized.

Anyone complaining about HTC should really look at the Rezound. Awesome device and awesome screen. It would easily be top phone on Verizon if its released didn't get sandwiched between the Nexus and RAZR.

"Verizon if its released didn't get sandwiched between the Nexus and RAZR."

Ice Cream Sandwiched even.

Not sure what everyone is whining about with HTC. I compared build quality on all the smartphones at Sprint, and the EVO 3D and EVO Design both stood out from the pack as sturdy, well-built, comfortable-to-hold phones. The screens were 960x540 while most others were still 800x480. The Galaxy S II that everyone seemed so gaga over at the time felt like it'd break if I looked at it wrong, the screen had a disturbing blue tint, and the resolution was far from adequate for a 4.5" screen.

Personally, I like the 3D features on the EVO 3D, but even if you don't, it's a hell of a phone. Sturdy, fast, stable, good battery life (with a custom ROM), great sound, great screen.

Why don't you define it?

I consider it quality materials with good fit and finish. HTC uses a lot of aluminum and soft touch plastic in their designs. Samsung is notorious for using smooth and slippery plastic. Apple uses glass, which may speak to manufacturing prowness and looks nice but is terrible in practicality.

The back cover and integrated buttons on my EVO 3D don't exactly speak build quality to me. But at least it's easy to get a good grip on, and believe it or not many people do find that important.

"Samsung is notorious for using smooth and slippery plastic."

My T-Mobile SGSII that I'm holding right now with a textured, grippy back begs to differ.

I didn't say all Samsung phones were the same, did I? hegemon13 was comparing Sprint offerings, where the SGSII is most definately smooth and slippery. Along with their 2nd best Samsung offering, the Nexus S 4G.

Wrong. The Sprint SGS II has a textured back as well. I know because my colleague has one and I've gotten a chance to play with it.

So let me paraphrase you: "Samsung makes smooth plasticky devices, except for their flagship SGSII and Galaxy Nexus devices which have sold millions and millions of copies worldwide".

I appreciate what both HTC and Samsung have brought to the table over the years. Previously, I passed over the original Galaxy S for an HTC device because it did feel cheap to me. The SGSII has rectified that considerably. If people stuck to the facts instead of generalizations about brands, many forums would be eerily silent. In other words, FUD sucks.

I also like my EVO 3D. It's often dismissed as a gimmick but like it or not more 3D is on the way from every major manufacturer. It's a great all around phone.

Unless, of course, you don't have WiMax in your area. I did't realize the difference when I bought it, and now have no hope of actually using 4G in my area on this phone.

That's good about the CPU's. The only reason I haven't purchased an HTC device since the Evo 4G on Sprint is because I realized how much Qualcomm processors suck. They are horrible on battery, have horrible GPU's and don't perform anything other than the file system write faster than every other processor out there.

If they change to TI, Nvidia, or something else I will most definitely consider an HTC device. I like their form factor and I like Sense. Not to mention they are putting great cameras on their phones now.

HTC needs to redesign their phones because they're crap as far as quality goes. They'll have to show me a lot to ever get me to buy another one.

HTC has a design / aesthetics problem with their phones. Their phones look good, but they need to freshen up the look and take it up a notch.

They're getting beat, however, because although they're putting out very good phones, Samsung is putting out better ones.

They also have a popularity problem beyond just the merits. That the Rezound is losing out the far inferior RAZR is very hard to figure out. I imagine VZW's marketing has something to do with it.

Probably. Razr tv ads all the time. Was in Verizon today and someone asked a rep what the top Android they had was, and he was quick to say "the Razr." I get the appeal of the Maxx, but that's not the one they are pushing.

Of course you're gonna start getting a bad rep when your battery life is ATROCIOUS mostly b/c of software issues and allowing Verizon and the like to bully you into putting tons of crapware on the things. Continuing to put out phones with Froyo when Gingerbread had been out for awhile did a lot of damage to their "up to speed" rep. Then some of the GB builds were complete crap, and the cycle is repeating with ICS...Thunderbolt was the PERFECT example, botched rollout, WORTHLESS stock battery, outdated OS, almost a year to get GB update even thought it came out before the phone. Another month and it could have had ICS...