On the surface, it seems that HTC's decision to feature just one Canadian carrier partner for its newest flagship, the HTC 10 — that's right, no "M" branding here — is a strange one, but given the company's tempestuous relationship with Canadian consumers over the past couple of years, it's not surprising.
That's right, when the HTC 10 is released in early May, it will only be available at Bell, not Rogers or Telus, nor any of their flanker brands. Even Virgin Mobile is being left out of the picture for now.
HTC says that's because it wants to do the best it can to concentrate on the phone's network virtues, which include Category 9 LTE-Advanced speeds of up to 450 megabits, which are best showcased on, what it calls, Canada's fastest network. Moreover, it's easier to launch a phone on a single carrier, since more marketing dollars can be concentrated in one space. Based on the conversations I had with industry insiders, it looks like HTC's last flagship, the M9, bombed on nearly every network on which it launched. By refocusing on a single one, with a much better phone, it can get the best mileage from what is, in this market, not even close to a sure thing.
To explore HTC's decision to part ways with the rest of the Canadian market, you have to look at its most recent launch, the One A9. After the failure of the M9, which was introduced back in March of 2015, the A9's streamlined (and familiar) design, with its one hand-friendly design and slightly lower price, was supposed to be just the thing HTC needed to get back on top. Instead, it was ignored by the Canadian carriers, despite HTC promising that it would find its way to at least one. At the end of the day, it was relegated to HTC's nascent (in Canada, at least) ecommerce store, which continues to sell the mid-range product for an astounding $649 CAD.
The HTC 10 will still be sold, unlocked, on that same HTC.com/ca portal for $999 CAD, in both Glacier Silver and Carbon Gray. Bell will be selling the phone, locked and subsidized, in just Glacier Silver. And while we don't have a definitive subsidized price for the HTC 10 just yet, if the standard $500 subsidy is applied, it's possible we'll see it for $499 CAD on Bell when it is released in early May.
We'll have lots more on the HTC 10 in the coming days, so stay tuned!
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