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Don’t count out HTC just yet.
Despite making last year’s best Android smartphone, HTC saw its shares fall a whopping 53 percent in 2013 as it lost ground to Samsung, LG, and other Android makers. But for 2014, HTC says it has learned from its mistakes.
On top of the expected announcement of its next flagship One smartphone, HTC also plans to release its first wearable device by the holidays as well as double-down its marketing efforts, Bloomberg reports based on interviews with HTC executives.
While its unclear what sort of wearable device HTC plans to explore, my bet is on some sort of smartwatch or wrist-based gadget. With Samsung’s botched Galaxy Gear launch last year, HTC has a shot at creating a memorable smartwatch before may Apple debut its rumored iWatch.
Perhaps more importantly, HTC is waking up to the fact that its marketing efforts have been weak.
“To tell the truth, we never think marketing is that important — this is really not very good,” HTC cofounder and chairperson Cher Wang told Bloomberg.
The company paid $12 million to sign Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. for a multiyear sponsorship deal, which resulted in some fun ads where the actor tried to explain what “HTC” actually stands for. HTC claimed it was throwing $1 billion behind that entire campaign last year, but we never really saw much from it outside of a few Downey ads.
Wang wouldn’t say if the company is increasing its marketing budget this year, but she noted that what’s more important is how the money is actually spent. Perhaps HTC can take a page from China’s Xiaomi, which relies heavily on social media and crowdsourcing to market its devices.
Bloomberg reported previously that HTC is expected to announce its new One smartphone next month, which will sport a slightly bigger screen and a dual-sensor camera.