Mobile

HTC hopes cheaper phones will save it from chronic losses

Above: The HTC One smartphone

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

2014 is do or die for HTC.

In addition to ramping up its marketing focus, the ailing Taiwanese phone maker is hoping that a stronger lower- and mid-range smartphone portfolio could help it see consistent profits once again, Reuters reports.

“The problem with us last year was we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market,” HTC chairwoman and cofounder Cher Wang told Reuters.

Wang makes it clear that HTC — which used to be one of the world’s top smartphone makers — won’t attack the “very, very low-end” market, which means it’s targeting the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung. She notes that the company plans to sell phones for between $150 and $300 in emerging and developed markets, in addition to a revamped flagship One smartphone, which is expected next month.

In its last earnings report for 2013 today, HTC saw a slim profit of $10 million on revenues of around $1.4 billion, a 28 percent drop from last year. The company also expects another dip in revenues and an operating loss for the first quarter of 2014.

At this point, it’s clear that HTC’s strategy of focusing on a single (excellent) high-end smartphone isn’t sustainable in a world of Samsung’s unlimited marketing budget and Apple’s endless hype. While I loved the HTC One, the company needs to have more options in less competitive market segments — something that all smartphone markers are taking a closer look at now.


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