Thursday, May 23, 2013

Will the absence of carrier support doom the HTC One

In the news lately is the departure of several high level executives from HTC. It seems to highlight a problem with HTC. Last year, when HTC released its flagship One X, none of the countries three mobile carriers offered the HTC One X upon release. The two largest carriers, Smart Communications and Globe Telecom carried the Samsung Galaxy S III and later the iPhone 5 from the local release date. The third carrier, Sun Cellular would carry the Samsung Galaxy S III a few months after release. The HTC One X. Smart Communications eventually offered the HTC One X as part of its line-up several months after its release. 

These year, it is a repeat of last years story. The countries two largest carriers, Smart Communications and Globe Telecom offered the Samsung Galaxy S4 for pre-order. Both held special activities on the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch date. In the month since it release, 10 million Galaxy S4 phones have been shipped, with a small fraction of that success being due to support from Smart Communications and Globe Telecom. 

The HTC One? Well, it is reportedly coming to Globe Telecom something in the future. 

Without local carrier support, the HTC One will not get the elite status needed to make it a success. If you look at the billboards on the streets, you see giant advertisements for the Apple iPhone 5, the BlackBerry Z10 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The HTC One. Except for the hardcore HTC fan or techie, I don't think the regular consumer is aware of this phone. 

In terms of status, only two brands are mentioned these days. To be cool, you need to have an iPhone or a Samsung. BlackBerry caters to a small niche market, but ownership comes with the respect that you a serious user. HTC has fallen a long way since the heady days of the HTC Wildfire, Desire and Desire HD. Back than owning an HTC was cool. Now owning a HTC One will be like a certificate of geekdom. 

I know a fair number of people eagerly awaiting the HTC One. HTC still makes great hardware. But without carrier support, it will loose a fair amount of sales. More disastrous, is that  it hits the market quietly. Worse, HTC did not tap much of the local bloggers to cover its launch. A few bloggers got an early hands on last April, and a few were invited to HTC launch event two days ago. But really this is quiet launch with what looks to be a make or break phone for HTC. 

HTC needs to learn, that it can no longer be Quietly Brilliant.

If you have read the article all the way here, take the time to give the HTC One a look. It is a very nice phone.

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