HTC's new pitch to get you to buy its upcoming flagship One M9 phone is to give you a piece of mind when you buy.
If you accidentally damage your phone, the company now promises to give you a new one for free with a cutesy program it calls the Uh-Oh Protection Plan.
Here's how it works:
If you buy HTC's new One M9 phone this spring, you'll be automatically enrolled in the protection plan.
HTC will cover any damage to your phone for up to a year. If you crack your phone, drop it in a toilet, or damage it in any other way, you're eligible for a new replacement phone at no cost.
Just call a 1-800 number, give HTC your information, and the company will overnight you a replacement phone and an envelope you can use to return your damaged device.
That's it. It's totally free.
And now for the caveats!
The protection plan only lasts a year, the same as your regular warranty. You can only get a replacement phone once in that year, but you can still get another phone at a discount if you have another accident.
If you don't end up getting a replacement phone in that time, HTC will give you $100 off the purchase of your next HTC phone.
Finally, the offer starts with the release of the One M9, which doesn't have a confirmed launch date yet. The protection plan will apply if you buy last year's One M8 phone too.
So, why is HTC doing this?
The main strategy is to give customers a reason to pick the new One M9 over the other phones out there. By now, smartphones are all pretty much the same. You either buy an iPhone or one of the dozens of Android devices. And if you want Android, you probably want the phone with the best value since most of them work the same way.
It's an interesting problem. Apple has an iron grip on the high-end of the market across the globe. Everyone else is still trying to figure out how to crack that code. HTC's replacement plan sounds like a great deal, but it's still going to be tough to make this the one factor that causes people to suddenly start flocking to HTC phones.