Looking back, HTC might well regret announcing the One M9 handset on the same day that Samsung unveiled its metal and glass Galaxy S6 and S6 edge devices at MWC. Samsung’s devices stole the show, and HTC is struggling to recover. Despite the HTC One M9 being more refined than its predecessors, moving to a more traditional camera setup and using the latest Qualcomm silicon, the handset is not selling well.
According to a report by the China Business Journal, shipments of HTC’s One M9 are down a whopping 43.75% compared to its 2014 flagship, the M8. In the 3 months it has been available, the M9 has managed to ship just 4.75 million units, which explains why it was rumoured last month that HTC was cutting component orders by up to 30%. When you compare those figures to Samsung’s, who shipped 10 million Galaxy S6 and S6 edge handsets in the first month alone and is set to reach figures of around 45 million units, you get the picture that HTC is floundering. Releasing a third flagship with the same design as its previous 2 flagship devices was always going to be a risky move, especially when Samsung was always going to come out fighting after being roundly criticised for its under-performing, samey looking Galaxy S5 in 2014.
Since the One M9’s release, HTC has launched a variety of similar-but-different smartphones that includes the One ME, the One M9+ and the E9+, not forgetting the Japan oriented J Butterfly handset. Much like it did in the years after being crowned the King of Android, releasing a proliferation of similarly specced and poorly supported smartphones that led the Taiwanese company to financial woes. HTC went from having a stock value of around $33 billion to the current market value of just $2 billion.
So, what is next for HTC? Well, the handset maker has announced that it plans on releasing a new flagship device in October. It’s anyone’s guess what specifications it will carry, although it’s probably safe to say it will use the latest Qualcomm processor.
Personally, I’ve always been surprised that HTC hasn’t released a smartphone to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Note series. HTC flirted with stylus technology when it released its Flyer tablet, and then it simply hasn’t been seen again. It would also give the company a legitimate second flagship device that wouldn’t cannibalize sales from its standard flagship.
What features and specifications would you like to see in HTC’s upcoming flagship? Would you like to see a similar design to the M9, or would you like to see HTC’s renowned design team burst out of its shell with a fresh idea? As always, let us know in the comments.