HTC will launch its latest smartphone — the HTC 10 — On Tuesday
which the company is hoping will turn around its fortunes as it seeks to remain relevant in the smartphone industry.
However, without a unique feature, the Taiwanese company could struggle to compete against the numerous flagship smartphones already on the market from Apple, Samsung and LG.
HTC is in trouble, but that’s nothing new. The company’s most recent quarterly results, announced last week, revealed that revenue dropped almost 65 percent compared to the same period last year. As this graph from Charles Arthur, a technology journalist and author,
neatly sums up, the most recent drop is indicative of a company that has been struggling to remain relevant in the smartphone market for some years now.
— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) April 6, 2016
With the launch of the HTC 10
, the company will make its latest — and possibly last — attempt to win back some of the market share it has lost to the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE in recent years. HTC will hold events in New York, London and Taipei for a smartphone which will go head-to-head with the iPhone 6s as well as devices from all major Android manufacturers, who have already launched flagship devices in 2016, including the LG G5, Huawei P9 and Samsung Galaxy S7.
The HTC 10 — codenamed HTC Perfume — will be an evolution of the HTC One series which the company launched three years ago with the acclaimed HTC One M7. The company was lauded for its industrial design and won numerous industry awards, but the phone failed to sell in the numbers the company had hoped. The successors to that smartphone, the One M8 and One M9, were similarly lauded by critics but again failed to grab consumers' attention.
Last year the HTC One M9 was criticized by some for being too similar to One M8, so now the company is seeking to offer something new. However, leaked images of the smartphone suggest it won’t be a completely new design from HTC.
— The Malignant (@the_malignant) April 10, 2016
Images leaked on the eve of the launch and published by GSM Helpdesk show a phone with the recognizable antenna lines on the rear cover — something HTC says Apple copied — while the front shows a fingerprint sensor sitting below the screen.
A promotional video for the HTC 10 also leaked ahead of the launch, showing a significant chamfered edge around the rear edge of the phone.
HTC is playing up the camera features of its new phones in teasers ahead of the launch, calling it the “best ever” smartphone camera -- and sounding like the claims made by Huawei about the Leica-engineered camera on its P9 smartphone last week. The company is also claiming the new phone will have the “best BoomSound ever,” referring to the speakers on front of the company’s smartphones, though how much of a selling point this will be for the average consumer is unclear. Finally, the company is promising advances in battery technology for the HTC 10.
U.S.-chipmaker Qualcomm has also teased details of the new smartphone, with the company’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 chipset likely to power the new HTC device. It is also reported to have a 5.2-inch display with a super-high QHD resolution, 4GB RAM and a USB-C port for charging and data transfer.
According to one analysis of HTC’s sales performance, the company is likely to have sold between 400,000 and 600,000 smartphones in March. For context, Apple shipped around 20 million iPhones per month in the first quarter of 2015.
With the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 already on the market, and Huawei’s P9 due to launch later this month, the HTC 10 may not be enough to see the Taiwanese company move the needle in terms of smartphone share. The company has recently launched its Vive virtual reality headset in association with Valve, and while this will certainly help its bottom line, the company will continue to struggle
without a successful smartphone.