updated 11:15 am EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
HTC may anticipate iPhone 4S curbing sales
HTC's lowered fall outlook may be a sign it expects to take a blow from the iPhone 4S, analysts pointed out Monday. Its expectation that it would only move 12 to 13 million phones, down from 13.2 million, was likely factoring in the effect of a Sprint iPhone on its sales, Baird analyst William Power said. HTC may consider Sprint its most important customer in the US and would want to reflect that in expectations, which were much lower than the 14.5 million phones that Wall Street had expected.
Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital echoed this and noted that iPhone 4S sales were still "very strong," cutting into HTC's share. He added that there was a likely extra harm to RIM's BlackBerry.
HTC's unit shipments were still about twice as much as what it managed a year earlier. They still put it above RIM and most other Android makers outside of Samsung.
The connection to the outlook is unlikely to be directly confirmed by HTC, but it does reflect an increasingly established pattern in the US of the iPhone automatically outselling any one Android phone on whichever carrier it reaches. The iPhone almost immediately became Verizon's most popular phone and is still the leader at AT&T. Even the two-year-old iPhone 3GS is more popular at AT&T than any one Android device, the carrier has mentioned in the past.
Sprint hasn't given out its iPhone numbers, but it already said that it broke one-day sales records in just a few hours. Its last record-setter was the HTC Evo 4G in 2010, which trumped this year's Evo 3D and is still the most popular smartphone on Sprint in terms of lifetime results. [via Barron's]