updated 02:00 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
HTC turns to halo devices to fight Apple, Samsung
HTC's UK head Phil Roberson in an interview Thursday made clear that HTC was scaling back its strategy of flooding the market with devices. The executive argued to Mobile Magazine that HTC had "tried to do too much" in 2011 and oversaturated the field with devices. This year would be about making "something special," or having fewer but more distinctive devices.
"We have to get back to focusing on what made us great -- amazing hardware and a great customer experience," Roberson explained.
The company was accused throughout 2011 of adding increasingly superfluous variants to its lineup. While its early year was focused, the second half saw it release three versions of the Sensation, a close cousin of the Wildfire S called the Explorer, and new flagship phones like the Vivid and Rezound whose main addition was LTE. The Rhyme has been held up by some as the symbol of HTC's problem, as its only real selling point was its focus on women.
A consolidation might be necessary in the face of stiff competition. Its profits fell by 25 percent this fall after both Apple and Samsung carved into its once safe sales. Apple is virtually the opposite of HTC and has just three iPhones on the market, two of which were old models with configurations trimmed back. It has had no problems faring well and outsold Samsung, which itself is in HTC's situation of having many phones that cater to every possible niche.
Roberson in the chat added that HTC would step back from the tablet arena as part of its concentration on smartphones, although it wouldn't quit altogether. HTC had just two core tablets in 2011, the Flyer and Jetstream, neither of which proved to be competition either for the iPad or for the biggest Android tablet designers.