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HTC Losing Ground Faster Than RIM or Nokia 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the race-to-the-bottom dept.
zacharye writes "How bad is HTC's current tailspin? So bad it makes Nokia look like a growth company. HTC's handset volume declined by -43% in the autumn quarter vs. Nokia's -23% volume decline. This is very interesting because HTC is using Android, the world's most popular smartphone OS, that is powering 40% annualized growth among its vendors. Nokia is limping along with an unholy mix of the obsolete Symbian platform, the moribund S40 feature phone platform and a niche OS called Windows Phone."
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HTC Losing Ground Faster Than RIM or Nokia

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:20PM (#41783149)

    So that means its volume increased by 43%?

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:29PM (#41783275) Homepage

      For some reason in Europe, you tend to see a lot of stores advertising "-50% off!" sales and such.

      Apparently double negative percentages have the opposite meaning in parts of the world.

      • by epSos-de (2741969) on Friday October 26, 2012 @06:24PM (#41783969) Homepage Journal
        It is an old way to stop hacks of the pen or the pencil. Most of the people do not even know why it is still used and what it means. One evil fellow might add a number in front or at the end of an existing number. So, the old European book-keepers wrote a dot or a dash before and after the numbers that were final. The minus (-) is a dash in this case, so that no one can make 150% out of ----50% Just history and a lesson for you to add dashes at the end of important numbers on paper. Good German teachers still teach this practice to their students.
        • You must be young here. No need for a history lesson, I was born before the Internet. Checks still exist. Part of writing a check is writing the amount. The value goes in two different places -- once numerically and the other spelled out on the line. At the end of the spelled out amount you write a line to the end of that area, pretty much like you were saying about the ancient accountants of old and for the exact same reasons.

          Now, get off my patch of cracked and scored dry earth.

      • It means the same here in Europe. It's just that we have stupid people too, who'll blindly copy other people's mistakes. If you do an image search for "korting", "Rabatt", "rabat", "soldes" or "réduction" (discount in various European languages), you'll see the vast majority doing it right.
      • by frisket (149522)

        For some reason in Europe, you tend to see a lot of stores advertising "-50% off!" sales and such.

        No, you get either "–50%" or "50% off". I've never seen both — but perhaps a particularly illiterate or innumerate trader might do it.

      • I know in the Spanish world, you can add as many negatives as you want to a sentence, and it always results in a negative. I imagine this to be the same for other romantic languages (e.g. French, Portugese, Romanian, Italian) though I've never studied them in detail. It is worth pointing out though, that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world.

        Then again, English is Germanic in origin, with a lot of French and some Latin added. German shares a lot of traits with Scandinavian languages and su

    • This is why playing the percentages game is stupid.

      HTC's volume: 7 million units during the quarter
      Nokia's volume: 6.3 million units during the last quarter.

      So HTC is "losing ground faster" but they're still selling more phones.

      Why is this actually an article anywhere, nevermind here on slash-- oh, wait. BGR - I understand now. Weekly World News of the tech world.

  • The iPhone effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shoten (260439) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:20PM (#41783151)

    Okay, so HTC took a 43% hit on total units shipped in the Autumn quarter...the same quarter that the iPhone 5 came out. How heavy a hit did they have in Summer and Spring? It's happened before that when a new iPhone comes out, that's pretty much all anyone buys for a short while. Nokia's decline, on the other hand, has been going on consistently for some years now. A 23% drop for them means, what...that they delivered 23 less phones than the previous quarter?

    • Yes, but we Samsung buyers would have bought HTC if they ahd replaceable batteries and removable SD cards, and we will next time, if HTC get the message that people dont buy iPhones just because they can't change the battery. I still have, and use, an HTC Desire, and I have three spare batteries (ie 4 batteries) to make damn sure I can use it! I have learned my lesson - if you need a phone, you need a spare battery (or three)/ Also, if you need to take it for replair you want to be able to take your content
  • Don't forget Meego (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpzToid (869795) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:24PM (#41783205)

    Nokia is still limping along with Meego remnants, (and did that team kick-ass to deliver the N9 on-time, just before they were fired). There must still be some semblance of a paper trail left! Do not forget Meego! (the other OS).

    Godspeed Jolla!

    • by fatphil (181876)
      > and did that team kick-ass to deliver the N9 on-time, just before they were fired

      No, it wasted time and effort spinning its wheels going nowhere. Sometimes going backwards. Sometimes taking out water hydrants as they span out of control. Some real examples have been talked about on the forums (beware, almost everyone doesn't have a clue what they're talking about), but alas Nokia's still around to sue if I breach my NDA.

      But thanks for calling us kick-ass, it's nice to see people happy with what I devot
  • Keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by zenyu (248067) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:25PM (#41783223)

    I stopped paying attention to HTC the day they declared they wouldn't make any more phones with keyboards. That was what they had over Samsung and Motorolla. Now they are just make the same kind of phones with lesser build quality.

  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:27PM (#41783253)

    That could and should have been *their thing*. If they are just making the same type of phone as everyone else, may as well buy a Samsung.

    • by Electrawn (321224)

      Exactly. I don't want a touch phone, I want a slider keyboard phone. HTC made great ones and now I can't find any.

      • Exactly. I don't want a touch phone, I want a slider keyboard phone. HTC made great ones and now I can't find any.

        I just picked up a refurbished Droid 3 from eBay for $199. Decent.

  • New players enter the market, change the landscape, the old players adapt or die. Isn't this how it's supposed to work?

    That reminds me, the ol' HTC Touch Pro is due for retirement soon...

  • by Thantik (1207112) on Friday October 26, 2012 @05:36PM (#41783367)

    HTC seriously underestimated the power of their Android enthusiasts. They went the direction of Moto and started locking everything down. Every Android enthusiast before that point went around telling _everyone else_ to get an HTC. Once they screwed that vocal minority, everyone started pushing Samsung. Samsung doesn't cryptographically sign their bootloaders, meaning they can be unlocked without some big-brother style registration. This means Android enthusiasts push Samsung now.

    Never underestimate the power of an enthusiastic geek.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Alternative model of causality: Samsung advertises several times as much as HTC.

      • What would you do if you were a non-techie, you ask the one computer guy you know which phone to get, and he tells you HTC, hands down? Versus seeing a TV commerical with a spiffy-looking unknown phone?

        Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising. Plus, it's free.

    • by _avs_007 (459738)
      exactly! I had HTC phones before and loved them, and recommended them to all my friends. I currently have an HTC One X... While I like the phone, the hoops I had to jump through to unlock the bootloader was crazy. And if I ever have to replace my phone, it will most likely come with the updated ROM and hBOOT so that you can't unlock the bootloader. (You have to root first to be able to unlock bootloader. The OTA doesn't have a root exploit, so unless you already unlocked the bootloader, you can't root. So n
      • You do realise you can just go to HTCDEV.com and unlock bootloader with the code they give you?

        Unless you're 'murican and speaking about the Verizon BL locked HTC OneXL in which case you do know thats Verizon's fault not HTC's?

        • sorry I mean AT&T (I think! apologies in advance)

        • You do realise you can just go to HTCDEV.com and unlock bootloader with the code they give you?

          Sorry. No go. I will never buy hardware that requires me to get permission from someone before I install my own software on it. Let me tell you a little story about websites: They're transient.

          It doesn't pass the Zombie test, then I don't buy it: If you find a crate of something and can't use it for survival for any reason, including DRM, then it's not worth anything at all and should never be manufactured in the first place.

          Awesome! Smart Phones! I can get root, create a mesh network via tether

  • A lot of business writing is poor, but Michael Porter is the exception to the rule – and I think his 5 force analysis comes into play here.

    Basically, HTC is in a highly completive market with low barriers to entry. It’s hard to make their phone unique – anybody can use Android – so basically they are in a commodity market where they have to compete on price. (and by price I mean value. Honda and Toyota thrived for years offering basic, commodity cars. Nothing exciting but they did gi

    • That would be true if they weren't all in the same market. All smartphones are competing for the very same users to accomplish the very same purposes. A different OS certainly differentiates your product, but does not make it necessarily better, or more desirable, or even different enough. For all purpose sliding keyboards would be much more significant differentiation factor between HTC and Samsung than a different OS, just to give an example.
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Making sure that there was a bluetooth sliding keyboard case that for their phones would have been an even bigger differentiator. I want to see an Android phone maker that takes accessories serious. Currently every single one of them treats accessories as an after thought. This is the one area that Apple is vastly ahead of Android. Until the iPhone 5, you could buy an iPhone accessory, and it would generally work smoothly with every iPhone and iPod Touch on the market. Many of them would also work smoo
    • by iserlohn (49556)

      That's all good and whatnot, apart from the fact that HTC also makes Windows phones... And so does Samsung, LG and Nokia... So that argument gets blown out of the water as well...

      • Fredprado: The number of items that HTC can differentiate itself is small, and those points are basically hardware.

        For example, Sliding Keyboards. People loved their BlackBerry because it had an excellent physical keyboard – but it’s not much of a moat. Anybody could do sliding keyboards. Heck, Apple could do sliding keyboards if they wanted to.

        I am going to argue that the OS is different. Anybody can use Android – there is no moat. I understand Microsoft is a bit picker. iOS, of course, i

  • is that you end up trying to differentiate primarily in hardware or price. You're limited as to what you can do on the hardware side by an OS you don't control. There can only be so many successful players in a market like that.
    • by compro01 (777531)

      The problem with using a commodity OS is that you do not get much, if any, slack when you start doing stupid things. HTC's stupid things were locking bootloaders, getting rid of replaceable batteries, and getting rid of microSD slots.

      This resulted in everyone knowledgeable, who previously recommended HTC devices to everyone, dropping them like a bad habit and instead recommending Samsung.

      • by unimacs (597299)

        The problem with using a commodity OS is that you do not get much, if any, slack when you start doing stupid things. HTC's stupid things were locking bootloaders, getting rid of replaceable batteries, and getting rid of microSD slots.

        This resulted in everyone knowledgeable, who previously recommended HTC devices to everyone, dropping them like a bad habit and instead recommending Samsung.

        Among geeks perhaps, but the vast majority of market doesn't care much about that stuff if at all. They'd rather replace their phone every few years than worry about the battery and they have no concept of what a bootloader is.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      yes.. you actually have to compete on quality and features instead of artificial lock in.

      • by unimacs (597299)

        yes.. you actually have to compete on quality and features instead of artificial lock in.

        What lock in? I know lots of people that have gone back and forth between an iPhone and various Android phones.

        All I'm saying is that it's a lot harder to compete on features when you've tied yourself to the same OS that most of the rest of the market is using.

    • You're limited as to what you can do on the hardware side by an OS you don't control.

      WTF are you even talking about? The MFGs control the OS -- It's open sourced and even re-skinned quite frequently. Hell, you could create a whole new chipset and instruction besides x86 or ARM -- Completely change the hardware, and still put Android on it. That's why C compilers exist. Apple has the same luxury...

      ...Oh, I see, by control you mean control the users via restrictions in the OS. Ah, yep. It's harder to abuse users and charge over priced rates, Like Apple; Hell, it's hard doing that even

      • by unimacs (597299)

        You're limited as to what you can do on the hardware side by an OS you don't control.

        WTF are you even talking about? The MFGs control the OS -- It's open sourced and even re-skinned quite frequently. Hell, you could create a whole new chipset and instruction besides x86 or ARM -- Completely change the hardware, and still put Android on it. That's why C compilers exist. Apple has the same luxury...

        The MFGs control the OS? Really? So they can change whatever they want? Even the kernel? What if they don't want to release the source?

        What happens if HTC makes significant tweaks to the OS to accommodate some fancy new feature (not just a new processor) like a foldable display? Then Google releases "Grape Yogurt" or whatever they want to call the latest and greatest version of Android which features an updated kernel. Are the HTC users just going to be able to upgrade and still have the display work? D

  • Losing volume is bad and all, but what effect is this actually having on their profits? When the numbers were reported last quarter, it was estimated that Apple was bringing in 77% of smartphone profits, Samsung had 22%, HTC had 1%, and the rest were in the red with a net loss. If HTC is still profitable then they may very well still be in a better position than some of their competitors who have been losing money hand over fist despite (and in some cases because of) shipping more units.

    Note: I'm not defend

  • If something declines by -43%, you're counting up, not down.
  • What is killing HTC is that:

    1) They did not get their flagship devices out fast enough.
    2) Their high-end devices are not on enough USA carriers.
    3) They didn't advertise enough.

    They make really good phones both in the past and present. Samsung is just railroading them by getting their high end model on almost all the carriers and then absolutely blanketing the market with effective advertising.

    • 4) Churning out too many phones (they've released over 12 models/variants so far this year).
      5) Not supporting existing phones with updates
      6) Beats audio (they spent $300 million buying Beats by Dre, what a massive failure).
      7) Locking down their phones
      8) Non-removable battery and no sd cards
      9) Focusing on thinness instead battery life

      The original HTC Evo was nice, and the new One X looks nice, but they made too many variants. They also don't properly support any of them with updates.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        Response to your numbers

        4) It is odd that they stated they were going to release less models, which sounded great, and then didn't quite follow that rule.
        5) They support their high-end devices very well. No vendor does well with mid/low end phones, period.
        6) Beats is a total waste of time, agreed.
        7) HTC phones are not locked down more than any other non-Nexus phones.
        8) The battery *is* removable, it takes 5 min on the Evo LTE to swap the battery. Sorry again, the Evo LTE has an SD card. But the new Nexus

  • I will be seriously disappointed in consumerism in general if HTC shuts down, they do really solid and impressive hardware, and make outstanding changes to Android to make it more effective and more accessible. People go look at their stuff, it's seriously competitive with Samsung's stuff, and it's better supported after release.
  • Our company is moving from Sprint to AT&T and we looked at both flagship Android phones (the One X and the S3) ... it was pretty simple - Samsung makes a better phone for our needs: The whole non-user-replaceable battery deal (a first for HTC in this gen of phones) is beyond Apple-lame...why clone that feature? For the amount of use we put into our units, batteries need to be replaced...I already have an extended run battery in mine... Lack of SD card. Portable is better, but I've heard AT&T was
  • Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 26, 2012 @06:19PM (#41783925)

    It serves HTC right. Hopefully they OneX taught them a lesson, and next year's models will have batteries that end users can swap/upgrade, microSD sockets, and real two-stage camera buttons.

    Seriously. Name one single thing that makes the HTC OneX a better phone than the Galaxy S3. Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. If HTC had given it a two-stage camera button, or even any dedicated camera shutter button AT ALL, at least some people would have been left wringing their hands and agonizing between it and the S3. They didn't, so that's one opportunity to differentiate themselves for roughly 17 cents that HTC squandered.

    The OneX has a sealed battery. Right there, they've instantly written off anyone who won't buy a phone that can't be used with a 2800mAH+ battery, and anybody who expects to be able to swap batteries at will. The Galaxy S3 allows you to do both. The OneX allows you to do neither. Strike two.

    The OneX doesn't have a microSD card. The Galaxy S3 does. Once again, for the price of something that costs about 12 cents in HTC quantities, they blew it with a large segment of the Android market who won't even give a phone that lacks microSD expansion capabilities a second look.

    Let's not forget HTC's nasty habit of releasing monolithic kernels that can't be built from source because the proprietary bits were just ripped out before they shat the source onto the curb and said "here it is". Samsung cleanly separates out their proprietary kernel code as proper loadable kernel modules, just like god and Linus intended. However, I'll only count this as a half-strike against HTC, because historically, they DO at least tend to release new kernels in half the time (or less) that it takes Samsung to release new loadable kernel modules for new kernels. This is a prime example of an area where HTC could spank Samsung... if they were to commit to separating out all of their proprietary bits as proper loadable kernel modules and released automated builds more or less immediately upon getting their hands on Google's new source (and in a "rapidly timely manner" if changes had to be made to fix problems with the automated builds), they'd have a HUGE competitive advantage over Samsung in this regard. They could just release them as unsupported early-access betas, and treat the users at XDA like a vast unpaid QA program.

    It's not like HTC is uncreative. The Evo 3D had a very cool & compelling feature. It might not have been all that useful in daily life, but it was definitely a cool feature to have. I know lots of people who didn't really USE it, but I know of very few who genuinely wished their phone didn't have that feature at all. Most of the complaints about it were due to some of the hardware design compromises that were made to keep the cost down by limiting the resolution and bitrate at which you could capture in stereo.

    Anyway, the point is that HTC decided to rest on its laurels and release a phone that doesn't suck, but doesn't really do anything BETTER than the Galaxy S3 does. It's basically the same price, targets the same market, and offers nothing to let its owners stand in front of a group of S3 owners and proudly say, "My phone does ______ better than yours does." In the Apple universe, annual incremental upgrades are doled out as the norm, and users applaud politely & line up to buy this year's refinement. In the Android universe, you have to either knock people's socks off and delight buyers every single year, or be content to sell phones that are basically 'free' no-name commodities.

    Lest anybody accuse me of being a Samsung fanboy, I'll be the first to say that I *want* HTC to make phones that beat the crap out of Samsung's, because then Samsung will turn around and try harder to make phones that beat the crap out of HTC's. Then I want Google to use Motorola as its bully pulpit to pull the rug out from under both, and raise the hardware stakes even higher with phones that have unlocked bootloaders & make Samsung's and HTC's flagship models look like antiques, the same way the Nexus One did to the phones that came before it.

    • Seriously. Name one single thing that makes the HTC OneX a better phone than the Galaxy S3. Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.

      The Camera. Being able to record 1080p video and take 8M photos is huge if you have a kid. Trust me, you want nice photos you can blow up or view full screen but you also want to record incase they do something cute? Now you can do both. Single biggest reason I can not move to another phone. My wife has the XL with 4g, and I'll admit that is probably a better buy than my One X since I don't seem to get as much benefit from the quad core chip but it is a pleasure to dev for too. Other "better" things start

    • by walshy007 (906710)

      Seriously. Name one single thing that makes the HTC OneX a better phone than the Galaxy S3.

      The screen. amoled screens suffer from colour shift, burn in and a lesser overall life. The htc one x has an IPS screen that gives far better colour reproduction.

      Build quality, the thing feels far sturdier than an s3.

  • From the Windows Mobile, generic brand days of the HTC Universal (T-Mobile MDA Pro), HTC Advantage (T-Mobile Ameo - 5 inch touch-screen device with a built-in 1.8 inch hard-drive), HTC Touch Dual, and then I moved to Android with them - onto the HTC Desire HD.

    All have been great phones in their way (Except the Ameo, which was a lousy phone, but an awesome smartphone in a pre-smartphone world) - and I loved my first step into Android with the Desire HD - a proper flag-ship phone for them, at the time of laun

  • Cautionnary tale (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:07PM (#41784463)

    for all those urging Nokia to go Android, or lamenting they didn't ?

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      for all those urging Nokia to go Android, or lamenting they didn't ?

      People say that Nokia should have gone Android because its the Winner OS as opposed to Windows Phone the Loser OS. Even Apple has losing Marketshare to Android 23% to 8%

      Maybe Samsung should be a regretful tail to Nokia of what they could have been.

      Personally I say no reason why Nokia should have gone exclusive to windows phone not even HTC made that mistake which is why they are still profitable.

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