Quietly Brilliant But In Bad Health
This week Bloomberg reported that HTC had advised investors to expect Q4 earnings to be down by as much as 25% on previous predictions. That’s a zero growth for year on year revenue and ends what had been meteoric expansion in the last few years.
Shipment volume stats are not available but the absence of growth, evaluated against apparent holding of price (no evidence of fire sale tactics) suggest that they remain similar to last years 9 to 10 million handsets shipped.
Consequences of this growth collapse have been to assess HTC falling to fifth in the global smartphone league table, ceding fourth place to RIM.
What Soured HTC’s Success?
HTC were not alone in underestimating the impact that the Apple iPhone would have on trend, desire’s and expectation. But the iPhone has now been around for several years and did not stunt HTC’s expansion.
So, failure to anticipate the impact and success of the iPhone 4S appears unforgivable, as was the inability of HTC devices, the Verizon Rezound and AT&T Vivid, both LTE technology devices, to motivate the subscriber.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) Technology
While adoption of LTE as the consensus technology as we move into genuine 4G systems, is not certain (but probable) it currently does not fully meet 4G standards.
Perhaps this explains the lackluster response to HTC’s LTE devices within the US market; it now appears that John Public has been UNDERwhelmed by the HTC Rezound and HTC Vivid, and has eyes only for ripe Apple’s.
Market Mood & Perception
Certainly if HTC overestimated the impact and penetration into the USA then the next quarter, or perhaps several quarters, may prove bad for HTC morale and future earnings.
Should they have also overestimated their impact on the Chinese market, then it could become catastrophic.
Will The HTC Sensation XL Be Sensational?
Perhaps, but perhaps not. First reviews are ambivalent, noting that while it does much with great competence; an impressive screen and good web browsing capability, it has only 13GB of storage to back up claims of being audio oriented.
For the price tag, $723 for a single-core processor in today’s market looks like an oversight. The excellent WVGA screen quality may persuade some to buy and subsequently feel that the Samsung GT-N7000 Galaxy Note provides more for the dollar (if your hands are big enough to hold one) and outperforms the Sensation.
Very Quietly Brilliant?
At unlockworldwide.com we don’t suggest that HTC is a spent force; past brilliance by it’s designers can hopefully be replicated. But like many in the mobile communications industry it may not be their next phone that excites the market. It may take the Steve Jobs total rethink of converged devices to create the buzz that goes with double digit growth patterns.