HTC’s promising year looks like it’s about to turn very sour. Although it’s set to shift 45 million handsets in 2011, the phone-maker has just reported that it won’t grow at all in Q4 2011 and its about to see its handsets pulled in Germany after a long running legal dispute ended in defeat.
It all means the outlook is bleak for a manufacturer that had the world at its feet just a year ago. How can it save itself? Here are five things it must do now.
1 Kill off HTC Sense
HTC has made a rod for its own back with the Android custom skin. Great to play with and look at, it manages to gobble up stacks of memory, with the result that getting the very latest Android software onto HTC handsets is always a constant struggle.
That leaves punters disappointed, meaning it’s time for the company to switch its focus to the now more-than-adaquate vanilla Android experience.
2 Ensure updates are available for years to come
The Desire disaster with last year’s flagship initially set to miss out on Android Gingerbread, followed by a failure to announce Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) plans for a handful of devices, including those revealed at MWC 2011, shows HTC has failed to grasp the fragmentation problem.
It must stick rigidly to new Google rules that all phones must work with Android updates for a year-and-a-half after release. Otherwise, it’ll lag miles behind both Samsung and Motorola in the future.
3 Amp-up its Windows Phone business
Rather than being happy to sit back and watch Nokia take all the Windows Phone plaudits, HTC needs to diversify and push its excellent Windows Phones harder.
Failure to do so will see it left battling other rivals in the Android space, where it’s losing ground to Samsung. If Microsoft is going to make a low-end version of Windows Phone, HTC must be there from the get-go.
4 Stop releasing so many phones
HTC is starting to feel a lot like Nokia during its Symbian dog days, releasing phone after phone that fails to capture the imagination for more than a few moments.
It needs to train its focus on a few core devices that target different segments of the market, rather than trying to please everyone with phones that look and feel the same.
5 Give up the spec sheet fight
The battle for ever more lavish specs is getting very tiresome and has little effect on everyday consumers.
HTC can take the lead in this regard, in the same way it did when it came to releasing camera phones that had more than just hefty megapixel count.
Fret not about quad core processors and screen size and focus on sleeker design and implementing ICS without any needless customisations and the company could yet win the day.