HTC stock crashed overnight and trading in its shares was halted after it declared a staggering 48% decline in revenue to NT$33.0 billion (about US$100 million) for Q2 2015.
This feels like a surprise: We’re in the middle of the greatest bull market for smartphones ever, and HTC makes a really nice high-end Android called the HTC One M9, which has gotten across-the-board good reviews.
But HTC can’t sell phones!
Weirdly, Samsung has the exact same problem.
The Galaxy S6 (and S6Edge) and its upcoming Note 5 look like some of the best phones ever made. Yet its Q2 results looked like this: Sales dropped 7% from 52.35 trillion won in Q2 2014 to 48.54 trillion won today.
Part of the problem is that a lot of customers were simply waiting for Apple to make a big-size phone, the iPhone 6. Once that came out last September, it sucked a lot of buyers out of the Android market.
But that is not the whole problem. The Android market is still growing overall, and in some countries faster than iPhone. In the US, Spain and France, Android added several points of market share while iPhone declined despite the iPhone 6 launch.
So again, what the hell is wrong with Android?
Android represented by number of different devices
That is a ridiculous number of different Android devices. (Apple, by comparison, has about four different iPhones for sale at any one time.) Nobody needs that level of choice. If you go to OpenSignal, the site that published this chart, you’ll find it is interactive. Wave your mouse over the little squares and it will tell you which device each square represents. Samsung has about half the market here by SKU, but some of these units are bonkers. What is the Samsung SM-T211? Nobody knows. But you can buy one if you prefer it over the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 SM-G7105, another Android no one cares about. HTC has the same problem — it is selling dozens of brands instead of concentrating on just a few that are really good.
Here’s the same data but ranked by size of device:
Android represented by difference in size of devices
Again, the Android makers seem to think that the best way to succeed is just to make as many different types of slightly incrementally different devices as possible and hope for the best.
Meanwhile, Apple makes one device at a time (or two if you count the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus separately). And there’s no confusion about how good they are.
So one way to interpret Samsung and HTC’s fortunes is to say that there is an obvious level of over-capacity in the Android business and it is time to see some consolidation. Some of these companies need to die. About 90% of all their brands need to be killed. Android companies need to concentrate on making one or two really excellent phones and tablets and let the devil take the hindmost.
Because the current strategy ‚ throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks — is obviously failing.
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