HTC says it has a plan to tackle the high-end of the smartphone market.
Over the last three years, HTC has consistently made some of the best smartphones you can buy.
Its One series of flagship devices were the first to buck the trend of flimsy, plasticky devices in favour of premium-feeling metal phones. But even though they were really nice, HTC has struggled to sell them at a volume even close to what Apple and Samsung has been able to pull off.
Part of that is a marketing problem. Samsung became king of Android a little over three years ago thanks to an aggressive ad campaign and PR push, leaving HTC in the dust. But things have changed recently. Samsung has seen sales and profits tumble as more manufacturers have figured out how to make really nice phones that cost a lot less.
It’s the same story for HTC. The challenge ahead of the launch of its new phone, the HTC One M9, will be to figure out how to differentiate the device from the zillions of other Android phones and high-end devices like the iPhone.
Apple now owns the premium end of the smartphone market, leaving HTC and Samsung struggling to come up with ways to create unique experiences on pricey Android devices.
In an interview with Business Insider at the Mobile World Congress this week, HTC’s president of the Americas Jason Mackenzie teased an upcoming announcement ahead of the M9 launch later this spring that will help set the phone apart from other Android phones.
“When I look at the flagship [the M9], I see we’re building the most premium device,” Mackenzie said. “But I can’t stop there. We have a huge announcement in middle to late march around extreme differentiation between Samsung and the iPhone. It solves key pain points.”
That could mean anything! Mackenzie wouldn’t expand on HTC’s plans, of course. But if we had to guess, it’s probably some sort of iCloud-killer.