A few days ago, HTC held a shareholder meeting to discuss the financial woes they are experiencing from the less-than stellar first of of 2015. The HTC One M9 didn’t perform even close to wait they had imagined, and now they are losing money, and fast.
At the shareholder’s meeting, HTC promised changes are incoming and that change starts this fall. Among a promised changes to its 2016 flagship, they announced that it will release a ‘Hero’ product this October to kick start the change.
So, that got me thinking of different ways HTC could drum up business just like the olden days. HTC at one point was the go-to Android manufacturer. Not only that, but many devices ran HTC’s Sense UI. From re-design, to new hardware, to better marketing. Here are 5 ways the HTC ‘Hero’ can win back Android users.
Of course this is the first way. HTC were at one point the only Android manufacturer that included metal in their product. Not only that, but it was a metal unibody. It was very cool when it first came out, but it quickly went stale.
If you look at Samsung and Apple, HTC’s other top competitors, they stuck with the same formula for awhile on their designs. Even if it is a solid product, eventually people will get sick of it. Samsung finally transitioned to premium materials for the Galaxy S6/S6 edge and Apple finally made a device larger than 4 inches. HTC needs to do the same.
Remember these images that evleaks released? Yeah it showed off a completely redesigned device that actually got consumers excited. I even thought to myself… if these really are the next HTC devices, I don’t think I’ll get an S6 or G4. Turns out, they weren’t the real devices, and I did end up going with the G4. HTC missed out on a lot of potential customers.
If HTC were two release two devices, a 5 inch model and 5.5 inch model, they would already be on the right track. There are two kinds of smartphone users in the world: those who like larger phones and those who don’t. Samsung does it with the Galaxy S devices and Galaxy Note devices. Apple does it with the iPhone and iPhone Plus. It is necessary in 2015.
Now, what if these leaked images were the HTC ‘Hero’ device expected to be released in October? It gets you thinking doesn’t it? If HTC would release a device that is 5.5 inches, I wouldn’t even hesitate, I would skip on the Note 5 and get the HTC Hero Plus (everyone uses the Plus moniker nowadays).
Now this one is tricky. Yes, HTC has a marketing budget a lot less than Apple and Samsung… according to reports their marketing budget is 20 times less than their competitors. It isn’t ideal, but it is all about how you use it. HTC needs to find what makes them stick out as phone manufacturer now. It isn’t design, as everyone has caught up.
Look at T-Mobile and OnePlus for examples. T-Mobile found what made them different (no contracts) and marketed that. Even though they make a lot less money than Verizon and AT&T, they started moving up. Not because they had the money, but because they had the business plan. OnePlus has done a similar thing. They found what makes them stand out, and used the internet (social media) to push it. Now, they’ve sold over a million devices in just under a year.
HTC needs to find what makes them stand out. For example, they could push their care for their customer. They have already started with their Uh Oh Protection, but it isn’t enough. They need to interact with users on the internet and show them that they care more than just about numbers (ironic right now isn’t it).
I also don’t think celebrity endorsements help out as much as they used to. People who are in the tech community and are looking at getting a new phone, don’t care about Robert Downy Jr. and his affiliation with HTC, they want to know they are getting a reliable device that will last.
Be the Un-carrier of Phone manufacturers
This one could be a multitude of different things. T-Mobile found their niche by not going by the typical carrier rules. They ditched contracts and become customer friendly and HTC could take a huge note from their book.
One thing that would be smart for HTC would be to push their openness to development. HTC already has HTCDev, which is a site where developers can explore different possibilities of an HTC device and HTC software. Not many know about this however, or care. If HTC was more open to their developer community and pushing that as plus, it could greatly help sales.
I can’t assume for everyone, but I’m assuming developers get asked their opinions about which phones to get all the time. All it would take is one positive experience for them to recommend the device to one, two, or even three of their friends.
Fast updates is something that is a huge problem in the Android community. Once the source code is released, it usually takes phone manufacturers at least three months to push out their own software to their users. This causes a lot of stir throughout the community. Look at Motorola, they released their Android Lollipop before some Nexus devices even received it.
If HTC can stay on track and release major updates even with a month of their release, it could greatly help out their sales push. One thing I take into consideration when I buy a new device is when will it get updated? Will a device get updated relatively quickly or should I just install a custom ROM on to the device.
I know HTC’s Sense UI is heavily integrated on top of stock Android, but it’s possible. HTC already promised Android M for their M8 and M9, but how long will it take to receive? Now, if HTC took that and ran with it, they could be a pioneer of the big manufacturers (sorry Motorola). It could give them a big leg-up on Samsung and LG.
Let consumers test drive the devices
Lastly, HTC could really get a leg-up on the competition if they let some consumers test drive their latest devices. Not to the extent of anyone who wants to test a device can, but rather pick a certain amount of people and let them try the device before or after launch.
It could be similar to what LG did with the G4, but on a much larger scale. Not only could they get the device out there in the real world before the release, but they could get real consumers opinions on the device, average Joe’s. That way they could see how people respond to the device before they release it and becomes a dud.
Game developers do it; they release alphas and betas before the official release to make sure performance is up to par, so why doesn’t HTC try it too? Just allow for 1,000 openings this August-September, let the consumers try out the ‘Hero’ before it’s released, and learn from what they are saying.
At the end of the day, these are all just my opinions on what HTC could do. Would it be cool if they did one, two, maybe even all of these things? Sure would, but it probably won’t happen. All I know is that HTC needs to do some radical changing in order to get back on top of that hill, because Samsung and Apple will keep knocking them down if they don’t do something.
So what are your thoughts? What could HTC do to boast sales or even get you on-board as a customer? Let us know in the comment box below.