HTC One

Note: This post is purely a bit of fun and a dream of a perfect world. No one could realistically expect a 19-year-old to single-handedly reinstate a company to its former glory. Though, if they’d like to pay me to try, I’m open to it.

First let’s look at what’s possibly happening to HTC at the moment. Their previous quarterly results are far from stunning, in fact, their profits have nose-dived over the past year and they’re hoping the HTC One can be their saviour device. Last quarter they reported a 98% drop in profit and a 38% drop in revenue. Those a huge numbers with good meaning behind them.

What would I do?

First off: tablets. Get rid of them. Can any plans you have for them — like the upcoming ‘T6′ phablet which is floating around. If there’s a design in the pipeline, be gone with it. HTC is not in a position to make a push into the mediocre Android tablet market. The 7-inch HTC Flyer should be a good enough reason to justify my plans.

If, and only if, there’s a viable design, let’s push out a Galaxy Note competitor. Samsung have shown that there’s a huge market for that device size. Let’s push out a 5.5-inch (or similar) device with amazing hardware that people actually want to use, and not just because it’s not an Apple or Samsung product.

The One. The one and only One. The HTC One. There’s no denying this is a great smartphone and sits comfortably at the top of the Android device market with Samsung’s Galaxy S4. So let’s not rest on our laurels with it. When there’s a new version of Android pushed out to the AOSP, let’s work as hard and as fast as we can to bring Sense up to that latest version and get that update to users ASAP.

What about Sense UI?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who genuinely enjoy Sense, and that’s good for them. Instead of forcing everyone to use this memory-intensive, battery-eating, soul-destroying UI, let’s make it a choice.

First of all, let’s tone down Sense UI to a point where’s it’s still uniquely HTC, but also quicker to update and less dependant on HTC framework. I feel that’s a win for everyone.

As we’ve heard in the last few weeks, HTC are going to push out a version of the One running stock Android. Let’s capitalise on this even more. Let’s make, not only stock images, but a completely separate channel of updates available for stock ROMs on the One and future flagships. So if you want Sense UI, you can have it — the updates will be slower. But if you want to go the stock Android route, that’s fine too. We’ll make it as easy as possible for you to install an official stock ROM onto the device through HTCDev and then provide OTA updates promptly.

Best of both worlds is a win for everyone.

Future devices

Looking at what makes HTC great, you can’t go past the hardware design. Couple this with my proposed changes to the way HTC deals with software, and I think we’re onto a winner for the most part. For future devices HTC needs to look at the market and current-generation phones to see what worked, what didn’t, and where some new could be introduced that’s worthwhile — a skill that HTC have seemingly forgotten about in the last 2 or more generations.

We should have 3 devices across the board that we focus our energy into: 4-inch, 4.7 to 5-inch, and ~5.5-inch. Apple have the stranglehold on the lower sizes, so let’s not waste time there. We make premium products so we need premium-sized devices and the market has dictated that they are 4-inches or larger.

As for the update cycle on the hardware, I think it’s fair if we refresh our lineup every 18 months or at least 12 months. This time frame gives us room to look into R&D so that we have something worth showing off and making a spectacle of at launch. That way we’re not pulling the UltraPixel move and having a product that could be far better than what it is at launch.

What would YOU do?

That’s just my imagination at work. What I’d love to hear is what YOU would do with HTC if you had the power. Tear my suggestions apart, change them slightly or dramatically. How would you make HTC a sustainable business making phones everyone wants?

  • Nick Bryant

    Have to disagree with the no tablets philosophy. One thing that needs to be understood is that HTC actually have a big female following because of their premium design & build quality. My partner is extremely loyal to HTC, yet she hasn’t bought the One yet. Why? Too large. She wants a 4-4.3″ device, and also a 7″ Wi-Fi tablet to be used around the house for Google Books, Facebook, recipe apps, etc. The other thing they need is a good range of well-designed accessories that are readily available at places like JB Hi-Fi and the like. This means spending some money on in-store merchandising & branding. They do this properly, they will make as much money off the accessories as the phones.

  • span

    Take a big chunk of cash and start marketing properly. This is the biggest differentiator between HTC and the likes of Apple and Samsung. Those companies know how to market. Samsung is in the position it is in today mostly due to clever and very wide spread marketing.

    The general population used to think if you wanted a smartphone, you bought an Apple, with no real alternative. Now they think if you want a smartphone the choice is either Apple or Samsung. Samsung have successfully convinced the market that they are THE alternative to Apple iPhones. HTC need to crank up the marketing engine.

    I think HTC phones appeal more to the general user who doesn’t care about removable batteries and SD cards. They look and feel more expensive than Samsung phones and are a lot closer to the perceived premium look and feel of the iPhone.

  • Duncan_J

    Imagine a 5″HTC One. 5 with 32gb and an sd card running aosp.

  • Duncan_J

    I agree from android enthusiasts point of view. Quality over quantity. Have at least 1 device that is true top of the line with few comprises. Give the user choice of either stock or layered rom.

    Unfortunately we are the absolute minority. To make my point how many subscribers/ follower do we(you) have at ausdroid compare that to the number of people who “follow” say master chef or similar. (I’m not making any comments on the quality or otherwise of this production). I bet you they have you beaten 100:1.

    We UNFORTUNATELY do not represent the majority of the purchasing public, they do. They want iPhones and S devices because 1they are popular and 2they are advertised 10 ways to Sunday. They actually want (or think they do) the extra “features” of samsung or the curated ux of ios.

    So that doesn’t exclude your plans for product range but they are the target not us. What I would like to see is a major oem embrace the android enthusiast by launching stock android experience devices concurrently with consumer versions.

  • http://ausdroid.net/ James Finnigan

    Your bold, capitalised ‘YOU’ at the end there, Buzz, reminds me of the old ads for the HTC Hero. They were fantastic.

  • andrew

    Please apply for CEO Buzz. I’d scrap sense all together, fire all the sense devs which would free up some cash to spend more on marketing and allow for embarrasingly fast updates focus on hardware and and let Google do the software. Maybe they could release some of their sense stuff on Google Play and charge for it.

    • StuartM

      If they ditched Sense I probably wouldn’t have a reason to buy another HTC phone simply because it was HTC… Stock Android lacks the features of the custom UIs I have come to take for granted, and is pretty damn ugly to be brutally honest.

  • Blake

    Well they haven’t created any tablets and it hasn’t done them any good. Can’t make money by not creating anything….

    Stick to a max of 3 phones and 2-3 tablets….and do them well.

    • Sean Royce

      This so much, I hate when manufacturers release 10+ different models every year. The hardware differences in one year aren’t incredibly drastic that they should feel it necessary to release so many different models. Just look at the extravagant amounts of releases Samsung make.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ James Finnigan

        +All the internets, to the both of you. This is, without a doubt, the worst thing that HTC do.

      • Sean Royce

        Yeah, I don’t understand business tactics with these companies. It’d make things so much simpler, and updates wouldn’t be all over the place.