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HTC’s Peter Chou Blames Poor Marketing for Company Struggles, Vows to Innovate

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It’s no secret that HTC has struggled mightily as a company since 2010, the year they claimed the Android crown. With Apple and Samsung dominating the smartphone world since, HTC has attempted to create innovative products that will turn things back around, but thus far have failed to do so. Even with well-received phones like the One X and DNA in 2012, something has been missing. According to HTC CEO Peter Chou, his company failed to market their products correctly. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chou vowed to win consumers back by developing more innovative products, but also to do more on the marketing front. He admitted that his competitors (Samsung and Apple) were too strong and resourceful, “pouring lots of money into marketing.” While they may not have the kind of money that Samsung and Apple have to win the marketing battle, he also hopes that unique products will help make up the difference. Chou mentioned that one thing he learned from last year is to “act fast and be responsive to market changes.”

What worries me is the fact that HTC has been fairly innovative, and even tossed what seemed like a massive budget at their One Series ads. The One X blew every other phone out of the water when it was announced, with its best-in-class HD display, slim uni-body design, and powerful processor. The DNA also launched with a first for the industry – a 1080p display. Still, HTC has struggled, though their numbers did begin to climb again in Q3.

For the sake of the industry, I hope HTC can figure out a way to carve out a decent niche in the smartphone world again. The last thing we want to see is a decade-long battle between Samsung and Apple, with competitors dropping like flies. We love choices.

Via:  WSJ

  • PseudoK

    Always stayed away from HTC because of the Sense skin. Maybe that’s just me…

  • Kheir Francis

    I think that they should have more products to choose from, that would be a good step in the right direction. Laptops, TV’s, Computers PC, things that the average consumer needs other than cell phone. Get more young developers, change the UI, make it more fun for the consumer.make more long lasting phones as well. I’m a Loyal HTC fan, but I would like to see something hot innovative and has endless updates along with kick a** hardware, when its time for me to upgrade.

  • Destroythanet

    Extra batteries that I can just pop in and expandable memory through microSD cards have been an advantage for me time and time again with most Android phones I’ve owned. It will really, really suck if the day comes when Android phones are just like the iPhone (and now HTC phones) and have non-removable batteries and non-expandable memory.

  • Xenu

    1. Drop Sense. It’s ugly and a large part of the difficulty with the next problem…
    2. Updates. Do them. If Verizon drags their feet, then “leak” it.
    3. Batteries. Never sell a phone without a non-removable one. My Rezound has already killed its stock battery and an extended, with the batteries lasting 2 and 4 hours on a full charge, respectively. If I couldn’t swap them out, then my phone would be a brick. Also, people travel, camp, go to festivals, etc where they can’t be tethered to an outlet, so they need backups, especially since your phones always have abysmal battery life under even the best of circumstances.

    • Xenu

      *with a non-removable one

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    They are wasting money, at least in the US, on promoting a phone that is available to limited number of people only. Only AT&T sells the One X. Let’s face it. HTC is not Apple, very few people will switch to HTC just to use the One X. On top of that, we all know that AT&T’s user base is very heavy in iPhone users. As for the DNA, I bet 8 out of 10 people won’t notice that it’s from HTC — they just know it’s a Droid phone.

  • http://goo.gl/oBLge Charlie Onassis

    Delayed Android updates, Locked boot loaders and Sense screwed HTC

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CZJQEHFUYXR46L2SYAFY3WRLQM Ennifer Connelly

    Ah, we have a title change. The original title of this post was “Skitch for Android Sees Big Update for Android.”!

    http://www.youtube.com.qr.net/j38Z/watch?v=zaTzrwx6dNM

  • Tony Perez

    While they may not be able to create every handset to be have the Nexus designation, they should focus on their outstanding hardware. Then release them with stock versions of Android tailored for the hardware in each handsets and that’s it. No Sense. However, there are great HTC apps that have been part of recent releases of Sense so HTC can either provide them for free or even charge a nominal fee for them. For example, if people want a Sense launcher, they can choose is as an option. Keeping the Sense overlay will show the public how fantastic HTC handsets truly are. Then MARKET THE HECK OUT OF THE CONCEPT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rahul-Nirmal/37517471 Rahul Nirmal

    I won’t buy HTC products because of their trend of moving towards non-removable batteries and non-expandable storage. If I wanted an iPhone, I would have gotten one!

    This is why I stick with and support Samsung!

  • DroidDoesnt_2

    Just pul a Scamsung and more closely knock off Apple. I mean, it’s no coincidence that the most blatant Apple-wannabe is the top Android seller ;-)

    • Manny

      Checked your comment history, confirmed for Apple fanboy. Serious question; does the S3 look like the iPhone to you?

      ENJOY YOUR APP DRAWER, SON.

    • Anon

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  • harry

    I remember this guy was going on about defragging their product lineups last year, blaming poor sales on things like having a Desire HD, Desire S, Desire Z, Wildfire S, Chacha, Sensation, Sensation XE, Evo, Incredible… etc, and confusing customers.

    So they did the One series. The X, the S and the V. Then the multiple One Xs, the XL, the X+, the Butterfly J, the Droid DNA, the Desire C…

    I don’f listen to anything this guy says anymore.

  • turb0wned

    Stop only releasing the One X on at&t stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716789798 Lonnie Kerchief

    How long did it take them to even get a commercial out that stated the DNA was a 1080P phone? That should have been in commercials before the phone even launched. People just love the sound of “Full HD” and throw money at it.

  • coolsilver

    Thunderbolt you idiot. Think about it.

  • JeffColorado

    I have an HTC Rezound, and I love it. But the only way I am ever buying another one is if it has Vanilla Android on it. I have had enough of Sense (and all vendor UIs in general).

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.bittner.56 Jason Bittner

    My Thunderbolt is still here yelling at me to never trust HTC again! And i wont!

    • Chris

      I agree!! I will never get a HTC Device again, because there updates are never on time!

  • Mchl496

    How about the fact that your phones are lacking sd card slots and expandable batteries and timely updates.

  • Teng Taing

    How about putting in a longer lasting battery… (im looking at you DNA)

    • LionStone

      You mean like this? Stock dna, 4G all day, nothing turned off :-)

  • kellygh5

    I’m a woman w/ small hands & 3 kids who play on my phone. At this point, I’d go w/ any company who can produce a top-tier phone w/ a good camera, battery, and is not so darn big!! There is nothing on the market or horizon for me.

    • Butters619

      Razr M. Although the camera isn’t the greatest, but it’s not complete garbage either.

    • LionStone

      Same as my gf (two kids though)..I got her the Inc4G and they’re lovin it :-) I also got her a small Jawbone music box and wireless LG Tones headphones :-)

    • Anon

      As Butters619 said, the Razr M is a good choice. Though personally, I’d get something else for your kids to play on and get the phone you want, be it a (used) deactivated smartphone with Wifi, an iPod Touch, or something else that uses Wifi without using your data plan, and keeps your phone safe for you.

  • lesprince

    I wish everyone would get off the 16G internal limit with no external storage options and stop with the non-removable batteries. I use Google Music and Audible and if I download all my content to my phone so I don’t burn thru my data streaming them, I can’t fit all my content on the 16G internal storage without running out of space. I wish they would move up to at least a 32G internal storage. I have the Note2 and still have yet to find a way to move my Google Music and Audible E-books over to my sd card. Luckily I still have unlimited data but once that’s gone that will be a big problem for me and I am sure for others. Sometimes I think the manufactures are working with the carriers to help them sell more data.

  • Philip Van Luke

    Thunderbolt… not one but two of them.
    1. So I could video chat with my wife – (NO VIDEO CHAT PROGRAMS WORKED ON THE PHONE)
    2. Lock in unlimited 4G before it went away. (VERIZON EXTENDED THIS TO EXISTING UNLIMITED CUSTOMERS FOR A FURTHER YEAR)
    3. Still no ICS after they said we would have it months ago.
    Basically I got screwed on this phone both ways, and the batterly life sucked, and i was on a two year contract. I ended up buying a new Galaxy Nexus on craigslist, and have never looked back. I picked up a DNA at my local VZW shop to check out the screen, and it just felt like holding a thunderbolt again and I turned and walked away.

    • bogy25

      First 4G LTE Phone – bet you liked that when you first got the TBolt….and there was service for you to connect to lol

    • LionStone

      Yours were messed up then, Skype works perfectly on my TB. If you think the dna feels anything like the TB, then you must have an agenda.

      • http://twitter.com/samari711 samari711

        It didn’t work until TB finally got the GB update months after the phone released. (and months after promised)

  • Brent Cooper

    I cant stand htc sense. I tried to play with the dna in the verizon store and as great as the phone is, I couldnt stand the software. I hope they bring some software innovations to compete with soon

    • bogy25

      It’s not that bad – geeze – I have the Razr now and in some ways miss Sense….you make it sound like it cripples the phone lol

      • JeffColorado

        Yes, it is that bad. It is like an itch that never goes away no matter how raw your skin is from scratching.
        Sense is the reason my Rezound will never get Jellybean. There is nothing of value it adds to the phone. Fuсk Sense. Seriously.

        • Imitation

          At least we have devs that are able to get Jellybean for us. :D

  • rueben pena

    My DNA is bad ass

  • romma

    Incredible 2!!

  • Butters619

    Just stop making 22 million phones a year. This will lower R&D cost, provide more money per device for marketing, increase software turn around time, reduce manufacturing cost, and provide a consistent brand defining product.

    • Pedro

      Whoa! We’re talking HTC, not Motorola.

      • Butters619

        HTC makes far more phones than Motorola. And Motorola is definitely changing that pattern. They just had to make it through the last few releases of the old management.

  • DMBatCOFC

    I don’t think poor marketing has anything to do with it. I think it has to do with all of the lackluster products they’ve released.

  • mustbepbs

    Where have we heard this before?

  • http://twitter.com/davidbavin David Bavin

    How about you update sense, actually have a good track record of updating previous devices, not limit 16GB of storage and offer no SD Card slot, and THINK.

  • LeoG

    One thing. Open up your hw libraries and drivers and give it back to developers for building alternative ROMs. That is why Samsung is popular. Everything they do they open source it.

    • romma

      Here Here! or is it Hear Hear!

    • Butters619

      I could have sworn that a lot of Devs said they would no longer do work for any phone with an Exynos because Samsung doesn’t release everything (mostly proper documentation)

    • zionlion

      Honestly, that’s not the reason. That’s why samsung is popular with the dev crowd and people on sites like this. Average users, that make a company successful or not successful, dont know what a rom, hw library, or open source means. You know? Samsung is now a household name. HTC is not. That’s their problem. No snarky-ness meant here, just mentioning that I think all of us here think of ourselves as the masses too often. We’re really the 1%’ers. And features like what you mention, have no bearing on sales in a meaningful way for the 99%.

      • http://twitter.com/InF1uxx Austin Schulz

        I agree with you that what appeals to the crowd that modify their phone and the average consumers are different, but you also need to consider that many consumers ask the more tech savvy users on what to buy. Anyone that has come to me in the last few months and asked me what phone to get I told them a Samsung Galaxy S3 because of the speed and lower price. So while we are the minority our opinions do make a difference to the majority, but as you said there are other factors in Samsung’s success, like the brand name.

  • Roshan John

    HTC makes excellently designed devices, but somehow always decides to skimp on battery. And also has pretty slow updates.
    I want to love them so much, but ever since the Thunderbolt, I can’t reconcile any of the new devices with such poor battery sizes.

  • owan

    drop sense, deliver updates. Problem solved. I liked Sense back in the froyo days but these days it breaks basic OS functionality, reduces performance, and delays updates. Its time to give it up

    • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

      I think they are going to pull a Motorola and do a skinned version of stock with their signature widgets. Less work on their end, they still have their big, readily identifiable clock widget, and faster/less costly updates.

  • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

    While marketing is part of the problem, their biggest issue is a lack of a clear brand identity. The letters “htc” simply aren’t known, and a big part of me hopes they keep the One branding, as that at least has some small amount of mindshare in the public. They just need to expand that branding to their entire product line in 2013. I can understand why they would keep their CDMA devices outside that umbrella, but it still hurts their image to a point. They have the technology, they have the interesting devices, the only thing they need now is to get devices into consumer’s hands, so they can start rebuilding some brand loyalty.

    • owan

      I think they even screwed up their attempt at branding. “One” is such a bland meaningless name. At least “Galaxy” stands out when you use it in coversation. Compare: “I got the new One phone” to “I got the new Galaxy phone”. HTC’s version sounds like the opening to a “whos on first” gag, its weak, its bland. They’re also hamstrung by the fact that they don’t have the clout to put their devices under the same umbrella on all carriers ala Galaxy S3. I don’t think they’re attempting to keep their CDMA devices outside the One umbrella (if so they’re incredibly stupid), I think they have to kowtow to Verizon, who are demanding differentiated versions. I would have been seriously interested in a HTC One on VZW, but it doesn’t exist. Instead we get watered down garbage with lame “funky” designs and stupid names like Rezound.

      • LionStone

        I’m very glad that VZW did NOT offer the One X, otherwise I’d have gotten that and missed out on the DNA :-)

        • michael arazan

          .I love the hardware specs for the DNA other than the minimal storage. I just think HTC should just once make a great phone like the DNA and then just run vanilla android like a nexus phone. They won’t have to do much of anything for updates being pure android and saving time and money letting Google do the regular updates. They don’t have to use the Nexus name if they don’t want too or don’t have G’s permission, and they can call it the HTC Pure, for a pure android experience. I bet it would sell very well since no other OEM puts out a dedicated vanilla android device yearly as part of their line up. And anything special they want to add on can be done so as an app, and if its a successful app can charge .99 in the play store for other devices to get it and make more money off their own software.

      • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

        The whole reason to keep their CDMA devices outside their personal branding is because it actually helps prevent some confusion. CDMA is a proprietary network only used by a very limited number of carriers worldwide. If you do make your branding ubiquitous (like the Galaxy S III), you run the risk of people being rather unhappy when their device (purchased on network X) won’t work on network Y, even though network Y sells the Galaxy S III as well. And explaining that the radio setup in the two phones is different usually elicits the response: if its different, then why does it have the same name? Its a difficult balance to acheive, and I think it’s Samsung’s size that allows them to dissipate those complaints, whereas HTC would have a much more difficult time handling it. Just my view on the matter, and at the end of the day, I agree that Verizon only gets the occasional great HTC device (Incredible, Incredible 2, DNA), none of which help them grow their brand.

  • hamneck

    Marketing Smarketing. When you abandon your user base (Thunderbolt still doesn’t have ICS), you lose customers. I left, and I ain’t going back.

    • JoshGroff

      A single core phone with 768 MB of RAM would have a hell of a problem running skinned ICS. You people just sit here and cry without thinking there could be a reason they abandoned the update.

      • hamneck

        if there is a reason and they can’t do it, they should just announce it. As it stands, though, they keep announcing that they will be releasing ICS, then keep pushing the date back. I’d be fine with them owning up to if they can’t do it. I’m not okay with the failed promises, though.

        • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

          They are obviously still trying, hence why they keep saying it’s coming. If they haven’t given up on it yet, there’s no reason for them to tell people otherwise.

          • hamneck

            I was commenting on JoshGroff. Either it can’t be done (as Josh claims) in which case, they should own up to it. Or, it can, and it’s taking them freaking forever. By the time it finally comes out, no one will own the phone anymore.

            They gained me as a customer by innovating. They had the first LTE phone, and it wasn’t half bad. At the time, i’d say it was the best phone available. That only lasts so long, though. If you don’t support the technology and continue to innovate, you’ll get passed by the competition. Just ask RIM.

            If i have the choice between a company that appears to sell me a product then will abandon me, or a competitor which has a track record of supporting their products, i’ll choose the latter.

          • David Button

            The ICS Thunderbolt farce has just reinforced that if its not a Nexus I don’t want it.

          • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

            I’m certainly not disagreeing with you on that front. I just don’t give up hope for those who can’t get a new device until the company gives up, ya know? And HTC actually does fairly well at supporting their devices, most getting 2-3 version updates. They are just horribly, terribly slow at it, due to a complex framework/custom ui (Sense UI), and a proliferation of devices. Based on this announcement, hopefully at least one of those issues is getting nipped.

      • Anon

        Then the real lesson here is that vendors like HTC shouldn’t promise things they cannot deliver. How many would be crying if HTC never promised ICS to Thunderbolt owners?

        • LionStone

          I think the real lesson here is don’t get so emotionally attached to what phone manufacturers say as “promises”.

      • jeesung

        i have the ICS leak on my TB and it runs pretty smoothly. have you tried it?

  • Crazyferris

    I picked up the HTC One X+ a couple of weeks ago and I can’t say that I hav ebeen happier with a phone. I love this Andoid phone.

    • Butters619

      HTC releases good phones, but they just release far too many and they release them too quickly. It pisses off customers who have only had their phones for 3 months when the new one is announced and it makes getting updates out infinitely harder.

      • Chris

        It would be great if they allowed costumers with the original One X to get the One X+ for free or heavily discounted. I hate the no sd card slot and no removable battery way they are going, but if they release phones with 64 GB (or even 32) as the standard, and at least 2500 mAh batteries, I will be okay with it.

        • Butters619

          I love my One X. It’s a great phone. But that 64GB thing absolutely infuriates me. They purposely shorted the One X knowing they had a product in their pipeline that overcame the glaring shortcoming. The could have at least offered a 32GB version for more money and I would have been fine with that.

          The larger battery and quad core upgrade don’t even bug me that much, but that storage just makes me want to punch Chou square in the face.

      • ken sudding

        If, by too many, you mean models, I agree. I cannot quite comprehend the necessity of such a broad range of models in the HTC family. It is nightmarish for prospective buyers to make selection, even more so for the marketers and retailers to promote HTC devices. This from a South African perspective, where HTC is almost frowned upon. Quite disappointing.

  • ek3

    only time i will even consider an HTC is if they have a removable battery in which they never do now.

  • Chris Hollenbeck

    HTC Thunderbolt
    Never forget, never forgive.

    • JoshGroff

      Droid Charge, Bionic. You guys are really stung over one device but too blind to see other devices from other OEMs that were just as bad.

      • hamneck

        At least the Bionic got ICS (and some interesting accessories . . . webtop (even though it was crappy). Charge was just as much of a piece, though. Good call on that one

        • ajjaeger

          Anyone with a Bionic that is still complaining is not exploring alternatives. The Bionic is still a pretty good device. I’m running CM10 (4.1.2) on my Bionic very smoothly. It feels like a brand new phone.

          • normmcgarry

            The Bionic’s crappy screen drove me crazy, but it was a good device. The ROMs always had dealbreaker bugs in them until a leak was released though.

      • Mchl496

        Sorry about the Thunderbolt was the first one out the gate… and the flagship phone. It was set for higher heights… and had the biggest fall. If you were stupid enough to get a droid bionic after a 8 month push back for problems… well either you have no clue about phones or you deserve what you got.

        • JoshGroff

          May I remind you new tech usually does have problems, I didn’t see anyone stop being a Microsoft fanboy because of red rings, so why hate HTC over the thunderbolt?

          • Mchl496

            New tech? Isn’t the HTC Thunderbolt just an EVO with 4g? There were way too many bugs not related to 4g. I hate HTC over the thunderbolt because it would be like Microsoft being super slow to look into or fix the red rings problem.

          • jeesung

            Microsoft has fanboys?!?

          • BroRob

            I did. I’ve only replaced 1 PS3 since launch. Most of my friends are on their 4th and 5th XBOXs.

          • JoshGroff

            Same here, but my other friends still insist Xbox is better after replacing them 3+ times each.

        • coolsilver

          Yea you deserved another POS that just finally got ICS as well. -_- I love my thunderbolt just not how it was handled by Verizon or HTC

          • Mchl496

            Lol well I love my galaxy s3… so glad I dropped the HTC thunderbolt like a bad habit. The build quality of the thunderbolt as great… loved the kick stand… they just needed to up their game. The back speaker was terrible. That thing should have boomed… yet it was often too quiet in a noisy room. Oh and those random reboots which would take like 15-20 mins to finally turn back on… HTC would have to bring the heat more then the One X or One XL if they want me back. Im talking about a phone that was SUPER premium in every way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jason.bittner.56 Jason Bittner

        This entire post was about HTC, so yes…. people posting here will be talking about HTC phones….

      • Big_EZ

        I had 7 thunderbolts, they had crappy software and hardware, and are still bad to this day. I replaced it with a Bionic because I wouldn’t own a Samsung due to past experiences, and other than 3g-4g switching problems the first few weeks I had it it wasn’t a bad phone. I now have a Samsung Note 2 and it has redeemed Samsung from the previous crappy Samsung phones I had

    • bogy25

      I still use mine – I have the Razr Maxx HD now but I kept my TBolt for around the house on WiFi, games and whatnot – it was not the greatest phone but it was the first 4G LTE device and a lot has changed since it was released. HTC has some great phones so come on man….Rezound, One X, One X+, DNA,…..

    • Chris

      Got the original Droid Incredible in November 2010. Bought the Thunderbolt on Craiglist in Feburary 2012. It came with an extended battery (my first one ever) and I loved that phone. I was rooted and ran a stock ROM, and had no issues. The battery was great, the phone was a good size, it was fast for me, and I loved the screen. I just don’t understand why people are complaining so much about that phone.

      • Yep

        You obviously haven’t followed the ICS debacle. It was announced by HTC as being out by 8/31/12. Here we are in Jan 2013 and still no release, just a recent twitter post saying “soon”.

        I’ve gone through 5 TBolts, all with crazy electrical issues. I’m willing to give it a pass for bring 1st CDMA/LTE, but you will never convince me it’s well built. I don’t abuse my phones, and there’s no excuse for needing a phone replaced 5 times.

        • Chris

          Sure I have. I got it back in February.
          I know that they said they hoped to have it by the end of August, and that they didn’t get it out. And still don’t have it out. I also understand a big part of the reason most likely deals with Verizon and they probably are telling HTC it isn’t a big concern because it is a device not for sale anymore. I get HTC probably has a part in it for not being ready, but I think it’s unfair for people to never ever get another HTC device because of that one problem.

          I never had to get the phone replaced. It never had problems. And I wasn’t the first owner. I bought the phone from a random guy who had used it since it first came out in 2011. So idk what was wrong with yours but I never had those problems :O

  • normmcgarry

    Updates. That’s what is missing.

    • Josh Flowers

      agreed.
      blacming marketing is like saying The Thunderbolt’s battery would’ve not been reviewed as crap worked if people knew it upfront.

      • JoshGroff

        It was the first CDMA/LTE device, give them a break.

        • normmcgarry

          I personally didn’t care about the battery life. But building a flagship device and leaving it at 2.3 with lots of bugs doesn’t deserve a break.

          • D.B.Evans

            According to a 3rd party review a month or two ago, HTC was one of the fastest manufacturers to get updates to phones; although Verizon was rated as the slowest carrier to deliver updates – and I blame Verizon, not HTC for the ICS delay (which, at this point, is a joke with how long JB has been out) – although, if the still promised ICS ever is released, it’ll be more than the Charge will ever get (which came out at the same time, and is still on 2.3.6).

            I also never saw the bugs that others claim to have experienced. For me, the biggest failure in the TB was the battery size. Sure, there are ways to work around it, but it’s inconvenient at best. I understand that 1st gen LTE was a power hog; but that’s not an excuse for putting an under-sized battery in the device – if anything, that should have been seen as a reason to design around a larger battery – and not to have gone with one of the smallest batteries they’ve ever done in a smartphone.

          • Chris

            I agree with you. I feel it’s just unfair to completely blame it on HTC. They’ve stated countless times they are working and trying. And didn’t they accidentally release the update details way back in like April or something? I feel most of this slow down with the TB was because of Verizon.

          • Butters619

            Just throwing it out there, but the AT&T One X still does not have an official JB build and that was their flagship. I moved on to CM10 a while ago, but I would just like to note that.

    • jg1000

      Exaaaactly.

    • EatUrCrap

      I doubt that’s what the average consumer cares about though.