HTC to launch cheaper smartphones in 2014


Apart from launching the successor to its One smartphone, HTC is also planning to launch cheap smartphones in the $150-$300 range this year. With these smartphones, the company aims to regain some of the lost market share. “The problem with us last year was we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market,” said co-founder and Chairwoman Cher Wang, speaking to Reuters. HTC has lost 80 percent of its market value in the last two years and has reported two successive quarters of operating losses.

Wang has also said that HTC is working on smartwatches and getting its marketing right, in what seems to be a doomed strategy for the struggling smartphone maker. “The two cylinders are going to be fired together,” Chang said.

Late last year, HTC had tied up with second-tier chipset makers like Spreadtrum and Broadcom for its low-cost smartphones. However, rather than bringing the prices down, HTC chose to increase its margins and in the process took its Desire series smartphones out of the game by pricing them too high when compared to competing products.

BGR India has learned that HTC could get these cheaper smartphones manufactured from other ODMs, without any significant HTC-ness in the products. It would launch them at a relatively premium price expecting buyers to be willing to pay more for the brand name. It all boils down to how much value-add HTC can bring to the product without adding too much to the price.

This strategy could backfire, especially in the wake of a product like the Moto G. Having said that, HTC does not have many options in front of it. In all probability, 2014 would be the decisive year for HTC’s fate as a smartphone vendor. And from the looks of it, Chairman Wang has taken things into her own hand with CEO Peter Chou taking a back seat.

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