Earlier this week we summed up 2012 for Samsung and Apple, and things were largely mostly kinda positive for those guys. Well, makes sense, since they’re the top two global smartphone manufacturers by miles and miles.
Now it’s time – sorry – to go all doom and gloom, thanks to Taiwanese manufacturer HTC and its frankly godawful 2012.
Where did it all go wrong for HTC? It was once the darling of the Android world circa the HTC Desire and HTC Desire HD in 2010. I guess Samsung should take at least some of the blame, with its utter Android dominance.
Let’s peruse more closely, starting with last year…
It’s perhaps fair to say that the HTC backlash kicked at off Mobile World Congress 2011. Its showing was yawn-inducing, with the HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S and HTC Wildfire S, and not forgetting the unofficial “Facebook phones” – the HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha.
There was also the 7in HTC Flyer tablet, which initially proved interesting, but ultimately failed to take off (pun intended).
Indeed, HTC's UK boss Phil Roberson conceded: “We ended 2011 with far more products than we started out with. We tried to do too much,” suggesting that less is more would be the strategy in 2012.
By the time we welcomed 2012, Samsung was well and truly asserting its presence in the Android world, largely thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S II.
And it speaks volumes that the big story at Mobile World Congress 2012 was the Samsung Galaxy S III not showing up, which put a strange downer on things.
While the quad-core HTC One X was generally well-received, there was a prevailing feeling among thinkier smartphone fans that it’d make sense (pun intended) to wait and see what Samsung had to offer. And we all know how that story goes...
On a more positive note, a couple of months ago HTC unveiled the 5in 1080p J Butterfly in Japan. It materialised in the states as the Droid DNA, while we’re still waiting for confirmation that the global HTC Butterfly is destined for the UK. It's all very strange.
Continuing the strange train of thought, we’ve been hearing this week that HTC canned plans for a 5in Windows Phone 8 device on account of hardware limitations, though something doesn’t quite add up (see comments).
As it is, HTC’s Windows Phone 8 arsenal is comprised of just the 8X and 8S for now, though there’s vaguely interesting talk of HTC supplanting Nokia as Microsoft’s favourite Windows Phone 8 partner (Bloomberg).
While that all sounds clear enough for the most part (question mark over the HTC Butterfly aside), and is ultimately more palatable than 2011, HTC continues to perform quite terribly.
According to IDC estimates, HTC’s Q3 2011 smartphone market share was a decent 10.3% (third place), slipping to just 4% (sixth place) in the same quarter this year. Eek.
Earlier this week we heard that HTC has supposedly lowered its expectations for Q1 2013 – thanks to cheap Chinese handsets, bloody Apple and bloomin’ Samsung, and lower-than-expected Windows Phone sales.
And the rumour mill predicts even fewer HTC handsets next year, if such a thing is possible.
How depressing. Anyone know any good jokes?