HTC plans some cheaper phones to better compete with Samsung

htc mid range smartphones planned gold one

Check out our review of the HTC One M8 smartphone.

Last week, HTC said it was relying on two future products to turn the company’s fortunes around, a smartwatch which should arrive at the end of the year, plus the HTC M8 Android flagship smartphone, apparently set for announcement in March. However, in a subsequent interview with Reuters, HTC executives said the company also needs to sell more mid-range devices, indicating we’re about to see a complete revamp of its smartphone range.

HTC chairperson Cher Wang explains the problem, saying it missed out on “a chunk of the mid-tier market” in 2013 due to focusing efforts on the HTC One and its spin-off, the HTC One Max. This year, the intention is to produce and sell more smartphones which cost less than half of the One – between $150 and $300 SIM-free – everywhere around the world, not just in emerging markets.

The idea behind this is that cheaper phones means higher sales, at least according to HTC executives quoted in the article, which will pave the way to more profitability. This change in tactics comes with HTC’s financial report for the end of 2013, where revenue figures showed a 28 percent drop over the same period in 2012, and a minus 3.7 percent loss in operating margin.

However, to convert these new, and as-yet unseen, cheaper phones into more sales, HTC knows it has to improve its marketing efforts. HTC’s Peter Chou says that after launching the M8 and “a compelling mid-range portfolio,” it’s “going to communicate better with consumers.” We’ve heard this before, and the result was the baffling (if not entertaining) Here’s to Change promo campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr.

If HTC’s Chief Financial Officer Chialin Chang is correct, we should see the first of these enhanced mid-range devices launch around the same time as the HTC M8. He says “the two cylinders are going to be fired together,” and invitations to HTC’s flagship phone launch event will begin to circulate in around two weeks time. This means we won’t be seeing the M8 during Mobile World Congress, but we may see its lower-range cousins. MWC 2014 begins on February 24.

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