Our 2016 new year wishes for HTC
To say that 2015 has been a bad year for HTC is a massive understatement. Its flagship HTC One M9 was a disappointment when compared to the competition, the HTC Grip fitness tracker launch was scrapped and even the HTC Vive’s release date was pushed back until the second quarter of 2016. All this led to quarterly losses and a 45% plunge in the company’s value on the open market. While the company’s $1.3 billion USD cash reserve is still dwindling, there’s no evidence that HTC will be headed for extinction in 2016. If only a few of our wishes come true, 2016 could turn out to be a great year for HTC.
1. Build a true flagship phone
It goes without saying that in 2016, HTC needs to deliver an amazing smartphone. The reason HTC became a household name in the smartphone world was because it invented the category and delivered innovative advances each and every year. While the HTC One M9 was a good phone, it was a “me too” product, which came up short when consumers compared it to the competition. HTC’s 2016 flagship needs to be thinner, faster and sleeker than anything HTC has ever released. While we’re fans of the HTC One brand, it may be time to start fresh. That suggestion may be a show stopper for some long-time HTC fans, but HTC’s 2016 flagship phone needs to be the polar opposite of the One M9 if HTC wants it to succeed.
The One M10 and HTC Perfume rumors have yet to reveal much about the phone’s design or internal components, but we’re sure we’ll be getting new details on HTC’s 2016 flagship smartphone as we move into the new year.
We’re OK if HTC ditches the aluminum unibody and tried something completely different. It would allow HTC’s design team to start fresh, reducing the footprint of the device while also allowing for the inclusion of wireless charging. On the camera front, HTC needs to get its hands on some of the best Sony sensors money can buy and pair it with a best-in-class OIS setup. We’re not too worried about performance if HTC uses the Snapdragon 820 SoC from Qualcomm, but HTC does need to ensure that battery life of the phone exceeds consumer expectations.
To top things off, HTC needs to spend the money to find a marketing firm that can give the phone life. If HTC doesn’t spend millions on TV commercials, web banners, viral marketing, magazine ads and billboards to promote the new phone, HTC’s sales numbers will look even worse in 2016.
It’s nice knowing you can buy the latest HTC One phone from every US service provider, but it seems like HTC started losing its magic when it stopped producing unique phones for Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Phones like the Droid DNA and the EVO 4G LTE sold well because they were exclusive devices which were promoted by their respective service providers. This put HTC phone front and center every in nearly every service provider retails store across the US and in countless commercials.
HTC should still build a true flagship phone which promotes its own brand, but there’s no reason why they can’t also build a new EVO, Droid or myTouch.
HTC and Under Armour announced their partnership nearly one year ago during CES 2015. While things got started with the introduction of the Record fitness tracking app, the two companies have much bigger ambitions. The HTC Grip, which was announced at Mobile World Congress last spring, never made it to store shelves. HTC and Under Armour decided to pull it back and retool it so that it would fit better within a family of connected fitness-concentric devices.
In addition to an updated HTC Grip, we also know that they two companies are working on a smart scale to keep track of a user’s weight loss goals. But there could be more. HTC’s mentioned time and time again that they are working on a smartwatch and there’s always the possibility that we could see Bluetooth headphones or even a chest strap heart rate monitor.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what they release, as long as Under Armour takes the lead in marketing the products. We love HTC, but the company has failed time and time again on the marketing front. Under Armour is one of the most popular names in sporting apparel and knows exactly how to talk to its loyal customers. With Under Armour leading the charge, the HTC Grip could easily give FitBit a run for its money.
If you haven’t heard, virtual reality is going to be a big thing in 2016 with both HTC and Oculus planning to release their VR systems during the first half of the year. While the Oculus Rift has been is the public eye for a few years already, HTC stormed onto the VR playing field this year with the HTC Vive with a far superior product. In addition to tracking a user’s head movements in a virtual space, the HTC Vive and its controllers allow for full body tracking thanks to two laser tracking base stations. This gives Vive users the ability to walk around freely in a virtual environment.
The HTC Vive is being developed in partnership with Valve and will work with its Steam VR platform. Since Steam is the undisputed leader when it comes to delivering games to PC users, there’s no doubt that the HTC Vive will be in high demand once it goes on sale in April of next year. HTC is also partnering with auto manufacturers to allow for virtual test drives and we wouldn’t be surprised if schools, museums and other institutions invest heavily in virtual reality experiences using the HTC Vive.
That being said, the sales potential for the HTC Vive is actually quite limited. To use the Vive, you will need a high-end desktop computer which will cost you $1,200 to $1,500 and that’s not even counting the price of the Vive itself. You’ll also need at least a 5ft – 5ft open space to move around, which means you’ll likely have to move your computer from your room or office to your living room. The HTC Vive won’t be a huge money maker for HTC in 2016, but if Valve and HTC can get people to experience the Vive, it can only have a positive trickle-down effect for other HTC products.
Based on what we’ve seen from HTC over the years, there’s no reason why 2016 can’t be an amazing year for the company. Unfortunately, we’re still not sure how HTC’s internal restructuring and shuffle of senior executives will play out. With Peter Chou leading the HTC Future Development Lab and focusing solely on new product development, we finally might see a flagship device with some true innovation – something that’s been missing from HTC’s lineup since the HTC One M7.
But honestly, it all comes down to marketing. If HTC can somehow find a way to connect with consumers and truly show them that its build quality, software and and overall experience are better than what’s offered by the competition, 2016 may finally be the year that consumers walk into stores and ask for the HTC products by name.