If reports from DitiTimes are to be believed, HTC has plans in place to release their first non-smartphone by the end of 2009. HTC started their business as a simply OEM for Windows Mobile phones. Over the past two years, they have transformed themselves into a leading brand and dominating the Windows Mobile marketplace and they are currently the only manufacturer to release an Android phone.
Though there are incredible profit margins in producing smartphones, HTC is missing out on a whole lot of money that’s up for grabs in the feature phone segment. HTC’s feature phones will most likely be based on Qualcomm’s BREW Mobile Platform (BREW MP), which allows in depth Flash integration.
Over the past couple years, HTC’s revenue and profits have increased by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately for HTC, Q1 of 2009 has taken a hit. HTC’s net profits came in at NT$4.89 billion ($148 million), down from NT$6.94 billion ($210 million) for the same quarter in 2008. HTC is not blaming the global economic downturn for the 30% drop in profits, but did note that the numbers could have been higher is they had not missed a few product shipping deadlines. HTC did beat most analysts estimates which predicted that profits for the quarter would come in at about NT$4.64 billion ($140 million). Check out the pull press release here (warning – pdf file)
With Q1 behind them, I’m sure HTC is looking forward to an incredible Q2. HTC is about ready to release the Touch Diamond2, the Touch Pro2, the Snap, and the Android powered HTC Magic. Lets just see what happens.
Some leaked PowerPoint presentations have made their way onto the web which show Sprint’s smartphone plans for the next few months. You’ll notice that They were just able to squeeze in the HTC made Palm Treo Pro for Q1, but Q2 and Q3 also have some HTC goodness in the works. Sprint is planning on releasing the HTC Willow which will feature a full front QWERTY keyboard and most likely will be shipping with WM 6.1 standard. Before Q3 is over, Sprint will release the HTC Rhodium which seems to resemble the HTC Touch Pro2 quite a bit.
This past weekend, HTC was dealt a huge blow, which could impede them from selling the HTC Magic (HTC’s second Android powered phone) and any other handset. A German court just ruled that Qualcomm chipset used by HTC infringed on patents owned IP-com related to 3G radio technologies that allow HTC phones to connect to the internet. HTC is said to be working with Qualcomm to identity an alternative solution. In the mean time, HTC plans to appeal the court ruling which may buy them some time an allow them to launch the HTC Magic in Germany in April.
Ok, maybe we didn’t really miss all these details, but simply mentioned them in passing. We went through HTC’s press event again from last week and thought we’d share what came to light the second time through.
Push Internet: HTC announced that they will be offering push internet service with the Touch Diamond2 and the Touch Pro2. We are all familiar with push e-mail and how that works, but push internet is a new concept on cell phones. There’s nothing revolutionary about how it works. Once you set the web pages you want to have pushed to your device, the web browser will download that page at a designated time. Later, when you open your browser, you simply pull up the page and it loads instantly from cache. A great use for this is setting up all your favorite news, blogs, or other sites to be pushed 10 minutes before you wake up in the morning. When your alarm goes off, your favorite sites will be waiting for you rather than you waiting for them to load. The concept and implementation is pretty simple. We’re just surprised that no one has thought of this before.
People Centric Communication: HTC phones allow users to communicate with people in a variety of different ways. We send e-mails text messages, and make calls, but we always have to navigate to different apps to do so. Communicating this way isn’t hard, but finding and sorting through them can be complicated. HTC’s new people centric communication solution now integrates all your communications with your contacts. Simply navigate to your contact and you can easily access all the e-mail, calls, or text messages between you and that contact. Imagine being on the phone with someone and they ask you if you got their e-mail. In the past you would need to hit the start button and open your e-mail client. Once that was done, you would need to navigate though all your e-mails to find the right one. Now, while on a call you will see buttons on the bottom of the screen that can easily sort through all the communications from that person. This new feature is very similar to Synergy on the Palm Pre’s new Web OS. It is very intuitive and should make you and your smartphone just a little smarter.
We were expecting to wait till the GSMA Mobile World Conference next month before we heard any real news about HTC’s upcoming new handsets, but someone on the inside either slipped up or decided to make every tech bloggers day. We have what appears to be a list of al the upcoming HTC phones for the entire year. A total of 25 different handsets. Unfortunately we do not have full specs on any of them, but pictures are a lot better than names by themselves. Unfortunately, we only have confirmation that one of the handsets, the HTC Hero, will be powered by Android. Everything else o nthe list should be shipping with WM 6.1 or WM 6.5 if it ever makes it to market.
Follow the link for the all inclusive "leaked HTC list" of their upcoming phones and their pictures.
Fourth quarter numbers are in for HTC, but things arn’t as good as we had hoped. With stronger than forecast sales of the T-Mobile G1, we had expected HTC to post a very strong Q4, but analysts and the numbers chose not to agree with us. Analysts had predicted NT$7.78 billion in earnings for Q4, but HTC was able to beat those numbers by posting NT$8.14 billion in profits, net profit fell 19% from a year earlier. Revenue for the year rose 29% to NT$152.56 billion from NT$118.58 billion. HTC attributed the weak Q4 to a change in accounting practices and a new law that went info effect early last year which requited them to adjust employee bonuses every quarter. HTC said their net profit for Q4 would have been NT$9.81 without these adjustments.
The one thing to note in all this is that HTC finished the year with a 29% increase in revenue. We don’t have details on all their handset sale figures, but we know that the HTC G1, Diamond, and Touch Pro variants have sold really well. HTC is planning on ramping up production of several new phones over the next few months and I’d imagine they will launch 2-3 Android powered handsets in 2009. Lets just hope the numbers for 2009 turn out just as good.