HTC 11: top spot or big flop?

HTC 11: top spot or big flop?

It’s no secret that HTC has had more than its fair share of problems in recent months. There was a time when it was a major part of the smartosphere, but that era is now gone forever. Today, the company is struggling to attract buyers for its devices. Will its new flagship, the HTC 11, be able to turn things around? It’s possible, but not very likely.

The HTC 11 will be a decent smartphone…

Should HTC go for a high price and hope to sell enough devices to reach its goals? Or, should it lower its prices and rely on its ability to attract more buyers? When finances are looking more than a little shaky, these are the sort of questions HTC should be asking itself. Additionally, a few of the rats have already fled the sinking ship: one of the company's vice presidents has since moved to Google.

All these decisions are a gamble on the future, but the plain fact of life in the smartphone market is relatively straightforward: a device will not sell if it isn't at least on the same level as its competitors.

The most daring of manufacturers try to be original, such as what we have seen with LG when it released the G5. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t always pay off. Will HTC try to be original with the HTC 11? It’s not very likely as this could ultimately prove to be an expensive risk, which is something the company is not in a position to accommodate. It’s possible that HTC will change its design and perhaps opt for curved edges like Samsung who, according to the most recent rumors, could feature this technology on its two new flagship models.

The screen will obviously be QHD definition because HTC won’t want to let down VR (virtual reality) fans out there. It’s true that the VR market still isn’t fully developed, but if the manufacturer doesn’t show an interest now users could turn to another brand that is already working on this technology. Seeing as new features are being discussed, it's also worth mentioning the artificial interface concept that has become very trendy since Google introduced their Assistant. HTC has developed its own digital assistant, the Sense Companion, which is available on the HTC U Play and the HTC U Ultra, but we haven’t been able to look into it yet in any detail.

AndroidPIT htc u ultra 3978
Sense Companion uses the second HTC U Ultra to display information. / © NextPit

Perhaps you think that a device's true strength lies in its performance. The main problem here is that, if the HTC 11 is released at MWC (and everyone is thinking it will be), it will not be using Snapdragon 835 as Samsung has exclusive rights to this processor. In other words, HTC would need to use a Snapdragon 821 processor (or come to an agreement with Huawei or Samsung?). Even if it is optimized in the best way possible, and even by cheating the benchmarks like other manufacturers have done, it will be difficult to achieve the performance of the Snapdragon 835.

The camera and the battery life will also need to be of good quality, just like every other flagship device. In short, HTC will need to present a good smartphone that doesn’t stray too far from its already well-trodden path (it can’t afford to fail).

...but this isn’t enough for it to sell

If you regularly read websites that specialize in smartphones, you'll probably have already seen that each manufacturer has its own community of fans. How many of us don’t even bother to think when upgrading our smartphones and automatically select a device from our favorite brand? For others, the choice is more complicated: as it’s not about the manufacturer, it’s about the interface: Stock Android (Nexus, Pixel, Moto, etc.), EMUI (Huawei, Honor), etc. Of course, there are also those who are only interested in certain characteristics or are looking for a device that is good value for money.

The problem with HTC is that its community of fans isn’t the same as what it once was. Fortunately, some users have remained loyal and will buy this new device (and will probably be very happy with it), but these types now represent a minority and the HTC brand image isn't in a position to make the future HTC 11 people’s number one choice for a smartphone.

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The popularity of the Google Pixel has been able move across borders with ease. / © NextPit

Of course, it has the Sense Companion and this in itself is an advantage. In theory, yes, but in practice this remains to be seen. Digital assistants look good on paper, but in practice they aren’t always that useful. Such a strategy makes sense for manufacturers like Google and Samsung, but not really for HTC as the costs for maintaining such a feature could end up costing them a fortune. This is an interesting development because if HTC does follow through with this, the company could risk its future or at least need to be certain it can finance the overall strategy - as well as the improvements and updates it will require.

In any case, the software interface would struggle to prove itself and I doubt that it will be enough of a selling point for HTC, especially with the requirement they expect of users to store all private information on the smartphone and allow its exploitation to “provide a service” could scare off those who are concerned about data protection.

The last and by far most obvious element is the price, which is usually placed very high in the case of HTC. It’s normal to pay a high price for a top of the range device, there is no doubt about that. With that said, it brings us back to the same point: if people are going to spend a huge sum of money on a new smartphone, most users would prefer to opt for the most popular brand (as most people associate a high price with good quality). Even with a top of the range device in 2017 (and that’s still something we'll need more confirmation on), the company will not (or will no longer) have enough charisma to attract customers. The HTC 10 was a great phone but that wasn’t enough. It will probably be the same for the HTC 11.

What do you think HTC should do to reach the top sales spot with the HTC 11? Do you think it's too late to save the HTC brand? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • Fario Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    HTC phones are the best out there, been using a HTC One m8 heavily for almost 3 years and never had any problems with it not even a frozen screen and it still performs excellent almost as the first day I got it. For me HTC or nothing. Sound, reliability, durability, performance and the feel in the hand can't even fault them in 3 years. Love you HTC

  • Darque Staar Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    It needs the best version of Boomsound speakers and put them back on the front somehow. It needs to be waterproof, have a kickstand and the best and fastest camera , longest battery along with the fastest chip set.

  • Dean L. Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I would welcome a new HTC phone. Loved my droid incredible, truly miss the display and the optical button was awesome. I liked what the 10 offered but want in a position to upgrade.

  • Alex Moroni Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I thougt i heard there would not be any HTC 11...

  • Kelvin Yeo Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I've been introduced to HTC long way back during the O2 XDA era. iMO, they have many great experience on the hardware and of course made many mistakes in the past. Seriously, up until today, HTC still on my top list that even they sell more expensive, I would still buy it. My old HTC still working fine. There's won't be any problem for this phone besides batteries which is common to all phone. My desire HD is still working fine and also M8 still working.

    Well, talking about durablily and long term With quality, HTC is still my choice. Best combination in all feature. Too bad for their marketing. They should improve it and don't let other copy their ideas.

  • Parvind Chahal Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    everything is at place in htc android phones except its should take care of thier price range

  •   31
    Deactivated Account Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    it's a shame cos they can do really decent premium hardware, but for the past couple of years they've lacked a killer design..
    all they needed to do an was an Axon 7 running stock android...
    and leave all the fancy AI software to Google..
    a modern updated M7 with 75% screen to body ratio, waterproof, running close to stock android would do it..

  • carl Martin (jay) Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    They certainly need to bring them front facing speakers back if they want to propel themselves back in people's hearts.

    • Andrew Lim Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

      The problem is they dilute all their premium features and spread them across their cheaper models. No better way to cheese your premium supporters off. Then you take it away, like the front facing speakers. That's like shooting yourself in the foot. You don't see edge phones in Samsung's cheaper models. And so many variants of the same thing. It's like they're competing against themselves. They say six or seven phones this year. We'll just have to wait and see about that. They said that last year.

  • Andrew Lim Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    Let's face it. There are so many OEMs now with some pretty good ideas of their own. The unbelievable speakers of the Axon 7, the super fast charging from Oppo, 6-8 GB of ram, the bezel less Mi Mix, all at competitive prices. What can HTC offer at premium prices?

  • Mark Pitt Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    M10 Awesome phone, but I suppose HTC didn't pay AndroidPIT enough to promote it equally. Features like RAW never explained.

    M11 will go down the same road.

  • Asif Farooqui Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    The most beautiful phone they ever made was the HTC One M7. An absolute stunner. To this day there isn't a phone that comes close for great industrial design. Which after all these years I have still kept it.

    Dean L.Deactivated Account

    • Bastian Siewers Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

      I have to agree! I used to have it for like 6 months or something, and after switching to a new phone I really missed it. The whole design and feel was amazing!

    •   31
      Deactivated Account Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

      agreed M7 is still my favourite smartphone design it was awesome at the time.. nothing like it and really nice to use..

      • remyj Feb 11, 2017 Link to comment

        I agree the m7 was excellent. It was also not huge. If HTC made a modern version with 2017 components in the same 2013 body, I'd be all over it.

        The same for LG. Release an updated G2 and I'd be all over that as well.

  •   12
    Deactivated Account Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    HTC flop

  • Cartman Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    My HTC 10 is a nice device let down by poor reception. Compared to my old Samsung Galaxy S5 it's a joke - it can't pick up service in places the Samsung could.

    It let's down what is otherwise a good phone - feels nice and solid, good size, nice interface, snappy, great sound and good camera.

  • Robert Morice Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I bought the HTC 10 for the sound quality. Very impressive and beats all current phones. If HTC keep the power amp and DAC module separated from the Snapdragon I'll be upgrading again. Having a good hi-res headphones produces amazing sound.

  • Randy Pratt Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    I've owned a lot of HTC phones, and loved them all. My 10 is the size I like, with style and features that more than meet my needs. But HTC has terrible marketing. A big advertising budget and a good adv. team would have kept this device in the news for months, but it was not to be. Their previous advertising campaigns were embarrassing. Time to fire the ad agency and get something new. Your products are great. The message is lost.

  • storm Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    HTC is never on my radar for devices except as rebranded by Google. I don't like their design language and haven't looked the community developer sorry either fur ROMs and such. I they're just waiting to be bought.

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