Things haven’t been going so hot for Taiwanese smartphone OEM HTC lately. Unfortunately for the aspiring turnaround candidate, things are getting worse before they get better.
The company’s One smartphone is tasked with driving HTC’s turnaround. All other considerations aside, the flagship device looks like quite a contender with its Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)-caliber hardware and revamped software overlay. The tough part thus far has been getting the device in consumers’ hands, since HTC component shortages caused the company to delay the One’s launch.
STMicroelectronics N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:STM) and OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVTI) are the two camera suppliers, and HTC is reportedly no longer considered a “tier one” manufacturer so it doesn’t get priority any more. That implies that one of these image sensor specialists was giving HTC the cold shoulder in favor of bigger names.
Samsung has simply buried HTC in a marketing avalanche that HTC can’t keep up with, even if HTC’s products are higher quality. HTC had vowed to ditch its “Quietly Brilliant” tag line in an effort to shift toward louder marketing. That was nearly a month ago, and that modest motto is still prominently displayed on its site.
Some of HTC’s ads last year had rather convoluted messaging, but its most recent marketing push is even worse. The company commissioned Funny or Die to create a parody ad for its One, starring James Van Der Beek of Dawson’s Creek fame. Following widespread derision, the clip was quietly taken down. Copies were floating around on YouTube but have been suppressed by Funny or Die on copyright grounds. It was a terrible attempt, and HTC should feel embarrassed.
When being social isn’t special
HTC is Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)‘s first official partner with its new Home software suite, recently launching the HTC First. However, that’s a mid-range phone and Home is hardly a differentiating feature since the social network is targeting a broad audience and Home is available for download in Google Play for a select number of devices.
The final straw?
Most recently, Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has scored a preliminary injunction against HTC in the Netherlands over a microphone component inside the One. At issue is STMicroelectronics N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:STM) providing HTC certain microphone components for the One — components that were invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia.