HTC, the Taiwanese mobile phone manufacture, has just posted troubling financial results. The latest figures show that net income has fallen almost 100% compared to last year. The net income for HTC was only £21.2 million – shockingly this is the lowest since 2004 when far fewer smartphones were being sold.
The company was an early leader in the smartphone market and, after initially concentrating on the Windows Mobile OS, became a popular choice for Android OS Smartphones. Its experience making touch devices since the late 1990s put it in prime position to capitalise on the emerging smartphone market. The first A series (Android OS) phone produced by HTC was the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1). This was released in 2008 and was the first ever Android phone originally running Android 1.0 before being upgraded to 1.0.
Since then, HTC has released more phones running on Android than any other platform. These range from affordable low-end phones just as the HTC Wildfire to popular handsets such as the Desire series and even top-end limit-pushing phones such as the Incredible series and the HTC One X.
HTC is also well known for its distinctive HTC Sense graphical interface. This is widely acclaimed as being one of the most smooth and powerful interfaces available for Android and the included exclusive widgets are massively popular amongst power users especially the familiar clock/weather combo on untold numbers of homescreens.
In any case, the latest financial figures are a deep disappointment for HTC. While analysts expected lower profits due to a lack of major product launches, it turns out that the actual figures were even less than predicted. Much of this must be due to incredibly steep competition from Samsung and Apple.
We only just learned that Samsung is now the most popular mobile phone brand in the world. But the most pertinent information to glean from this is how well Samsung has been doing with smartphones at the expense of everyone else. Samsung is now responsible for a massive 28% of smartphone sales while HTC is struggling – in 2012 its share of the smartphone market plummeted from 9% to 5% leaving it severely lagging behind Samsung and Apple.
HTC must really step up its game if it is going to compete with Samsung in 2013 especially with the new Galaxy S4 smartphone just around the corner. They are due to announce a new product at an expo in Las Vegas this week so hopefully HTC will pull something surprising out of the bag.
What do you make of the massive drop in HTC’s profits? Have you owned an HTC phone and what did you think of it? And can they still compete with Apple and Samsung in 2013?