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HTC Needs To Ditch Android

HTC warned that it faces a loss in the third quarter of 2013, unprecedented for the company that started both the Smartphone and Android revolutions. This despite manufacturing probably the best Android smartphone that money can buy.

And here's the rub, while HTC focuses all its energies on Android its on the road to disaster.

The Android market is a vicious place to be for a small independent phone manufacturer like HTC. On one side it has the steam roller that is Samsung, competing in every space and eking out profits everywhere. By dint of its size Samsung can afford to fill every market niche and prospective niche, then polishing up the areas where it finds success.

On the other side it faces a whole host of Chinese OEMs from Lenovo and Huawei to some names that aren't so familiar. They're eating up the low end market with low priced handsets. HTC is left to fight for the bit of the middle ground that Samsung hasn't already covered. And its facing competition in that area from a resurgent Sony and a newly Google-d Motorola.

Things look pretty desperate.

To survive HTC needs to take a radical step and stop investing in an Android market where it has no future and turn to expanding market sectors where it can bring its skills in software development to bear.

Firstly Windows Phone. HTC produced two beautiful WP8 devices, but the 8S was hamstrung by a lack of storage and the 8X by the absence of the fantastic software package that Nokia delivers. Minor fixes and easily done, and with WP8 market share growing steadily an opportunity to compete.

The slow pace of WP8 updates also suits HTC, who haven't the funds to continually churn out new phones to match the crazy pace of Android development and alienate their customers by not having the resources to push firmware updates out in a timely fashion.

At less than six months old the HTC One looks dated as other Android phones have pushed the market forward. If it had been released as a WP8 device it would still be a range leader. Switching to an annual update cycle, for a high, middle and low end phone would conserve resources and keep the HTC range focused.

Secondly HTC need to move into the tablet market. Again not Android. The Windows 8 tablet market has proven competitive and promises to grow quickly - people are getting turned onto the idea that a laptop can be a tablet and vice versa. HTC's understanding of mobile could help gain a small, but valuable piece of this market.

Lastly peripherals. HTC turned out a clever product with the Media Link HD. Unlike the Chromecast or Apple TV it needs no wireless network to function - its portability is a trump card. Make this universally accessible to PC, Mac and Android users and it will sell in buckets. Give it direct access to HTC's Watch service and you've built yourself a new revenue stream.

Nobody wants to see HTC fail, but unless radical change is undertaken its hard to see how it can survive in its current form.


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