The Year That Started HTC’s Demise: 2015
Once a darling of the smartphone world, HTC’s journey in the territory has seen many ups and down. The Taiwanese company who pioneered the smartphone design is finding it increasingly difficult to compete with today’s top players. The last few quarters have been abysmal, and the balance sheet is also full of red numbers. So, what happened to HTC, which once debuted both Android and Windows on tiny devices. Well, we can talk about many missteps, but it was the year 2015 that started HTC’s fall and from where the company never recovered.
Two incidents took place in 2015. One from Qualcomm and the other from Samsung. Let’s talk about Qualcomm first. In a bid to go toe-in-toe with Apple’s 64-bit CPU, the American chipmaker dropped the bomb with the 2015 flagship Snapdragon 810. Except for Samsung (Due to their use of in-house CPUs that year), every other OEM suffered from the Snapdragon 810 mess. And unlike LG, Sony or Huawei, HTC doesn’t have other businesses to pull through a bad year for them. HTC M9’s disaster performance not only hurt the company on financials but also put a big dent on the excellent momentum that they got from M7 and M8.
The biggest hurdle for HTC came from none other than Samsung. For years, HTC had put design and premium material at the front center on their flagships. While other OEMs were busy in designing in band-aid phones, HTC was the only one giving Apple a run for money in the design department.
HTC’s lack in refinement of design year-on-year made it look boring against Samsung’s developments
Following criticism from both fans and reviewers, Samsung went back to design the Galaxy S6 from the ground up. Termed as ‘Project Zero’, the metal-glass combination put the Korean giant front and center in the design area. Basically, Samsung stole HTC’s biggest USP and hit them where it hurts. Samsung continued to refine it and HTC was still stuck with tired and boring design in the following year.
HTC got hit hard by both Samsung and Qualcomm in different areas. After that, the company got lost and tried to experiment with a fancy VR gadget, released too many variants of a single flagship, failed to innovate in other areas. And fast forward to today, the iconic company is in news for all the wrong reasons. We can speculate all day about how they could have handled some things differently, but it was 2015 that put the stepping stone in HTC’s journey.