Originally a dominant Windows Mobile player, HTC was the first smartphone manufacturer to embrace Android, leaving them perfectly placed when desperate carriers who didn’t have the iPhone came calling. HTC, however, mistook their opportunity-based success as being directly attributable to their product prowess.And so, when Samsung entered the market, HTC quickly retreated to the top end of the market, making the “best” Android Phones, including the One X/S/V series last year, the Butterfly, and the One this year. All three models featured high-end industrial design, and prioritized fit-and-finish over things like removable batteries or expandable storage.
The problem for HTC is that customers who value high-end industrial design also value fit-and-finish in software, and thus buy iPhones. High-end customers who reject the iPhone for Android usually do so because they seek more customization and flexibility; naturally, they also prefer hardware features such as the aforementioned removable battery and expandable storage, which the Galaxy S series is happy to provide.
To put it another way, HTC has been targeting the high-end market with an inferior product. And now, to add insult to injury, they can’t even deliver top-of-the-line components for their phablet, the most un-iPhone-like premium device of all.
In this way, HTC is very much the hardware version of Windows Phone. Windows Phone from day one targeted the iPhone, setting strict hardware baselines and severely limiting both OEM and carrier flexibility, ensuring minimal fragmentation. Unfortunately, customers who cared already had iPhones, and now Windows is stuck without the minimum components – apps – needed to compete.
HTC’s – and Windows Phone’s – Missing Market.