HTC’s New Smartphone Does Not Work

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“The Wait Is Over” HTC said as it introduced its new HTC One smartphone flagship. For what? A new handset that is very like the Samsung and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) products with which it hopes to compete? The HTC One does not work, because that is its goal.

The HTC One is “Everything Your Phone Isn’t.” That includes its aluminum body, which does not offer much when set side by side with the Apple iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III. The HTC One’s screen streams live video, which does not differential it much from the competition unless that video is movies that have not even been released in theaters, which it is not.

The HTC One has an “awesome camera” that gets “perfect images.” The Samsung S III, which was “designed by people, inspired by nature,” has a “Best Photo” feature that picks the superior image out of eight during “continuous shooting.” The Samsung phone has virtually every feature of the Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) suit of software products. So does the HTC phone. Perhaps the stereo, which HTC calls “BoomSound,” is better than the comparable system on the iPhone 5 or Samsung S III.

None of this is meant to be the kind of review that will be or has been made by tech experts who comment to the broad public that consumes smartphones. It is meant to be is an observation of how hard it is for an also-ran in the smartphone industry — in this case HTC — to grab the public’s attention when the Samsung and Apple products are such runaway successes. By many measures, Samsung and Apple have well more than three-quarters of the world’s smartphone market. Another half dozen companies battle for a weak third or fourth place. HTC has no better claim as a challenger than Motorola, Sony or LG.

HTC’s phone will get some level of support from major wireless carriers. But these carriers will continue to focus on and support what the public wants, which is not HTC. Sometime soon, the HTC One will just be one more smartphone that was in the consuming public’s eye and then faded.

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