Tue, Feb 28, 2012 - Page 12 News List

HTC unveils its ‘One’ series in Barcelona

Staff Writer, with Agengies,Taipei and Barcelona, Spain

Attendees inspect and photograph the new range of HTC Corp One mobile devices at a launch event prior to the Mobile World Congress exhibition in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday. HTC said it would begin shipping the new phones in April.

Photo: Bloomberg

HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, unveiled three streamlined smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Spain on Sunday, hoping they will help the firm turn around its slow sales.

Instead of hardware specifications and quad-core processor capabilities, the new HTC One phones focus more on uni-body design and the HTC Sense 4.0 software, whichprovides better camera functions and audio quality, the firm said.

“Our goal is to give you a camera that is so good that it has the power of a true digital camera on your phone,” HTC chief executive officer Peter Chou (周永明) said in Barcelona.

The phone autofocuses in 0.2 seconds — “literally faster than a blink of an eye,” and offers continuous shooting. It also plugs into a television’s HDMI port, allowing the photographs or videos to be viewed on a big screen.

HTC will begin shipping the HTC One series in April through more than 140 mobile operators and distributors globally, Chou said.

Chou last year opened up Studio, a new division in the company tasked with developing “hero” products that will represent the HTC brand and recapture the glory of its top sellers, such as the HTC Desire, which was released two years ago.

The company will focus more on specific customer groups, especially ones desiring multimedia functions, he said.

“Following a mildly disappointing 2011, these devices form the vanguard of HTC’s new strategy for greater brand coherence and a simpler value proposition,” Tony Cripps, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, said in a statement yesterday

“HTC’s strategy to streamline its branding and to offer fewer, better-differentiated products is a reaction to both market forces and engineering necessity,” he said.

HTC lacks the resources to easily differentiate itself from rivals such as Sony, Samsung and Apple in terms of value-added services, so its decision to focus on perfecting core smartphone functionality around camera and music is an extremely pragmatic one, he said.

HTC, once one of the most fancied smartphone makers among analysts, has missed revenue estimates for three straight quarters because of competition from Apple Inc’s iPhone and Samsung Electronic Co’s Galaxy handsets.

On Feb. 6, HTC warned that its revenue in the first quarter of this year would continue its fall after a disappointing fourth quarter last year, citing declining average selling prices and fierce competition.

It said revenue might contract by as much as 36 percent to between NT$65 billion (US$2.2 billion) and NT$70 billion in the first three months of this year.

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