HTC has learned: analyst

LEARNING CURVE::After supply-chain problems and consumer complaints hit the release of the HTC One X, the firm has vowed to do things differently this time

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 - Page 13

Taiwan’s HTC Corp (宏達電) has learned its lesson following the quality problems it had with its flagship smartphone last year, and plans to avoid making the same errors with its new HTC One model, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.

In a note to clients on Thursday, the bank said that HTC is launching the HTC One in phases to manage the supply of components, with the US, UK, Taiwan and Germany in the first phase this month, with the second phase starting in April.

“[HTC’s] management is aware of last year’s bottleneck in component supplies and said it has learned its lesson,” Merrill Lynch analyst Robert Cheng (鄭勝榮) said in the note, referring to the quality issues surrounding the HTC One X flagship model.

After its unveiling in February last year, the HTC One X appeared promising based on reviews by tech blogs and HTC’s operator partners.

However, within the first few weeks of the product hitting the market there were a large number of customer complaints about the phone’s quality, such as a yellow spot in the phone’s display, extremely short battery life, overheating and software instability.

Separately, Cheng said that investors have expressed concerns over the new HTC One’s 4 megapixel camera, as many handsets offered by the firm’s rivals have cameras of between 8 and 13 megapixels.

He said HTC’s management have stressed that consumer education is the key to turning around the perception that better photos require more pixels.

Given the high demand from mobile carriers for the HTC One after last month’s launch, Cheng said the majority of HTC’s shipments this month would be of the new handset and that its sales would be reflected in data for the next two months.

Meanwhile, Ben Ho (何永生), chief marketing officer of HTC, said on Friday that HTC is targeting “techmaniacs,” (tech-savvy consumers), who are interested in new features and designs.

The firm will focus on Web sites, social networking sites, blogs and other digital media to strengthen its communications with the estimated 1.1 billion “techmaniacs” around the world, Ho said.