HTC had quite a rough year in 2013 – the company suffered from delayed updates, problems at US Customs, disputes with Apple, and declining sales and profits. Here at Pocketables and G&E, we’ve had lots of discussions about why we think HTC is suffering and what it can do to improve its market position: it should be more friendly towards developers, it should ditch Sense, it should make Sense better, it should release fewer phones, it should send out software updates more quickly, it should figure out a way to destroy Apple, etc.
I’m sure a lot of these things have crossed the minds of execs at HTC, too. But what can we realistically expect in 2013? Well, we’ve already gotten a few hints here and there, so here’s what we can piece together so far.
Sense will continue to get leaner and more toned down.
HTC already did a good job of making Sense a little less invasive on the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the HTC One series, and this will continue in 2013. Anonymous sources within HTC are already saying that Sense will be “simple and clean” in 2013, although it’s anyone’s guess as to how that will actually look. In any case, we are hearing that the lockscreen and HTC’s bundled apps will all get a huge facelift, and that Sense will be easier to use. For example, the on-screen volume controls will apparently allow users to jump directly to the volume settings.
HTC is going to continue focusing on sleek, modern hardware.
We should expect more phones to look like the Droid DNA, including larger screens (at least 4.7-inches). The same sources that told us about Sense are also saying that some future phones will have a unibody aluminum shell with a “very nice looking beveled edge” around the screen. We can expect a sleek-looking all black design (although I’m sure various HTC phones will have more color options than simply black). Unfortunately, we are hearing that HTC has not opted for on-screen navigation buttons, so physical hardware buttons are most likely going to remain in 2013.
I expect internal storage to go up to 32GB on most phones, 1080p resolution will become the norm, and there will be no less than four glorious cores.
HTC is going to focus on more and better advertising.
This is coming straight from HTC’s CEO, so unlike the above two items, this isn’t a rumor. Peter Chou recently told the Wall Street Journal that poor marketing decisions were the primary factor in 2012 that caused HTC’s profits to tumble. Chou said that HTC simply didn’t spend enough on ads, allowing other manufacturers (i.e. Samsung) to take the lead. Expect to see more ads and commercials that attempt to make HTC stand out from the crowd and, in Chou’s words, create public demand for the company’s “unique products.”
There won’t be as many patent disputes and lawsuits.
I think we can all breathe a big sigh of relief on that one, right? HTC and Apple have pretty much worked most of their disagreements out, opting for licensing deals in lieu of more courtroom battles. And since the FTC recently dropped its probe into Google, and Google is agreeing to license more of its patents out, it seems like most of the big players are finally figuring out that consumers are tired of this, and that it’s time to start focusing on innovation once more.
So now that you know a little of what I think 2013 will look like for HTC, I’d like to know what you want to see. Where should HTC take the EVO line, or should HTC phase it into the One series? Does HTC stand a fighting chance? Are you still an HTC fan, in spite of all the recent upsets?