Despite being a force to reckon with as far as smartphones are concerned, I decide to focus on HTC at the tail end because it does not focus on the local market. This is HTC’s weakness. HTC’s tag line is “Quietly Brilliant” and seemingly they decided to take it literally. As far as Android smartphones are concerned, no one manufactures devices as elegant as HTC does. I’m a big lover and admirer of HTC’s well-designed smartphones. Sadly that’s as far as it gets.
Locally, HTC smartphones are the type that only techies are aware of. The average Kenyan wanting to buy a smartphone probably knows of the Galaxy models and a few other brands. HTC is something that rarely means anything. This lack of aggression by the Taiwanese device maker is saddening. Worse, it is affecting profits too. HTC was the manufacturer who made the very first Android device. Seemingly it has focused so much on the North American market and forgotten about emerging markets, something its South Korean competitor, Samsung, seems to have realized long ago.
2012 was the year that HTC decided to stop churning many devices with very long and funny names and concentrate on a few hits. The HTC One series has been outstanding throughout. In fact before Samsung announced the S III, no smartphone could stand up to the One X. It went on to release other devices in the One series like the mid-range One V, the One S and lately the One X+. A few Desire models also popped up in 2012. These were the Desire SV and the Desire C.
2012 marked the official retirement of the Incredible series. Heck we even forgot the Wildfires ever existed.
HTC continues to haunted by a ghost it created: HTC Sense. While it’s undeniable that HTC Sense (particularly Sense 4) is very beautiful and appealing, it is also an open fact that it is too heavy and makes a device with enough RAM and a multi-core processor like the One X still lag. In fact of all the side by side comparisons of the top flagships of the year 2012 running Android, the most consistent result when the S III is taken head to head with the One X is that the latter has a lot of lag while the former is snappier. This is something that HTC needs to look at when rolling out Sense 5 and subsequent versions of its Android custom skin. Such heaviness of Sense 4 has made some nice devices like the One V miss out on an official Jelly Bean update.
HTC did not have any tablet offerings in 2012 and the main face of HTC tablets locally is the HTC Flyer which is available in most store it is pricey and totally not worthy the hefty price tag. The HTC Jetstream is still a preserve of the West.
On Android, HTC is ending the year on a high note having released the HTC Butterfly to the international market. The device which launched in Japan as the Butterfly J and in the US on Verizon as the Droid DNA has received rave reviews for its beautiful design (as usual) and more its 1080p full HD 5″ display.
HTC is also in the race to be the best in other platforms like Windows Phone. Its Windows Phone devices like the 8X and the 8S are taking the Lumia 920 and ATIV S head on. Whether HTC will succeed in Windows Phone only time will tell.