HTC's last hope for success may lie in its highly-publicized One phone (or M7, as it was codenamed in development). The company announced Wednesday that its sales for February had dropped by nearly 44 percent, down to NT$11.37 billion (USD $384 million) from the same period last year. Even compared to January's NT$15.54 billion, it signifies a drop of nearly 27 percent.
The Taiwanese tech firm has a a heavy-hitting lineup of critically acclaimed phones, such as the Droid DNA and One X, but has fallen short on advertising efforts, which is likely the source of its problems. To remedy this, HTC brought in ex-Motorola CMO Benjamin Ho to replace the outgoing John Wang. Ho said of his marketing strategy that HTC's tagline, "quietly brilliant," may have to go. After all, brilliance means little if no one knows about your product.
The HTC One kicked off the new plan, called Marketing 2.0, with concurrent events in New York and London on Feb. 19. HTC preceded its unveiling with a week-long countdown on its site. The phone later won an award for best device at MWC last week, says TechCrunch, and received very favorable reviews all around for its sleek design and powerful specs. Its Sense UI and BlinkFeed feature, which streams content from HTC's partners, rounds out it perks.
Bloomberg says that because of a lack of new devices in Q4 of 2012, HTC lost market share to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy. The One phone will hit stores in the UK on March 15, and come out a bit later stateside, so it's possible that part of HTC's loss can optimistically be attributed to customers waiting with bated breath to snatch the One off shelves.
HTC has followed Apple's example of focusing on smartphones only, rather than "dumb" phones or low-end smartphones for the new user, meaning that it loses a significant share of potential customers. Samsung, conversely, has added a range of low-end affordable feature phones to its high-end flagship Galaxy series, but it needed the Galaxy S2 and S3 to rocket to the forefront of the mobile device market. Whether or not HTC can do the same is up to its marketing strategy, which will influence whether people can be convinced to try a phone without Apple or Samsung attached to its name.