HTC vs Samsung: Why HTC is losing the fight big time
It all happened pretty quickly, and few of us actually saw it coming. Until that disastrous fourth quarter of 2011, HTC was basically raking in record profits every new quarter. Then, suddenly, the Q4 2011 report of the company came to announce a staggering income drop of 41.1% compared to the previous quarter, and all of this when you have in mind the traditionally strong Holiday season. Something must have gone terribly wrong for HTC, as such dramatic drops rarely occur without a reason. So, what could have caused it?
Before the release of the Samsung Galaxy S II, it was HTC which made the killer Android phones. They weren't necessarily as pretty as they were in the early days, but they had killer specs and large screens that were so appealing to the Android crowd. When the Galaxy S II came out, however, it easily trumped HTC's efforts. The S II was faster and thinner than HTC's finest at that time - the EVO 3D. While Samsung's phones were getting visibly better, it was like High Tech Computer's line-up was becoming increasingly stagnant. There was little change between models, and eventually users just started to care less and less about what HTC was doing. With a flagship smartphone like the HTC Rezound, which was pretty good, but couldn't get noticed due to the buzz generated by the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Note and the later-than-usual launch of the iPhone 4S, it was a critical moment for HTC, which eventually caused it to lose all traction.
With things not getting back to normal for HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer decided that it has seen enough, and undertook a radical overhaul of its line up. At MWC 2012, it introduced the One series, which featured the new flagship model, One X, a mid-range offering in the One S, and a budget-oriented solution, called One V. The public was excited, and once again, the Android pioneer showed that it's a force to be reckoned with. Of course, all eyes were on the One X, as HTC clearly made a statement that this will be the one Android smartphone when it comes out. What happened next? Well, the One X came out, some said it's the best Android phone ever, others didn't share their opinion, and HTC continued to report weak financial results, with some analysts going as far as to compare its fate with the ones of Nokia and RIM. Is it really that bad?
Not yet, but it may get there, if the company doesn't take immediate actions to change its thinking. In our opinion, although some external factors may also be at play here, HTC's products themselves are the biggest reason for HTC's poor market performance lately.
UX IS KING
HTC is traditionally strong when it comes to design. There's no doubt about that and the company has showed it many times. Except for some relatively small elements, the One X is one helluva good-looking smartphone - much better-looking than Samsung's current flagship, the Galaxy S III. Still, there's no doubt that the Galaxy S III will sell much more, compared to HTC's finest. No, we don't believe that brand-recognition has so much to do here. Everyone who has actually held both handsets in their hands will tell you that the HTC feels way better. The problem, we believe, resides in the sub-par user experience of the handset. Don't get us wrong, the One X performs very well, but it just isn't on the same level as the other devices in its class.
The HTC One X was supposed to bring
But the browser isn't the only weak element in the Sense machine that can ruin the experience for users. the whole Sense UI itself isn't among the most stable ones out there, sometimes crashing completely, and wasting time to reload the homescreen, widgets, and everything else.
Now, as unpleasing to the eye as the Galaxy S III can be, this is something you won't experience with it. The thing is that the Samsung phone works, and it works well. It's snappy and creates the impression of seamless, light operation that just allows you to get things done quickly and efficiently. Despite all its efforts, HTC hasn't been able to enhance its UI in such a way that would make it more easy to use.
There are several things that HTC has to work on if it wants to remain relevant on the market. The first thing is to fine-tune its handset line-up's design characteristics. What we mean by that is that HTC should have a high-end, big-screened smartphone to compete with the increasingly bigger devices introduced by Samsung. Meanwhile, however, even if it doesn't have the vast resources of Samsung, it needs to pay close attention to the 3.7"-4.3" range. The One S was a good try, but it had some issues with its hyped ceramic coating, and such kind of things usually tend to drive customers away from a model. And of course, it also had Sense. Whether HTC should focus on the low end, especially with all these talks of it going to China, is a tough question. HTC is a company that has always produced higher-end gear, so it should be just fine if it doesn't have a very strong presence in that part of the market. Still, maybe we're inclined to say that considering the traditionally weak budget-oriented devices by HTC.
Secondly, HTC should stop making big promises. Take, for example, the ImageSense camera, which is outperformed by most of its competition, although it was said to be the next big thing in smartphone photography. And then we have Sense, which needs to be dramatically reworked. The UI has to get much simpler, with a bit less options, and faster, smoother operation. Users who demand great customization options usually know how to get them, so there's no need to scare the mass public away.
At the end of the day, we believe that there's still time for HTC to refocus and regain its lost positions as a premium Android smartphone manufacturer, but it needs to act quickly, because the other sharks in the pool are growing bigger and bigger by the day.
1. hung2900 (Posts: 793; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
"Everyone who has actually held both handsets in their hands will tell you that the HTC feels way better."
11. MeoCao (unregistered)
I agree, I like the GS3 streamlined shape more than 1X, the phone doesn't catch dirt as 1X and it excites me more too b-c it's very different from all other phones while 1X is nice but looks very familiar to older HTC phones. SGS3 is beautiful!
The thing I like about 1X more is the screen and that's all but GS3 screen is nearly as good.
136. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)
I have the S3...and i can safely say...it feels like a brittle piece of plastic. It doesn't even feel like a poly-carbonate device.
Talking about streamlined? the S3 is flat on the front and back, and i find it very uncomfortable (and slippery) to hold it without a case.
I know its your opinion to dislike the One X, but majority of people will say the One X looks and feels better.
The only reason i got the S3 was because it had a micro SD card slot, if it wasn't for that I would not have even looked at the S3.
12. MeoCao (unregistered)
I read an very good article on Pocket Now about HTC and I agreed. HTC tries too hard to please the carriers at the expense of the users.
118. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
I have always liked HTC phones as far as the phone design is conserned. I never got one for my self for two reasons. 1:Battery life has always sucked for how i use the device, Motorola has always done me good there and samsung has always been in the middle for how i use it. 2:I dont like how much they change the design of android, I am not fond of my samsung touchwiz on my gs3 either but the HTC just does to much to somthing that really isnot broken and at stock is a great operating system. Motorola i think is the best one only because there blur stuff is really light and does not take to much away from android. I think my galaxy nexus when i installed a jelly bean rom has a better user expierence then my sg3 for the most part and i would be just fine if i still used it and never got the sg3. I do love my sg3 but especially with the locked boot loader its hard to do what i want to it. Thats where i like the fact that HTC is really good about unlocking boot loaders.
42. hung2900 (Posts: 793; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
11 people disliked my opinion (just an opinion) because they don't wanna hear smth against what they like?
47. MeoCao (unregistered)
Haha, I prefer people disliking my post to them ignoring it.
You have 17 reactions so this is a good post.
116. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
if you beleve in what your writing then who realy cares about what other peopl think. Its going to happen. Alot of people were disapointed how the sg3 looks and then theres always the super fans of any device or the haters that will always defend even if ther wrong. I am not saying this is you but if all you care is to have everybody like your opinion than whats the point of having one. Because most likely it not going to be from the heart and will be a misrepenstation of who you are
125. MeoCao (unregistered)
Of course I care about how people perceive my posts, but this does not mean I do not say what I think. You have to write what you think but it must add value to the conversation.
137. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
no its to show they do not agree… is that not obvious?
and i thumbed you down because i disagree.. the one x is extremely pleasing to the eye and feels like a more premium device than the SIII to me
138. doublehammer (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)
ill never understand the whole "premium" thing to me. I think its nothing more than marketing and a head trip.
How does it do in a drop test?
how scratch resistant is it both on screen and body?
How much power does it have?
How good is the experience?
How pretty is that screen?
How is the battery life?
Those are measures of "premium". This whole "tin vs plastic" nonsense is just that.. nonsense. Your talking about a material that costs either 0.3 cents a yard or 0.5 cents a yard. neither are "premium".
142. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
its more of a feel than an actual on paper comparison… the one x is extremely good looking, unlike the s3, and the plastic it uses, although still plastic, looks and feels much better than the s3… yes, they might both be plastic, but there is a certain amount of real-world application involved
and the article is right… sense on my one x makes me want to scream sometimes… i mean it got rid of one of androids best features-- multitasking
60. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
I have held both and I will say it over and over and over again---
the HTC One X feels way better than the pebble-inspired Galaxy S 3.
100. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
I still love holding my One X, but I got to say, SGS3 felt pretty nice in hand.
115. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1273; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I agree! I love holding my One X. The SGS3 just looks a little odd to me, but I do love its performance. HTC def. ignored what majority of people want from a phone: battery life and smoothness of its UI. 1800mA isn't enough, and they really should have overlook at the success of Razr Maxx. Who really cares about the phone is 5mm thicker, but people will notice the phone can actually last whole 2 days. On top of that, its beautiful UI, sense 4, is still too heavy for the device (I really hope 4.1 will be a lot better), I really hate when I exit out of an app and seeing the loading screen... WTF!? They never bother to test their device before release to the public? That is not acceptable. Never thought of the situation that someone might have to dial 911 and have to wait about 10 second for the phone to load its UI. On top of all that, they completely destroyed the Android's best friend, multitasking. I really can't take the fact that if I'm reading stuff on the browser and switch to text my friend, and switching back will require me to reload the page? Really, HTC.... Took out the best feature of Android OS and still can't make sure your UI is smooth 100% of time... Please do something different to rise again. Sticking to what used to work isn't working for you anymore.
I still love my One X though, but just have bones to pick with it.
181. bbdol (Posts: 15; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)
I bet you would feel even better in my hands. ;)
121. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)
They have it all wrong, there is no problem with user experience of the handset. It the lack of NO REMOVABLE BATTERY!!! That's was people turn off by HTC new line up. Hence the reason SGSIII kicking butt. I'll take SGSIII Please!
140. RomeoJDR (Posts: 237; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
Guess that's why nobody buys Apple's products.
132. bigdawg23 (Posts: 366; Member since: 25 May 2011)
Feel isnt the biggest thing to me. It is function and operation. I used to really like HTC phones. However, after a horrible experience with a Vivid, my chances of going back are slim. When it comes to function, I prefer the SGS2, SGS2SR and Galaxy Note.
AT&T was very generous to offer me any phone to get out of my VIvid, including the SGS3. However, I took the Galaxy Note.
Now from the modifying aspect, Samsung hands down. It takes no time for me to root and rom my Samsung phones. My HTC Vivid was a pain to get the same option. Personally I am beginning to like Touchwiz more than HTC Sense.
135. RomeoJDR (Posts: 237; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
maybe not everyone, but but you'll be hard pressed to find someone not owning an SIII ora Samsung loyalist saying otherwise. The SIII is currently the best phone, but the casing looks and feels too cheap to be housing the premium components held within.
139. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2969; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Agreed. I have held the One X and the SGS3. While sure the One X feels more solid, when it comes to feeling comfortable, that's a WHOLE different story. I'm not saying it feels horrible in your hand. But thanks to the nice curved edges and plastic, the SGS3 feels way smaller than it actually is. Plus with the power button the side(instead of being on top), it makes using your phone much more comfortable as well. Devices are getting bigger and taller but our hands are not.
Samsung is doing a great job of making their customer's happy and dare I say...making a fan base around them as well.
It's ironic that the first real phone I had was the Samsung Glyde on Verizon. I HATED IT, I HATED IT, OH MY GOD I HATED IT!!!!!
Thought I would never use another Samsung phone again. That remained true up until the first Galaxy S device came out and from there, Samsung has been doing an amazing job.
10. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
actually, every single company now have big problems. Even samsung, which is the market leader have a big problem(apple suing samsung). It's a matter of how you learn from the mistakes you've made at use it to humbly redo your strategies and be strong again.
49. PhoneLuver (Posts: 466; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)
The biggest disappointment was the fact that the One X only had an 8MP camera! It may sound a little stupid, but the first thing many people ask is what camera does it have, then what processor, and then what screen resolution.
They should have set the trend with 12MP cameras.
55. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5744; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Apple suing Sammy is more of an annoyance. Apple was suing Sammy the entire time that Sammy was putting up a record-setting quarterly sales and profit result.
I would add one item for HTC to fix - get consistency in your phones across carriers. Sammy has released the GS III across all 4 carriers in the U.S. and it is basically the same phone for each carrier. HTC has the One for AT&T and T-Mo, the EVO 4G LTE for Sprint, and what - the Rezound (not quite, but that points out another problem) for VZW? Personally, I would have done the EVO 4G LTE for all 4 carriers.
And then there is the matter of the user experience the article mentioned. Maybe go to vanilla JB and offer an alternative to the G-Nexus (with maybe 2 Gb of RAM)?
61. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
I agree with creating a vanilla Android choice BUT---
Is 2 GB of RAM even needed with vanilla Android? The reason why the Samsung Galaxy S 3 had 2 GB of RAM in other markets is because its built-in apps, S-voice for instance, were very RAM-heavy. But vanilla Android doesn't seem to suffer from the same, does it?
78. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5744; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
2 Gb of RAM is about future-proofing the handset. Right now, JB seems to run fine with 1 Gb. But who knows with the next release after JB?
I suspect that by next year, all high end Android handsets will ship with 2 Gb. Personally, I would prefer a handset with some future-proofing, given the 2 year contract terms in the U.S.
104. nabilsalahat057 (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Jun 2011)
i agree withe you ,htc is the best of the best is smoothe nice .all time i kiss it i like it much.finally nice looking like you
24. pkiran1996 (Posts: 165; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)
Lol I've not heard anyone mention LG in a long time
31. Mittal (Posts: 427; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)
yup! I dont see any other company than Apple and Samsung to be having a gala time in the smartphone scene currently!(Not talking of quality of the devices here)
I wonder if i am wrong to say that Moto and LG are having a tougher time than HTC at the global level ryt now.
PA you should do similar articles for LG, SONY, MOTOROLA also!
62. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
But choose a different writer. Someone who would bother to do proper in-depth research. Because, seriously, if I wrote a half-hearted uninformed article like this, I would probably question where my heart is.
84. ryq24 (Posts: 487; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
yup! you know you have a problem when everyone is talking about iphone or samsung or htc or even nokia or blackberry or sony but no one seems to even mention anything about lg.
3. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2442; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
I had no idea......HTC is the third company I'd go to after Sony and Moto....the htc one s is actually the phone I'd been thinking about getting for a while now....Sad to hear that....Hope sony can help them out in some way
63. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
I hope HTC and Sony team up to produce one hell of a superphone for 2012.
4. yowanvista (Posts: 304; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
Obviously since their products are plagued with various issues like the Multitasking Bug (HTC calls it a 'feature'), design flaws, WiFi issues and their recent update 4.0.4 that disables root. Not to mention their horrible Sense UI and the fact that their flagship device has no removal storage.. Way to go HTC..
17. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
Do your think the regular consumers . The one that keep the companies alive , care about all these ? Most android phones consumers don't even know what's root
64. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
ALL updates have the strong possibility to disable root. Do you even know what you're talking about? ALL. That's why if you want to keep your root on a stock ROM and a update pops up, you highly consider waiting for word on developers if root is possible the old way if a new one has to be done.
As far as I know, all devices on rooted stock ROM that are updated will have to re-root. And I know what I'm talking about because I've rooted my ChaCha way back in February.
So let me ask you this--- do you know what you're complaining about?
83. iliketech (Posts: 54; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)
Yea, i like that... ha
I agree whole heartily...
you update using a HTC update you have to re-root...
makes sense, no pun intended...
65. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
Also, it's not that hard to root something if you know how to do it. :)
The fact is I think your problem is that the update caused your bootloader to re-lock and your root to be nulled.
All updates to the device does that, sunshine. You have to unlock the bootloader again and re-root. Please do get yourself informed before complaining. You have to know the system--- you have to know how to things work.
Because you can't demand the whole world to make it convenient for you especially when it's YOU who chose to update your rooted stock ROM.
85. iliketech (Posts: 54; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)
Hey, i agree again...
All updates (from HTC or prob. AT&T) WILL cause user to re-apply customization's.... period... kinda like when people flashed the DirectTV cards and then they/DirectTV sent out a update over the air, then everybody that had 3rd party update had to re-program their card...
think about it...
40. Nokia-Arte (banned) (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
I own one and it use to lag, sense was ram hog take's up 80mbeki
of ram, running I'm, Skype, System Update, Dolphin, System Tuner Pro,
and 5 other apps, there was only 270Mb ram left, when browsing
opening 2 tabs ram use to drop to 100mb and it lags. After rooting
this it was much better smooth, overclocking it to 1.9ghz.....
66. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
What device did you own? I've owned four HTCs. The only one I had to unlock bootloader and root to satisfy me was the ChaCha because it had low internal memory.
No--- it didn't lag. Nor did my Desire HD, HTC Sensation XE, or my One X.
The problem with the ChaCha was the low internal memory (150 MB user-available) and, being app crazy as I am, I couldn't install as many apps as I wanted.
53. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)
i had 2 updates on sgs3 and both disabled my root, so i had to root my phone 3 times
it is classic
67. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
It's just the way phones work. It's the system. The manufacturers issue updates for non-rooted phones. Rooting is easy enough if you know how to do it anyway.
5. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)
Because they promise updates and then they say
"We rather not delete your data for your phone to update"
and there goes Desire HD..
I like Htc i really do i like sense .. but !! learn from sony for updating
just wait , htc one x wont get 4.3...
69. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
I will explain something to you.
Deleting user-data for the phone to update to a heavy ROM PLUS partition issues made the Desire HD un-upgradeable to ICS. HTC figured out that that isn't the way users expect updates from them. I have updated my 4 HTC phones for the last two years over and over again and have never lost any data.
Now--- doing that... That's similar to just flashing an ICS ROM to the Desire HD, isn't it? And since the update will happen over-the-air (OTA), they can't possibly promise users a solid, bug-free experience.
Seriously... It amazes me how dense people get.
103. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
Even so, HTC should release RUU to the dev communities. People should have a choice as to what they want to do on their device when it comes to upgrading.
6. hung2900 (Posts: 793; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Problems of HTC? Brand recognition (to many flagship phones with ridiculous name while Samsung has only 3 flagship classes: Galaxy S, Note and Nexus), marketing problem. About OX, the lack of micro-SD card slot and removable battery (accompany with not very good battery usage) are two main issues, not only from HTC Sense (In fact a lot of people love it)
33. Mittal (Posts: 427; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)
even i do!
The HTC Salsa has hardly done well commercially, but even at 800Mz, it is very smooth and seems well optimized!
Sense looks and feels gr8!
71. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
I love Sense too. It's the only reason why I keep going back to HTC. I've looked into Samsungs, Sonys, LGs, and even Motos.... and I just can't forget Sense. That's how convenient it is.
Even the guy from Smartphonepedia left his S3 in favor of the One X.
86. iliketech (Posts: 54; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)
I got rid of my One x because I couldn't navigate between apps smoothly... when at a web page and going to contacts app and back it would put me somewhere else previous to where I was (for example at a log in page)... I couldn't stand the Onex after using it for about a month, I sold it... It handled app navigation like the old Apple iphone... that was the knock against Apple back then and why Android phones had the advantage... Well, the One x brought me back to that stage, that I didn't want to go... Hello Samsung Note, and Nexus...
and the One x power button is not even/level, it is kinda like a curved edge making it Way Harder to push on/off especially with a case on phone - which I always use... So, I had to kinda wrap my hand around the phone to power it on/off... what a pain.!
105. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
Made me curious, what kind of case were you using on the phone. I think on/off on the phone was very manageable already, and didn't even make a difference after I put on my seidio case.
112. SherlockHolmes (Posts: 125; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)
Then please change your Profile Pic to Samsung !!
123. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)
Agree with hung2900: "lack of micro-SD card slot and removable battery (accompany with not very good battery usage) are two main issues, not only from HTC Sense (In fact a lot of people love it)"