Monday, 24 February 2014

MWC 2014: The age of mid-range smartphones

Not long ago, HTC announced that it was to pursue a line of mid-range smartphones to help stem the tide and turn around its business. At Mobile World Congress, they've officially announced the 610 and the 816 - the latter of which looks extremely promising for a mid-range device.

So, have they stolen a march on the opposition? No. Not at all. They certainly aren't alone in heading down that road. We've already seen mid-range smartphones from LG (G2 Mini, F70 and F90) and Sony (M2). This is sure to be added to by Huawei, Samsung and Nokia.
      Now I hear what you're saying, "All manufacturers are releasing mid-range smartphones". Yes, but there is a whole weight of more emphasis on these devices this year. The point is, in 2014 these devices have stepped up a notch and are operating at a vastly different level - and the manufacturers are pushing them that way. It's a competitive market where you could buy any of the aforementioned phones and be over the moon with it.

I suppose the real question to answer is whether there is actually a market for the high-end phone in 2014? Manufacturers are going to have to work especially hard in convincing the consumer to part with that little bit extra. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a poor attempt at this...


Watch the 7pm GMT launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5, here

Samsung are aiming to usurp the MWC 2014 interest with an early event launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5. After the low-level improvements from the S3-S4, we're all hoping for something a bit more 'wow-factor' this time around. Watch it unfold from 7pm GMT below.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

HTC market saturation - dejavu in practice and result

There's a touch of dejavu about the latest reports around HTC's decision to begin the production of cheaper smartphones as a priority with the reported Desire 8 (pictured below) a starting point. The problem is that the last time they pushed in this direction, it was from a position of great strength - not desperation, as they currently find themselves. 

What HTC need, and are looking for, is market share. They're hoping that producing cheaper phones will be a quick fix to keep pace with the likes of Nokia, LG and Huawei in the fight for the final 20-30% of market share left by Apple and Samsung. However, what HTC need is brand loyalty, and they're not going to get there by producing cheap phones. The HTC One is critically regarded as the best phone around. HTC simply need to be better with their marketing. If they don't market one 'phone of the year' well enough, how an earth are they going to get it right when marketing a series of them? After all, they haven't got a great record with trying market saturation. That's the consumer view. The trouble is, in the eyes of their investors, they need to turn a profit and that pressure is crippling the company. HTC are making quick, snap changes to try and find a quick solution. Unfortunately, I just can't see it working.

Can you?