HTC is set to launch a high-profile smartphone in the second half of the year, noting that in recent years it has not had a “holiday hero” to drive it into the lucrative Q4 sales period.
Speaking in a conference call this week, Chialin Chang, CFO and president of global sales, said the move is designed to “maintain some momentum” following its first-half launch of the One M9 line.
Because the company releases its flagship device early in in the year, by the time the Christmas quarter comes around it no longer has a fresh product to target the market with.
Apple, Samsung and Huawei have all announced high-end devices in Q3 in recent years, in order to take on the biggest sales period with a new smartphone.
“We want to avoid the pattern of having a peak in the second quarter, and starting to go down in the third quarter and Q4, and then really bottoming in Q1 the following year,” he said.
With One M9 reaching customers now, the executive said that the company is looking to run a “leaner channel” with the device, more closely aligning supply and demand.
But with the company also unveiling its One M9+, he noted that “this is the first time we’ve introduced a ‘dual flagship’, so there is uncertainty around it”.
In addition, HTC is set to announce new entry-level and mid-tier devices in the second half of the year, noting that the lifecycle of its current product line comes to an end at the end of Q2.
Reports in the Indian press this week suggested that HTC will release a device specifically targeting the market in Q3, which will subsequently be made available elsewhere. “If we are able to serve the Indian market well with the right strategy, we will be able to serve the global market well,” Chang reportedly said.
In a wide-ranging call, the executive also talked about the development of HTC’s direct-to-consumer sales strategy, following the increasing prominence of companies such as Xiaomi, Honor and OnePlus who focus on this model.
“We think the online channel is a very important tool, is a very strategic, important part of HTC’s business. Not just for the smartphone, eventually for all things HTC sells,” he said.
With efforts already in place for China and Taiwan, and with a wider rollout planned, the executive cautioned: “We are very careful in doing that, especially in countries where we had a good presence, to make sure that the retail channel feels it’s a good complement, not in conflict with what they are doing.”
And the executive also discussed HTC’s decision to use MediaTek processors in some devices, although he noted that in general “people know the brand and the phone. They don’t really care what’s inside the phone”.
“We’re choosing multiple chipsets for multiple reasons. In various countries and regions, there are different degrees of wireless infrastructure development. More specifically, in some countries there’s not even carrier aggregation. So you’re having a chipset and asking consumers to pay for something that they don’t even have. That probably doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”