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The HTC Aria or How HTC’s Marketing Strategy is Changing

Over the last few months, I have been noticing many changes in HTC’s marketing strategy. The number of HTC models that get released every year is increasing rapidly. In the period between 2002-2005, HTC released an average of 2,25 models per year. However, from 2006 to 2009,  this number increased to 8,25 devices per year. Here is my question though, there is nothing wrong with the expanding range of models. but the quality of those devices doesn’t seem to be getting any better. On top of that, HTC has started to release low-range devices as well.

Click the image for a larger view. The predictions expect more than 20 Android devices in 2010, and we aren’t even talking about all the Windows Phone 7 phones that are coming!

In my opinion, HTC is starting to mimic Samsung’s marketing strategy. They are releasing more mid- or even low-range devices. The hardware present on these devices often dates back to one year earlier. For instance, the hardware specifications of the HTC Tattoo (Click) are worse than the HTC Magic, which was released in 2008 (one year earlier). I also believe that HTC should discontinue the development of devices equipped with QVGA screens. To put it in perspective, the HTC Smart, Touch2, Tattoo and Wildfire (all released between 2009 and 2010) are all equipped with either a 2.8” or a 3.2” QVGA display, whereas the HTC Touch HD already had a WVGA screen back in 2008!

In principle, this is not an issue as it makes devices more affordable to manufacture, which in turn leads to more sales. It would not bother me as long as HTC keeps making high-end devices. Unfortunately, development isn’t focused on a few devices anymore, and this results in regressing hardware quality. Developers and designers are rushing to get the work done in order to meet the deadlines for product launch. These deadlines are getting shorter, simply because of the large amount of (mid-range) devices that are scheduled for release. The best example of this is the HTC EVO 4G. Although, the specifications and the device itself are awesome, HTC gets a lot of angry customers complaining about things such as the touch screen sensitivity, the glass screen that gets separated from the backing after some time, the WiFi issue, among others. These issues should not be ignored for such a high-end device. HTC has always known how to make high-end hardware, but with the increasing amount of new models, they seem to be losing focus.

I hope that they will understand that they can’t keep going like this. As of now, HTC doesn’t seem to realize that this trend exists since they just announced the HTC Aria: a mid-range device, which seems to have some similar hardware to the HTC Hero. When the Hero was first released, it was quite an high-end device. Why did they make a device with the same hardware again? Why not just buy the HTC Hero if you want those specs? Mid-range devices are fine, but imitations are not needed. One could compare this to Apple making a second iPhone 3G, but with another look. Pretty pointless, isn’t it?

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