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back to article Samsung isn't alone: HTC profits take a huge dive

Troubled smartphone vendor HTC has released its latest unaudited quarterly results, and they're not good – profits are down 83 per cent when compared with the same period last year. HTC stock price for the last two years The last two years haven't been kind to HTC shareholders In the second quarter of 2013, HTC reported …

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Stop

doubling the marketing budget

Won't make any difference. They should try to get Apple to sue them.

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Re: doubling the marketing budget

Actually, if it's not already too late for HTC, doubling the marketing budget is exactly the way to go. HTC needs two things: Get the word out about their quality hardware; and stop with the gimmicky, niche-market phones. The original EVO 4G was a breakout phone at the time, though sadly hampered by Sprint's choice of Wi-Max over LTE and other network issues. The phone itself was awesome, exactly what I was looking for, and the build quality was excellent - but the first I ever heard of it was a comment on this very website! I recall seeing very little marketing for the phone that I did not search out on my own. Again, no doubt Sprint is partly to blame for that, as they seemed more interested in pushing iPhones at the time. But HTC could have marketed the phone more themselves.

The 4G was followed by the (gimmicky) 3D, followed by (gimmicky) Beats Audio, followed by the (very gimmicky) Facebook phone, followed by the One, with all the emphasis on the front-facing speakers (as if hordes of people were aching to use their phone as a party-machine). While there's no doubt that all of these gimmicks appealed to *someone*, none of them were enough to capture the attention of the masses. The vast majority of punters simply want a phone to do basic functions well, and one that will last them at least through the end of their contract with a minimum of fuss. If HTC is going to continue to focus on niche functions, then they can expect to continue to have niche-market sales.

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Re: doubling the marketing budget

I've got a One V, bought because it looked like a nice mid-range phone with a metal case, and reasonable camera/screen/audio. Unfortunately, it is a crap 'phone'. If you hold it at the bottom (normally) all signal drops out, including wi-fi. It also needs re-starting every couple of days due to it 'loosing' the SD card, or RAM getting so full a text message takes over a minute to load. A text message, seriously? I knew it was a slowish processor, so I don't expect any 3D gaming or whatever, but a text message should load instantly on ANYTHING!

So, yeah, maybe they should have focused less on gimmicks and more on making the phone actually work. I wont be buying another one.

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Re: EVO 4G was a breakout phone at the time

Have to agree about both the quality of the hardware and the piss poor Sprint support.

The EVO 4G was the first cell phone I ever bought for myself. The hardware and interface were great. It had the first logical and responsive touchpad I've ever used. BB and iPhone - on at least one character in the password the phone picks a character to the left, right, or above the character I think I'm pressing. I actually got it to play FB games at the time and was disappointed with the FB app. But since I didn't fully do my research I didn't hold it against the phone. What I was counting on was it having sufficient signal so I could use the phone as a hot spot for my laptop on my daily train commute. That's where it all fell apart. IF I could get a signal it was 3G at best, never 4G. And I live in the metropolitan DC area which is theoretically flooded with 4G towers. I broke the contract before the term ended and the problems were all on the Sprint end, not with HTC.

I've subsequently replaced it with a pay as you go, cheap ass clam shell non-smart phone.

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Re: doubling the marketing budget

Actually, the HTC One is probably one of the best "flagship" phones out there. HTC may have hit upon something in their desperation: Good design/build quality (which they always were never bad at), in addition to good fast hardware/software combo (which was always a hit-and-miss with HTC). The _pretty amazing_ low light performance camera, and the frankly very good speakers is a bonus.

I admit I've got one. I love it. And I am no HTC shill, having owned/long term used a Nexus 4+7, Samsung S2, HTC Desire, and a number of Nokias and Apples and Palms and HPs and all that.

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Apple won't have a problem.. the iSheep are BRAINWASHED.. so anything they bring out , they will COMPLY &BUY....

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love the thumbs down crowd.. just confirms the brainwashing aspect.

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On the contrary, it confirms that playground name calling isn't always well received. Especially when you have to shoehorn in the topic.

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FAIL

No, it just confirms that most people think that comments like "iSheep" are puerile and unnecessary!

I'm no great fan of Apple and iOS devices (though I love my Macbook Pro), but the iPhone and iPad are absolutely the right devices for some people, my wife included - just not for me.

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Anonymous Coward

I find it fascinating how though menotu has been down voted, there are certain stories on the reg where any reference to iSheep or Crapple or name your other cliched put down, would received unquestioned loyal up-voting.

I'm nit sure, but I think this is because there is a level of commonality or consensus as too which headlines more thoughtful readers find appealing.

I think readers like menotu wander into a set of thoughtful reader/article comments and then probably are thoroughly bewildered by the fact their usual thoughtless "vote for me" comment has failed to work and received only down votes.

But when you think about it, the very fact of this disparity would seem to illustrate there are headlines which appeal to the "rah-rah I love my preferred smartphone and want to bash everyone else's" type of reader. These articles probably with little real news or content (or news of a single data point that appears bad for the "hated" company), and that certain readers flock to these stories illustrates who the true sheep are.

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Anonymous Coward

ghah! that's quite a reasoned and thought-provoking comment you've made there on the nature of El Reg comments.... but now i'm in quandry as the whether to upvote or downvote...

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Trollface

"No, it just confirms that most people think that comments like "iSheep" are puerile and unnecessary!"

I agree. Putting an i in front of a word to insult them is just silly. Better would be something like "Ba-a-ahpple users".

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Apple won't have (as much of) problem because their profit per handset is much higher.

When volume drops HTC/Samsung will suffer, Apple less so.

Reasons for purchase are irrelevant.

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@Dave Fox: Exactly. I tried to explain recently that I ran two smartphones........

......a Desire X and a Lumia 820. My saying that I liked both did not go down well with the "Cognoscenti". Currently (because her old Nokia had given up the ghost) my good lady has taken over the Desire X and she is very pleased with it. She also has no problem with using my Lumia so all is well here at Arctic Fox Towers. Indeed a couple who are good friends are very pleased with their iPhones with the result that we have had some hands-on time with the iPhone 4S as well. Very decent phones, just not our cup of tea. I simply do not understand the "football supporter" mentality amongst some of our fellow members of the "Vanguard of the Commentariat".

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"I love my Macbook Pro ... the iPhone and iPad are absolutely the right devices for some people, my wife included"

You're no fan of Apple, but you take every opportunity to advertise that you have an Apple device, and how wonderful their products are... Whilst the OP was obvious flamebait, you do demonstrate the classic attitude that its users portray. Users of other products don't go on and on about it all the time.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark .

Yes, and some types of users just go on and on about how they hate Apple all the time. Compared to the insults that sometimes get thrown around on someone saying they quite like their MacBook is hardly worthy of ire.

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Coat

Selecting a system for the 'Users' needs

May I humbly suggest this article

http://www.osnews.com/story/27144/What_Users_Want_--_Selecting_a_System_for_i_Their_i_Needs

The poster may indeed have some Apple Products. I do as well. I use a MBP because it 'works' for me.

I have to use windows at work so using OS/X and Linux outside work makes a welcome change from fighting the 'MS knows best and you will do it this way mentality' of the windows environment. *

Those who blindly slag off the competition are showing biggoted behaviour. I used to use an Android phone. (both HTS and Samsung) but have given up on them and gone back to a dumb Nokia. The didn't work for me. I accept that they do work for a good many people so I won't go around slagging off Samsung and HTC. Yes they deserve complaint (no updates to the OS since 2.3) but that is not slagging them off in my book.

* That said, the quality/availability of many of the tools I need for work on windows still outstrips those for other environments

(see, I'm trying to be balanced in my criticism)

mines the one with the VMS doc set on CD in the Pocket.

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"On the contrary, it confirms that playground name calling isn't always well received. "

Pretty accurate though in this scenario. People don't buy phones because they need them but because other people have them and they're a fashion item. They're the male equivalent of a handbag frankly and its a bit pathetic.

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Re: @Mark .

Utter, unmitigated bullshit.

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Re: Re: @Mark .

That's nice dear

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PJI
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Read and comprehend. This set of comments and plenty on other topics are full of "I've got a Desire/Samsung/Lumia ... and I'm very ...." comments. People are actually trying to set the context for their opinions. Clearly, you too have got a fixed opinion. So tell us why yours is better founded.

We see what we want to see I suppose.

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h3
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If HTC want to sell to me they should get rid of the Sense UI. The hardware seems quite nice and reasonably well built.

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Yes, but

I'd be interested in a Nexus type device with rapid update release, but the carriers would not be. They want to crap up the phone, sell it for 6 months or so, then dump it and never bother to upgrade it.

The cell phone companies see the carriers as their customer, not us.

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Re: Yes, but

So cynical, but oh so true.

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Carriers are the customers

*We* are the product.

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Or you could do something highly mentally challenging and...

TURN IT OFF

I get so tired of sense whiners. They were doing it back when the HTC Diamond came out. Turn bloody sense off and use another launcher, there's enough of them! And if that's too much to ask buy an iPhone, its more your level somehow - or an Asha maybe..

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So, get the Google Edition? ;) If it isn't available in your region, get a regular one and flash the GE software.

Personally though, as with Touchwiz, you tend to lose more than you gain when you go to "stock", but it is nice to have the choice.

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Unhappy

Not a Bl**dy Asha

I was sent one tried it for a week, what a huge step backwards from a 6230i. It does nothing I need and probably everything that I do not want or need. It now sits on my desk and gets used once every 6 to 8 weeks as an alarm reminder, not as a phone. Useless modern junk.

I have been forced to continue using my 6230i.

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Yup - just got an HTC Desire C for a tenner a month on Tesco Mobile with more data and minutes than I'll ever use. Cracking little phone but the HTC sense stuff slows it up no end. Flashed to CyanogenMod10 and now got a brilliant little pocket rocket. Well, the camera is shocking, but I've got something better for that!

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Anonymous Coward

That'll be because it's hardware specs are paltry. Sense is pretty lightweight (or 5 is anyway).

I compared my HTC One with my friends low end Samsung, I get 40-70 FPS on the 3D mark and he gets 7-12.

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Huawei

So Blackberry, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and HTC are all on the skids and Apple is losing momentum.

Said it before, and I'll say this again, Huawei are the pony to watch in this race.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huawei - others are all on the skids

"HTC's fundamental problem is that you can only tell the product from a Samsung by looking at the back, so why not buy a Samsung?"

Biggest load of bollocks I have seen in a long time.

(Well since I showered earlier anyway).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huawei - others are all on the skids

So you can't tell the difference between plastic and aluminium?

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Meh

Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

I'm the reason these companies are about to lose money hand over fist. My current Android model is plenty good enough. I'm not swapping again until something really GOOD comes along. I'm talking Haswell chip, 1-week battery life, double the WiFi signal reception ability, etc. All the crap these companies have been selling for the last couple of years - huge fat phones with panoramic cameras and facial recognition, stupid money-sucking games, and non-stop Facebook and Twitter silliness - I don't want any of that crap anyway.

Give me:

1. WAY fewer dropped calls

2. WAY longer battery life

3. WAY better WiFi reception

4. WAY better chip

Then I'll buy a new phone. And you damn sure better give me a replaceable battery and a Micro SD card slot. Until then, my 2-year old Android has more crap on it than I ever use anyway, so I'm not buying a new one.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

Me too. My Galaxy S2 does all I want. There's nothing any other phone offers that is a compelling reason to upgrade. Just a slightly better this or slightly better that. Better battery life would get my vote.

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Unhappy

Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

My feelings exactly, why down grade by getting an 'upgrade'?

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

I agree with your comment, Andy, but if I may be permitted some nit-picking:

1. Dropped calls are more likely to be a carrier issue than a phone problem, though no doubt some improvement in reception is possible. We need more complete 3G coverage, not new-build 4G networks that will be confined to city centres for the next few years.

2. Battery technology has been stalled* at a few percent annual improvement for a couple of decades. Even leading edge stuff isn't offering massive improvement, and that's still on the lab bench and won't be in phones for many years. And all the other new stuff (e.g. 4G) needs more power.

3. Absolutely, though I think physical aerial size may be an issue.

4. I can't think why I'd need much more computational power than a quad-core 1.4GHz on a phone. Unless by 'better' you mean reduced power consumption (see 2).

Overall, I can't see me changing my S3 until it breaks or I lose it.

* The stalling is a result of fundamental electro-chemical properties. Whatever may give us an order of magnitude improvement in energy density will be physics (super-capacitors?), not chemistry IMHO.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

I have a DROID RAZR MAXX HD for most of these reasons.

It has a giant naff-off battery, a solid build, a microSD slot, and Motorola are one of the earliest mobile phone companies, so one assumes they know how to make a phone that doesn't drop calls.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

Supercapacitors are basically charge separation devices in which the separation is not as complete as in rechargeable batteries, so overall I do not see how they could possibly achieve the same energy density.

True capacitors have very limited charge separation (e.g. on polypropylene)

Electrolytics have partial separation at an interface, with wet electrolytics achieving higher energy density than dry.

Supercapacitors are basically electrolytics with very thin interface films and limited voltage.

In rechargeable batteries ions are actually separated out at the electrodes and stored in a different chemical form, so the potential amount of charge stored is much higher than for the other technologies.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

Funnily enough,, i've just come to the same conclusion. Gone onto a SIM only deal and keeping my Galaxy S2. Now its running android 4.2.2 it's stable and plenty fast enough.

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Unhappy

Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

5. WAY better software.

Frankly, I don't care how many games or other "apps" there are for the phone. Just make the essentials work as they should. The calendar and the contact list should n be two different and disconnected applications. I should be able to put a reminder to call John Smith at his mobile number and to set up a meeting with Jane Brown at her office.Then I should be able to search he calendar for the appointment and call the right number from the calendar. Or if the phone reminds me I am late I should be able to hit one button to dial the right number (I am driving and I am late - can't fiddle with the bloody phone to much, you see).

In short, I expect all the stuff those Nokias 6310 and 6210 (that someone mentioned) could do without breaking a sweat. Whoever does that (AND Andy's 4 points, especially battery life) will get my attention - even if it Apple. A email client that doesn't completely suck won't hurt, but neither is it essential.

So far, I am on the very first Galaxy S. Had my chances to play with colleague's and friends' newer Sammies and iDevices, saw no compelling reason to upgrade. The only phone I might consider switching to is 6230i, sorry. Oh, and my next phone has to be noticeably smaller - I need a phone, not a gaming console.

Sorry, got to make a call now...

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

Finally!

I've been waiting for this news to break, if only to silence the tablet fanatics ranting about how the desktop PC is dead and tablets are the only way of the future. All I can say is, welcome to the effects of market saturation! Once everyone who can afford one has one, you aren't going to sell any more - or at least, you're only going to sell at replacement levels. This is what has happened to the PC market, and it's what's happening to the tablet/smartphone market now.

The only reason IT has been a lucrative market up until now is because of the incremental advancement of the technology spurring upgrade purchasers. Contrast this with, say, transistor radios. A radio does one thing - it receives broadcast radio waves from a specified frequency, and converts those radio waves into sounds a human can hear. Thus the pocket radio reached saturation levels very quickly, because there's no real way to improve on such a simple function. A pocket radio from the 70s sounds much the same as a pocket radio from the 2000s, and does exactly the same thing.

Computers, on the other hand, for the past 30 years have been able to do more and more, have been increasingly put to more varying uses, and it is this ongoing extension of their abilities that has created an artificially long-lasting take-up market. I recall in the 80s, using a computer as a means of watching movies or listening to pre-recorded music (as opposed to C64 SID chiptunes and Amiga tracker mods) was unimaginable. They simply didn't have the memory or CPU power. I remember the first time I got an mp3 to play on my Amiga 1200 (and that was putting my 68030/68882 combo racer board through its paces as I recall!), and it opened up a whole new world of uses that had been inaccessible to computers before.

So with the increasing power of computers over the years, people continued to upgrade as new abilities were opened up by improvements in CPU, RAM and HDD capacity. After mp3 came avi, blocky and slow at first, but getting better until HD/Blu-Ray appeared. Then there was another round of upgrades to be able to play the new 720p and 1080p video, and a raft of increasingly realistic computer games (but can it play Crysis?!) Until now, 30+ years after the mass-market adoption of the first home computers, an application limit has been reached. There's nothing new that computers can do that they couldn't do 5 years ago.

My own current PC is a 2009 vintage 3.2 GHz quad-core AMD with 8GB of RAM that still does everything I need done, fast enough to satisfy my heaviest demands, and I have no plan to upgrade in the foreseeable future. This is why market stagnation has set in - just as it did with the humble transistor radio 40 years ago.

And now, it seems, that point has been reached with tablets and phones as well. At long last!

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

A pocket radio from the 70s sounds much the same as a pocket radio from the 2000s, and does exactly the same thing.

I think you'll find that a pocket radio from the 1970's sounds a damn sight better than one from the 2000's. They weren't so squeezed on margins then.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

The new Samsung Note is likely to have 3GB RAM. Make phones properly dockable and there is a good chance that my next phone will also be my next desktop.

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

Agreed. A dropped call would get in the way of MotoGoog doing this: http://www.beneaththewaves.net/Projects/Motorola_Is_Listening.html

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Re: Not in the mood to swap phones anymore

"....Then I'll buy a new phone"

You might want to add an additonal "feature", of not end-of-lifeing recent phones. I see the HTC One S has been orphaned by its makers barely a year after users were able to buy it, and HTC have form on this charge. HTC aren't alone here, and there's many others who saved a few bob by casting adrift the people who might otherwise have paid their salaries.

Most phone hardware makers struggle with software, and the concept of updating it, ignoring the fact that if I buy a premium hadset, I expect to have that support for a while. I see that Samsung are about to end support for the Galaxy S2 with a 4.2 Android release, and no intention to offer 4.3 or 5. If you're relentlessly short term in your logic, then Samsung are right to save the money and abandon the S2 users. On the other hand, it isn't the sort of thing that endears you to your customers.

The marketing droids in the various phone makers might care to consider that their beloved "brand" is only as durable or as disposable as the devices the name is printed on.

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