HTC Shuns Cheap Phones
HTC sold 13.2 million smartphones in the third quarter, up 9 percent from the previous quarter, and the average selling price of its devices also climbed 0.6 percent to US$344. Most of the growth came from its high-end handsets such as the HTC Sensation and Rhyme. It also had a few entry-level products, such as the HTC Explorer and Wildfire, which helped it grow in emerging markets, but the company said it has no intention of entering the very entry-level market with sub-$100 phones.
"We have no interest in launching any low-priced smartphones because we do not want to make low-quality products," HTC CFO Winston Yung said on the call, refuting local reports to the contrary.
Instead, HTC plans to capitalize on the move from feature phones to smartphones and on dominating the high-end market with Android and Long Term Evolution (LTE). Yung said it will only dip as low as $200 to $250.
The strategy has so far paid off for the company, but there's still ground to be gained in the low end.
Attractive Android handset prices are falling, and a large subscriber base of price-sensitive, first-time buyers are seeking out low-cost phones with smartphone-like experiences. This is a growing market and an important one to target alongside higher ARPU smartphone subscribers. HTC may be short-sighted in ignoring this segment and might do well not to associate low cost with low quality. (See Hope for Nokia's Next Billion and Analyst: Nokia Faces Low-End Threat.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile