MANILA, Philippines — Taiwan-based mobile phone maker HTC said it is keeping itself out of the brewing low-cost smartphone war among such vendors as Korean firms Samsung and LG and instead would focus on delivering premium phones to the local market, executives said Thursday.
HTC made the intriguing remark amid the launch of its three new Android-powered smartphones to the market, one of which — the Desire C — is just a thousand-peso shy of bridging the P10,000 price point.
Newly installed HTC Country Manager Richard Javier showed no concern about the company’s most recent tack, stressing how the phone maker is focused on making premium smartphones built on the cornerstones of quality design.
“The company is really trying to build quality products and with quality, we’d like to have the proper price with it,” Javier told InterAksyon after the launch of the new smartphones.
Javier said this tactic has led them to become “more meticulous” in the products they send out to the market, pointing out how they don’t want to come out to consumers “just because we have a lower price point.”
In recent months, low-cost but also low-powered Android smartphones from Samsung and LG have dominated the market, with Samsung’s Galaxy Y and LG’s Optimus L3 lowering the barrier to entry for Android with their sub-P6,000 price points.
With this positioning, HTC’s top honcho said they want to be known as a brand consumers could consider when they’re thinking of upgrading their Android smartphone experience.
“We feel that consumers right now are trying to go for quality products, and they want to try to experience Android using different hardware,” Javier said. “That is why we’re going up to the upgrade business.”
Despite the Philippines being known as a price-conscious market, HTC said it hopes to bring the point home that quality phones can become affordable, too.
“Everybody is doing social networking right now, and a lot of the users are very techie. At the end of the day, they would still see our products as affordable because there are a lot of things you can do with quality products,” Javier added.
Official market figures, however, seem to be going against the Taiwanese phone maker’s strategies of late. According to IDC, HTC’s dwindling market share took a 23.3 percent hit year-on-year during the first quarter of 2012, leaving the company at the fifth spot in the global smartphone race with a 4.8 percent global market share.
HTC executives, however, were bullish with the upcoming offerings from HTC, hinting at the impending release of its Windows Phone 8 smartphone by the end of the year, as well as a possible tablet offering.
Thursday’s event heralded the launch of two new additions to the company’s Desire family of smartphones, namely the HTC Desire C and the HTC Desire V.
The Desire C, touted as the cheapest Ice Cream Sandwich-powered phone today, features a fine metallic trim with micro-holes that make it water-resistant; a high-grade plastic finish; a bright 3.5-inch HVGA display; a 5-megapixel camera and comes with a set of earphones by Beats Audio.
The Desire V, on the other hand, comes fitted in a high-grade plastic finish with a small brushed-metal plate near the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash; a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; a 4.0-inch display; and an active dual-sim capability.
The two mid-range smartphones retail for just P10,990 and P16,990, respectively.
On the other hand, HTC also announced the local availability of the HTC One S, the last piece of the triumvirate of smartphones in the HTC One family unveiled during the Mobile World Congress in February.
The HTC One S is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU and comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen. It is fitted inside an ultra-slim 7.99-inch metal unibody that features a gradient color design. It will retail for P26,990 at retail stores beginning tomorrow, along with the two mid-tier phones.