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Are HTC losing the Android battle?

Android

Image supplied by flickr.com/photos/jdhancock

As Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC announce quarterly profits to be down 25% on the same period last year, are they losing the mobile battle?

In a week where Korean rivals Samsung announced a 73% rise in profits for the same period, this must be worrying news for HTC. As the fourth biggest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia you may wonder what all the fuss is about, but Samsung is most definitely the one to worry about as their devices run Android, as apposed to Apple with iOS and Nokia’s recent venture into Windows mobile.

As a smartphone user, jumping ship from one operating system to another is a big decision, changing mobile manufacturer but retaining the same ecosystem is an easy, almost casual decision to make. This is why Samsung, and not Nokia or Apple are to be seen as HTC’s main competition.

So where is it going wrong? HTC certainly make some very sexy devices, but Samsung seem have stolen a lead on a number of fronts:

  • AMOLED – Samsung’s display technology is superb, and is really the only technology to rival Apple’s Retina technology as found on the iPhone 4 and 4S.
  • Google – The home of Android. Google has very recently released its second smartphone, and once again this is made by Samsung. By association, Samsung could be said to be the incumbent when it comes to Android.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich - aka Android 4.0. The latest incarnation of Android is leaps and bounds above previous releases, and already Samsung devices are available with ICS installed. At the time of writing HTC seem to be stuck in Gingerbread land (the previous version of Android), and it is not clear which HTC devices will be able to be upgraded.
  • NFC – We think NFC will be massive. We won’t go into the details in this article, but already Samsung have hit the market with NFC devices, whereas HTC (and Apple for that matter) to date are a no-show.

I think HTC has every chance of recovering, they make some really nice devices, but they are guilty of taking their eye off the ball and allowing Samsung to be the market leader on Android devices. HTC have a lot of work to do and will no doubt come back fighting, which can only serve to benefit us, the consumers.

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