HTC has gone high end crazy this year, launching an array of flagship quality devices that all really are just off-shoots of the One M9, none of them particularly inspiring but all very good handsets. The company has now unveiled the One ME that for all intents and purposes is a renamed One M9+, although the new smartphone is not made of metal like the M9+.
There is little doubt that the HTC One M9 disappointed on so many levels and sales have taken a major hit as consumers turned away from the flagship. The Taiwanese company is now reeling without a successful flag waving handset in most markets, but HTC has said it will launch another top line smartphone later in the year and judging by early rumors it is going to re-introduce us to the HTC we know and love.
The HTC One M9+ is a higher spec'd version of the company's M9 flagship, it was launched as an Asian exclusive and HTC said that it would not be heading to Europe or North America. However, if you do live in Europe, you can still get your hands on the device as Dutch retailer GSSMinfo is now offering the unlocked version of the handset, although it is hugely expensive.
HTC is now rolling out Android Lollipop to its One Max, the oversized version of the company's old One M7 flagship. The company is finally getting around to this update because the Max is still a solid mid-range phablet, although it was not a big seller, most consumers preferring (rightly) the more compact One M7.
HTC has wasted no time in shooting down rumors that it is talk to merge with fellow Taiwanese company ASUS. The funny thing about the whole story is that the initial report came straight from ASUS, with the company's chairman Johnny Shih saying that he is not ruling out the possibility of his company purchasing troubled HTC at some point.
HTC has been decking its smartphone portfolio out with high end devices, including the One M9 flagship. However, stocks are plummeting and the M9 is tanking on sales charts, leading to plenty of worry within the company. With that mind, HTC needs to deliver some device that capture the imagination, as the One M7 and to some extent the One M8 did.
Over the last eighteen months, HTC has gone from struggling to recording profit most quarters, but the company has not enjoyed significant growth. Indeed, margins have been slim and one slip would mean a plunge back into the red, something that is now happening. The new One M9 flagship has not been received well and sales are sluggish and HTC is in trouble as a result.
When Google announced Android L (later to be Lollipop) at its I/O event last year, HTC was one of the first companies to confirm its flagship handsets would get the software, even though L was six months away from release. Fast forward to this year, the same day Google unveiled Android M at I/O, and HTC has once again promised to deliver swift upgrades to the software when it is launched (likely this October or November).
HTC has been very busy so far this year and has released twelve smartphones in just five months. Yes, some of those were regional specific devices, or minor variants of existing models, but nevertheless 2015 has been all hands on deck for the company. Sales have been worryingly sluggish though as the One M9 flagship failed to impress a wide consumer base. A solid mid-range device available to all could be the answer to HTC's problems (at least short term), so the HTC A50C is something to look forward to.
HTC's Butterfly J series has often led the company in a pure hardware perspective, launched as Japanese exclusives these handsets are unlikely to ever be released elsewhere. The new J Butterfly fits all that well, it is the most decked out smartphone HTC has ever made, which is really quite something considering the smartphone flagship blitz the company has been on recently.