It's tough in the mobile market. Really tough. And not just tough for start-ups trying to rival Apple
, but tough for industry mainstays like HTC. After a few years of wild growth and immense popularity, something turned for HTC. Sales grew weak, and despite the company pushing out absolutely phenomenal hardware, the market wasn't responding with much love. So, what happened? HTC
lost a ton of momentum, while Samsung swooped in and somehow grabbed the lion's share of Android devices sold. At this stage, Samsung is practically one with Android, but one has to wonder why HTC's (arguably superior) hardware isn't selling as well?
It could mostly boil down to marketing. Samsung's North American advertising has been top-shelf, with ads running on high impact television. And not just any ad -- great ads. Ads that poke fun of Apple, and ads that do an excellent job of resonating with potential customers. Meanwhile, HTC has been almost completely silent on the marketing front, despite having an incredible lineup of devices to gloat about. According to a new Wall Street Journal report, HTC actually saw one of its worst years to date in 2012, with earnings in Q3 2012 dipping to their lowest level in around 6 years. Compared to 2010, when it was ruling the roost in terms of Android sales, HTC's stock price is down some 80%.
Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou, however, has a bright outlook. While confessing that 2012 was rough, he noted that "the worst for HTC has probably passed." He continued: "Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven't done enough on the marketing front." It's true. HTC's marketing efforts have been quite weak in comparison to Samsung and even LG to some extent, but hopefully 2013 will see HTC making a renewed effort to get out in front of people, connect with carriers, and prove that its hardware can truly compete. The road isn't going to get any easier, though: with Ubuntu hitting mobile and Samsung committing to producing Tizen phones, people will soon have a few more options to consider.