Even With Iron Man, HTC Is Losing the Android Wars

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Robert Downey Jr. pitching HTC handsets. Sources: HTC, YouTube.

Pity poor HTC . The Taiwanese handset maker is suffering shrinking sales even as Robert Downey Jr. -- a.k.a. Tony Stark and "Iron Man" -- pitches its wares.

Revenue plummeted 33% on lagging handset sales in the third quarter, and further declines are expected in Q4. Specifically, management pegs its fourth-quarter haul at NT$40 billion to NT$45 billion. Cost cuts and gains from selling its stake in Beats Electronics should help the company eke out a small profit during the same period, executives said in a call with analysts. Yet it's the downward trend that matters.

Android competition seems to be a big part of the problem. Here in the U.S., HTC saw its share of smartphone subscribers dip 1.3 percentage points from May to August, the largest decline among the majors tracked by comScore. At 7.4%, HTC now enjoys less than one-third Samsung's share of the market and not even a fifth of Apple's commanding 40.7% portion.

HTC is following in other ways, too. The new HTC One Max is the first Android smartphone with a fingerprint sensor, but Apple introduced a similar feature last month in the popular iPhone 5s and 5c. About the only thing that makes the company distinctive is Downey's backing and the quirky ads he's starred in.

Then again, maybe the ads are also part of the problem. Remember the video at the top? The entire premise is that no one really knows what HTC stands for, ending, ultimately, on the refrain "here's to change" without ever defining what users should change from.

In the meantime, HTC is chasing its own tail with yet another new handset (i.e., the Desire) that's modeled after lower-end smartphones such as the iPhone 5c. In that sense -- and maybe this is the biggest problem of all -- HTC doesn't stand so much for "haute troll couture" or "hot tea catapult" or "here's to change," but simply "hard to create," especially when it comes to a smartphone the market deems truly innovative.

HTC's new low-end Desire handset. Source: HTC.

Don't settle for the knock-off
Apple's newest iPad Mini with Retina display might be hard to come by this quarter, given all the reports of supply constraints. Well, we're going to be sure to get a few -- and give them away! That's right: For the first time ever, The Motley Fool is hosting a contest where you can win a free iPad Mini with Retina display. All you have to do is tell us why you love The Motley Fool by clicking here! We'll pick the three most Foolish submissions to receive a free iPad Mini with Retina display.

See full terms and conditions by clicking here

The article Even With Iron Man, HTC Is Losing the Android Wars originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the  Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading