HTC is going to be making fewer devices in 2012 in favor of quality. Good move or bad move?
Overall do you think this is a smart move for not just HTC but handset manufactures in general? If you take Motorola over the past couple months they released the Razr, Razr MAXX and then the Razr Developer edition. That's three variants of one phone which to the general consumer is not that big of a deal but it does upset people when they spend $299 on a phone only to see a better one come out less than 6 months later.
If HTC, Moto and Samsung moved to a model similar to Apple where one stand out device comes out every 12-18 months would you be happy? Take it one step further what if they offered an entry level ($99), mid level ($149) and top tier ($299) on that same cycle to allow for more options would this be better; I understand that is kind of what is happening now but I'm talking this would be 3 phones across all four US providers not 10+.
I think no matter what happens they are realizing more does not always mean better.
Due to the fact that a person who gets a new Android phone will only have the top of the line hotness for about 3 months, iPhone has re-taken over the reigns of the most popular mobile OS. Yes it's also because iPhone is on more carriers, but simplicity is a big issue with people who don't want to learn what's up with Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Mango, etc when their friend simply has iOS. I venture that most people don't care about operating system, they just want their phone to work and be simple.
Android phones change so much so quickly. They will continue to lose market share because of this. Apple has Airplay and no company will make a stereo dock for the HTC (fill in the blank) 2 because the phones don't have the legacy and ability to cross platform that iPhone has. I love bluetooth too, but more options is better than less. Having an iPhone means you have no trouble finding a charger if you are low on battery. The chargers and cases are cheaper and there are more options. It also means that you can easily put your music on countless stereos wherever you go.
Over the past little while, I've noticed that most people are not very tech savvy (they hardly know how to do things that we would consider common knowledge) and we already know the natural trait of people not liking to learn new things. This is why the iPhone does so well. It is simple so there isn't much to learn and like you said it doesn't change every two weeks.
Isn't the whole point of a smart phone to make your life easier and more simple? Well, I don't get that feeling with my Android phone and I also have an iPod touch, so I am in somewhat of a position to compare.
And obviously if you are a manufacturer of accessories you are going to prefer the more stable release cycle of the iPhone.
Also, another interesting point, we may not find a point in Samsung releasing 5+ different galaxy models in the US but, when I was in HK & Philippines, I noticed that it actually makes sense for Samsung to have so many variations since people actually want different choices there. In Hong Kong I saw a bunch of people with the Note or the standard GSII. In Philippines, my younger cousins would rather get the Galaxy Y rather than the GSII since the Y targets the youth demographic. This also goes for the different tablet sizes as I saw many different people with varying sizes of the Galaxy Tab.
This way, a company can target specific demographics (S for adults and Y for youth for example) yet offer three different choices at different price points.
It's also important to offer all the different choices at the same time so people won't feel shafted a couple months later (similar to how the Razr Maxx came out 2 months after the Droid Razr).
Then the Samsungs and HTCs know what works and will put more money into "winning products" rather than not making money and failing to push the envelope of what is possible in a phone.
Another good way is to release the same phone for all the carriers (CDMA version for Verizon the exception of course). Rebranding the same phone with different textures and different names for each carrier is just a waste of money, not to mention confusing.
The other reason this would be good is so that they could streamline and improve their support chain. Fewer models means fewer support manuals.
In the end, I think quality control drives some of this model multiplication. Every phone from every manufacturer has one issue or another when it is first released. When the problems are identified, they update chipsets or change the buggy component and then they will have to get it approved by the FCC all over again. I'm sure they figure if they have to go through that hell again anyway, they might as well just redesign the board too and throw on whatever the latest parts are at the time as way of enticing upgrades.
There are a lot more factors that go into the decisions behind these changes than just wanting to sound like the latest and best gadget. I would wager that reducing the model count won't affect the balance sheet much at all, if any. However, the one place it could pay off in huge yet uncertain dividends is in the human factor - satisfied, less confused customers who are now more likely to recommend the brand to a friend when someone asks them what phone to buy.
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