After a couple of slow quarters, HTC is trying to make a comeback of sorts in the Indian market with six new smartphones priced between Rs 13,990 and Rs 52,9990. While HTC has for some time been eyeing the mid-budget segment in India, it seems to be banking once again on its core, the high-end users. With HTC 10, the company admits, caters to users who don’t mind spending on a unique device — in other words, an expensive smartphone.
“Why do people buy a flagship phone? Simply because a flagship offers something unique. I don’t think people would mind paying that extra Rs 3,000 for a beautiful, unique phone that comes with the latest technology, in terms of camera, audio and more. That is the kind of consumers we are targeting with HTC 10 in India,” reasoned Faisal Sidiqui, President HTC South Asia. HTC 10, the Taiwanese company’s flagship, is priced the same as the new LG G5 and will compete with the likes of Samsung S7 series and the Apple iPhone 6s series.
However, the real comeback device for the company, which has not been in the pink of financial health for the past year or so seems to its virtual reality device. “We are looking to bring HTC Vive to India, in the next couple of months. The problem is we are in a sell-out situation – so much so that we can’t even meet the demands in the US right now. It is selling for $799 in the US, and Indian price obviously will be different. We will decided the price, as we come closer to launching the headset in the country.”
“I wouldn’t really call HTC 10 as the comeback device for the company, because we were very much there. I, however, admit our portfolio has been a little weak in the last 8-10 months. We had Rs 15,000 and below devices which were all 3G, and the market changed very quickly to 4G so we were actually surprised. We went back and created devices, which are all 4G ready. We will not create 3G devices anymore.”
Faisal says the six phones that HTC launched on Thursday are at different price points and cater to different segments. All the phones look different, he adds. “The HTC range has something or the other for every smartphone user in India. We want to go with the entire range and don’t leave any price point vacant.”
So, what sets HTC 10 apart from flagships like Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge and LG G5? Siddiqui says the biggest innovation is the camera. “The company has made huge strides on the camera front. Even the front camera in the phone comes with an OIS, making it the world’s first smartphone to offer it,” Faisal says. “In the past, our cameras have not been that great and that is why we have spent a lot of time getting the camera right this time,” he admits.
Audio, or the sound quality of HTC phones has always been one of its strengths. Faisal says they have carried this legacy forward with the HTC 10, bringing in the ability to optimise frequencies of right and left ear separately. “People hear differently from the left ear vs right ear. When you put the headsets on, you can actually tune the frequencies for the left and the right ear separately. Plus, its high-resolution audio, which makes for an immense clarity,” he explains.