Is HTC Shifting its Focus Towards Virtual Reality?
The future of HTC is currently in a very precarious state. Among all the well established mobile brands currently in existence, none of them have had a dry spell as bad as HTC of late. The company has had a series of disappointing launches ever since the launch of the One M9. Both that and the One A9 failed to please its fans.
Of late, we’ve heard a lot about HTC’s upcoming flagship device, the One M10. We’ve seen a lot of renders and heard a lot about its rumoured specifications that have been quite coldly received. One of the reason could be that the One M10’s design language (from what the leaked images tell us) is going to be a lot like the One A9, which was criticised for its apparent iPhone-like design. Secondly, the specifications aren’t too hot, especially coming off the MWC 2016 where the likes of Samsung, LG and Xiaomi blew the audience away with gorgeous phones, next-gen specs and at least one brand new technology, mostly in the camera department.
HTC was present at the MWC as well, but did not unveil its flagship as many had hoped. Instead, the company unveiled some mid-range Desire phones and presented its Vive virtual reality headset. HTC has lately been promoting the Vive VR a lot and everything seems to be about that. It’s understandable that HTC would look to its VR technology to help save a dying company which is why the company has recently stated that it is deeply involved in mobile VR solutions that might end up in future HTC flagship phone.
HTC demoed its Vive VR ecosystem at the MWC and also revealed the pricing which stands at $800 and will go on sale in April. The Vive VR may be a great new product from HTC that is entering a very nascent virtual reality market with only a handful of competitors (think Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift). But is its focus on VR potentially hurting its flagship smartphones?
Last month, HTC CEO, Chairwoman and co-founder Cher Wang said that VR is now more important to the company than smartphones are. But VR technology alone may not help save the company for long. If it needs to survive, it needs to bring out a flagship device that will once again captivate the audience as it once did with the One M7. HTC has stated recently that the One M10 will have a “very, very compelling camera”.
When HTC announced the UltraPixel technology with the One M8, fans were expecting a camera that would deliver some spectacular photographs. But the One M8 failed to deliver. The company went back to the traditional megapixel with the One M9 which again wasn’t well received, not when the market is incredibly tough with the likes of Samsung, LG and Apple.
It is now rumoured that HTC will once again use the UP technology in the One M10. But if the company has managed to learn from its mistakes, the UP technology could be exactly what HTC had intended. The rear camera is rumoured to sport a 12UP module with OIS and autofocus while the front still is unknown.
But “compelling camera” aside, how about a brand new design that at least brings back the BoomSound speakers? We’ll just have to wait and see what HTC plans on revealing in April. This year will indeed be the deciding factor for the future of the company.