HTC Introduces One M8 Smartphone, Available Today
HTC CEO Peter Chou also used the term, saying the M8 is "aware of its environment and so it can know what you may want to do. It's like a sixth sense." "Must … resist … obvious … 'Sixth Sense' joke …" Technology Business Research Analyst Jack Narcotta tweeted during HTC's event, referring to the movie in which several of the main characters are dead. HTC, with the One M8, is of course trying to pull a foot (if not both feet) out of the grave. While the company has made several very good phones, its brand or marketing machine—or maybe its phones—have been no match for the machine that is Samsung. "Last year, HTC made a great smartphone and nobody bought it," Jan Dawson, principal analyst with Jackdaw Research, tweeted during the event. "Why do we expect the result to be any different now, absent better marketing?""HTC's problems lie in marketing and brand awareness, not in the phone itself," Dawson said in a blog post after the M8 event. "If you want a premium experience today, you choose an iPhone, and if you really want to use Android, you choose a Samsung Galaxy phone. HTC simply hasn't carved out more than a tiny niche for itself in the market." Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen told eWEEK that we're living in a replacement market, meaning that today basically everyone who wants a smartphone now has one. "Do I need the new sensor? Is the visual appeal enough to make me switch? For the most part, no," said Nguyen. "So what you're seeing is HTC and others realize that they have to expand the ecosystem, and that's why you see all of these announcements around wearables." Why would people who aren't buying HTC phones buy an HTC wearable? "The point is, I already have a similar device, regardless of how HTC wants to position it," Nguyen said. "What is this phone bringing to me that's so much greater than what I have that it will make me want it? That's what makes this [smartphone] era so competitive and difficult." Still, Nguyen agrees that advertising—which is emotional—will have to be part of the solution for HTC. "The emotional appeal at this point is still tied to the ecosystem. … Before it was, ‘Look at what these smartphones can do!' Now, I already do those things. You have to take the emotional appeal to the next level." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
HTC last year introduced an ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. that, while fun to watch, did nothing to sell the phone. (It was reportedly the first year of a two-year, $1 billion campaign.)