HTC Offers iPhone Owners $150 to 'Trade Up' to the HTC One

HTC, with a "Here's to Challenge," is offering $150 or more to owners of iPhones and other devices who buy the One by Sept. 30.

HTC says it will pay $150 or more to owners of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 who trade in their smartphones for the HTC One by Sept. 30.

The Apple iPhone 5C—and the C, ahem, stands for colorful, not costly, as has been suggested—will be available for preorder tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 13. Along with the higher-end iPhone 5S (speedy? super-duper?), it will go on sale Sept. 20.

But to those owners of older iPhones who are open to new ideas—and cash—HTC says: "Here's to Challenge." And, can we interest you in the HTC One, about which no shortage of reviewers have said nice things?

In an example of "and more," HTC will pay $250 for a 16GB iPhone for the AT&T or T-Mobile networks. The top "trade-up" offer is $300.

Really, HTC will accept all kinds of phones for trade-in—and also pay well below $150, if sometimes nothing, for older ones. (BlackBerry Bold 9930, $59. HTC Evo 4G, zippo.)

Still, it's a nice offer, and another example of HTC hustling to attract attention to its flagship device in a market that couldn't be more competitive.

HTC earlier this year revamped its marketing efforts and in August released a campaign starring actor Robert Downey Jr. and playing off the initials in its name—the actual provenance of which hasn't been made known.

(HTC has said that that while High Tech Computer and Happy Telephone Company are good guesses, they're not correct.)

During the second quarter of 2013, smartphone shipments grew 47 percent annually, from 156.5 million to 229.6 million, according to Strategy Analytics.

In a Sept. 12 report, the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute reported, "The share Apple, Samsung and HTC have lost in the high-end smartphone market is mainly taken over by second-tier branded vendors. The lower entry barrier to the high-end market and a lack of differentiation has freed the high-end sector from the dominance of Apple, Samsung and HTC."

Samsung, the market leader, is nonetheless in excellent shape, and while Apple's sales have dipped, they're expected to shoot back up with the release of the iPhone 5S and 5C.

HTC, however, continues to struggle to find buyers who are willing to consider devices not made by Samsung or Apple. During the second quarter, the pair together controlled 47 percent of the market, while third-ranking LG claimed just a 5 percent share—up from 4 percent the quarter before.

HTC saw profits dive more than 80 percent during the second quarter.

"My leadership team continues to focus on execution," HTC CEO Peter Chou said in a July 30 statement. "We are seeing expected results as we fill the channels and meet demand for the new HTC One."

On July 18, HTC introduced a tinier version of the One, the One Mini, which was in and out of headlines. Chou added that in the second half of 2013, HTC is "looking forward to delivering great products and results."

To take advantage of HTC's offer, consumers must purchase an HTC One or One Mini by Sept. 30 and send in their their trade-up device by Oct. 12.