HTC's May sales show signs of life, but worries abound

HTC's May revenue tally brings it back to late 2012 levels, but there are a bevy of wild cards. The biggest worry is that HTC's sales going forward will start falling again.

HTC's May sales perked up month over month as component shortages plaguing its flagship One device ease. However, smartphone buyers---no matter how enamored they are with the HTC One---need to monitor corporate events to make sure the company can stay in the game.

In a statement, HTC said that May revenue was NT$29 billion, a tally that was well above April sales. Macquarie analyst Daniel Chang estimates that HTC shipped 2.3 million devices in May.



But here's the catch: May could be HTC's peak sales month for the quarter. Chang sees June shipments falling 15 percent to 20 percent from April. Overall, he's expecting HTC sales for the quarter to be NT$73 billion to NT$74 billion, ahead of the company's guidance.

Why do HTC's corporate machinations matter to someone just looking to buy a device? You want to make sure that you buy a device that won't be orphaned in two or three years. HTC's situation isn't that dire, but the reality is the company is no Samsung or Apple in the financial health department.

I've pondered these items as I look for my next smartphone. I prefer the HTC One over the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is just too damn big for me. You might as well hold an iPad mini up to your ear.

The variables in the buying decision go like this:

  • HTC may not have another device to follow up the One.
  • The company is getting carrier support. Verizon's move to add the HTC One is a boon for the smartphone maker.
  • HTC operating chief, Matthew Costello has handed over his responsibilities after a flawed One launch, according to Bloomberg. Other executives could also leave. That reality could hurt HTC's product cadence.
  • HTC's market share, roughly 4 percent, means that the company isn't a lock for carrier distribution.

The risk with HTC isn't necessarily that its devices will die. The risk is that HTC will falter and devices could be orphaned. I'd put that risk as fairly low right now, but nevertheless it's a worry when buying a device under a two year contract. No one wants to be stuck with a Palm Pre.



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