HTC was a leader in mobile innovation, being the first in many areas of mobile technology. Unfortunately, it has struggled the last few years and it looks like there is no possible way to recover now.
According to a Reuters report of its June 2018 financials, year-over-year sales for June have fallen a massive 68 percent. This is the largest decline in sales in more than two years.
Companies can usually count on new flagship devices selling reasonable well and helping with financials, but with the troubled HTC U12 Plus we are likely to see even worse financials reported in the future. The unreliable haptic buttons, lower-than-average battery life, and high price make the U12 Plus a phone I cannot recommend.
Smartphone reviewers across the mobile landscape have universally slammed the device and while I personally thought my 7.4/10 rating and review was harsh, we see ratings varying from 3 to 7 out of 10 so there are many out there that have even stronger feelings than I do.
The Reuters report cites an HTC estimate of a production volume of less than two million units for 2018. OnePlus recently announced it had sold one million units in just 22 days, which is rather incredible for a phone sold sight unseen from a single website and no carrier support.
The HTC Vive headset is a phenomal virtual reality experience, but in addition to paying at least $500 to $800 for the headset a user needs a high powered desktop computer to power the Vive and an ample amount of empty space. The cost of entry for the Vive VR experience is too high for the masses and I'm not convinced it will help the company survive much longer.
Apple and Google are actively bringing AR to mobile and showing that these experiences appeal to the masses at a minimal additional cost of entry. VR appeals to heavy duty gamers and there are some enterprise uses for it, but I think HTC will need a larger partner to support its Vive products and continue to develop this technology.
I bought my first HTC device in 2000 or 2001 with a Compaq iPaq PDA and have been quite a fan of its products for nearly 20 years. However, I canceled my pre-order of the HTC U12 Plus after using an evaluation unit and think I am finally ready to let them go the way I had to let go of Windows Phone a couple of years ago.