The HTC One is just days away from being launched, and already the device is being tipped to take the Android crown for 2013. But once HTC’s newest flagship model is launched, what can we expect to see from the Taiwanese manufacturer?
While HTC might not be as secretive as Apple or even Samsung about its new releases, it would seem that the company is still playing its cards close to its chest in relation to details about the One's succeeding models.
That said, while it might not be possible to predict the specs, features and functions of the next HTC release, we may well be able to guess HTC’s next strategic move.
With the influx of new smartphone models entering the market each year, the way that manufacturers attempt to keep on top of the game has had to adapt to the ever changing nature of the competition. So can we look at the marketing strategies of some of the big names in the mobile phone world for some insight into HTC’s plan for 2013?
Apple has long been considered the king of consumer electronics, and the iPhone, in its many variations, is still one of the most popular devices in the world today.
So how can Apple’s marketing strategy help us to second-guess what other mobile phone manufacturers might be planning for 2013? You just need to look at Apple’s range of products over the last couple of years to see a general trend- a pattern which is based around one thing: handset size.
Although there’s an obvious progression in size amongst the iPhone range itself- the iPhone 3, 4 and 4S all sport a 3.5 inch screen, whereas the latest iPhone 5 features a slightly larger 4 inch display- this doesn’t give us much of a clue about other manufacturers’ plans in relation to their 2013 releases, especially as most smartphones are already exceeding the iPhone 5’s 4 inch screen.
A general pattern emerges, however, when Apple’s products are lined up side by side.
As you can see, the strategy for Apple is simply to provide its users with a device that suits everyone’s needs in terms of size. We’ve had the iPhone since 2007, and in 2010, we saw the iPad, Apple’s first tablet, sporting a 9.7 inch screen. Apple’s strategy to bridge the gap between smartphone and tablet, however, was demonstrated with the release of the iPad Mini, which features a 7.9 inch screen.
And with rumours reporting that Apple is set to launch the iPhone Mini, we can only speculate that Apple’s intentions are to launch a series of devices, which all look identical, and tick each box in terms of their dimensions.
What's worth noting is that all of Apple’s devices look remarkably similar. It takes one glance at either an iPhone, iPad, or iPad Mini, to register that the device is an Apple product, and that it constitutes part of Apple’s smartphone and tablet range.
With Samsung fast becoming the most popular phone manufacturer in the world, it is also worth seeing whether we can learn anything from its marketing strategy which may shed some light on what 2013 will bring.
Although Samsung, unlike Apple, has released tens of smartphones and tablets over the years, a clear trend has emerged more recently, demonstrating Samsung's attempts to offer its users a complete range of devices in terms of size.
You just need to look at Samsung’s popular smartphone, the Galaxy S3, which has a 4.8 inch screen, next to the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung’s second phablet, which boasts a 5.5 inch display. In the tablet range, Samsung has just revealed its new Note 8 at this year's MWC, which sports an 8 inch screen; a step down from the Note 10, which, as you might have guessed, has a 10 inch display.
Further to that, however, Samsung has even recognised that its Galaxy S3 might be considered too large for some mid-range smartphone users, and has released the Galaxy S3 Mini as a result, to cater for this gap in the market.
Moreover, with the Galaxy S4 predicted to have a 4.99 inch screen as an attempt to close the gap between the existing S3 and Note 2, and the Note 3 purportedly having a 6.3 inch screen, it is clear that Samsung is attempting to tick every sized box in its smartphone and tablet range. Less focus is being put on what the devices look like; after all, in the Galaxy line-up, you’d probably struggle to tell the difference between the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 and the Note 8, handset size aside.
Another change in strategy that we have seen with other mobile phone manufacturers is the number of devices it releases at any one time.
For instance, last year saw Sony reveal its Xperia range with the S, T and the V models at MWC in Barcelona, whereas this year’s CES saw Sony unveiling only one device - the Xperia Z.
Sony then chose to follow up with the Xperia Z tablet at MWC last month. If you just look at the two devices, one thing is clear: both the Xperia Z smartphone and tablet look identical in terms of design.
So how likely is it that HTC will follow its impressive flagship model with a mini, or even a super-sized version of the One? And what will these devices look like?
As you can see, Apple and Samsung have set the trend of launching identical-looking devices in a variety of handset sizes, with Sony following suit with its Xperia Z smartphone and tablet early this year. It seems highly unlikely that HTC would ignore this growing trend, which has proven to be successful in some of the biggest consumer-led companies to date.
A HTC One Mini, or perhaps a HTC One phablet, then, seems the likely next move for the Taiwanese manufacturer.
After all, we have already seen HTC’s strategy mimicking that of Sony; last year HTC launched its One series of smartphones with the One SV and the One X at MWC in February, as did Sony with three of its Xperia devices.
This year, however, the Taiwanese manufacturer has only unveiled a single device, again, like Sony. This leads us to believe that HTC’s next move will be to unveil an identical looking device with different handset dimensions.
So surely this pattern discussed can’t just be a coincidence? Especially with HTC’s One being acclaimed as a real game-changing device, it is highly unlikely that the company will choose against replicating the successful design in the form of a phablet, a tablet and even a smaller smartphone.
All of this, of course, is only speculation. But with the growing trend being set by the biggest companies within the mobile phone arena, there surely must be some level of reality in our predictions.
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel