HTC just keeps growing and growing and before we know it they’re going to be, like, a major player in the mobile hardware space. Oh wait, I guess when your market cap is bigger than those of Nokia and RIM, you kinda sorta already are a major player, no?
The Taiwanese smartphone maker reported record profits and revenue in the first quarter of this year thanks to growing legions of smartphone users gobbling up their Android phones (and a couple of WinPhone 7 devices, too). For the quarter ending March 31, HTC reported earnings of $14.8 billion Taiwanese dollars ($513 Million USD), almost tripling what they did in the same quarter last year. Revenue was up some 175% over last year, to $104.2 billion Taiwanese. Both numbers beat analyst forecasts by notable margins.
James Kendrick and I devoted this week’s Good to Go to talking about why HTC is doing so well, and how they’re positioned to continue their successful run. For HTC it’s not just about great hardware, great software, allegiance to a single platform or growing their mindshare through widespread, emotionally savvy marketing. It’s about all of these things.
With the company’s first tablet computer, the Flyer, set to hit U.S. shelves in the near-term (as the Evo View for Sprint), HTC’s growth may well continue. Also, don’t forget that in addition to their Sense user experience platform, HTC also now has a stake in the content game. Earlier this year they acquired Saffron Media Group, aka Saffron Digital, a digital multimedia delivery company. They also invested $40 Million USD in Onlive, a tech company offering on-demand, instant-play gaming services. Flyer/Evo View will take advantage of both acquisitions, offering gaming via Onlive and debuting the new “HTC Watch” service for streaming movies to the tablet.
With even entry-level smartphones and tablets now offering decent or better versions of the staples (Web, Email, audio/video playback), content and user experience could play a bigger and bigger role in determining whose devices separate themselves from the pack on retail shelves. HTC has a long history of working to add value to their hardware in the way of customized user interfaces and other offerings (Sense was around well before Android hit the scene). It just might be that that expertise is set to pay off in a big way for them. Actually, it kind of is already.