Can HTC be the tech omnibus it wants to be?
Up until recently, HTC was known for its phones and occasionally tablets. Phones were pretty much HTC’s bread and butter. But as many of us know, diversification is key when it comes to big business – don’t put all your eggs into one basket and all that. So last year, HTC decided it was time to diversify when it released the HTC One M9, the HTC Vive (now the Vive Pre), and the HTC Grip. Since then, it has added the HTC Healthbox. So HTC has diversified, and it has done some pretty smart things along the way.
Entering the correct fray
First of all, HTC has chosen the right areas to diversify into. If anything was made clear to me at CES, it’s that fitness and VR are here and they’re here in a big way. So in branching out to fitness accessories and VR, HTC made the right decisions. The HTC Vive Pre is a really great VR headset that will make an impact in the industry. Of that I have no doubt. And in the HTC Healthbox the idea is to make a whole ecosystem in the health industry so that you can have a ton of information about your body at a moment’s notice.
Also, consider that HTC isn’t going this alone. Under Armor is a partner with HTC for all of its health offerings. That is one of the best partners to make when it comes to health tracking and fitness. Under Armor is a solid brand. I mean, they must be. They were on the doors at Wrigley Field, so that makes them infallible right? But in all seriousness, Under Armor is one of the go-to brands when it comes to health and fitness, so this is a solid partnership idea as far as HTC is concerned.
Messaging is as vital as product
But we’ve learned that partnerships and choosing the right space aren’t the only ingredients in this recipe for success. HTC still has a pretty bad marketing problem. Beyond the Robert Downey Juniors and the Gary Oldmans, we still have to deal with the fact that the HTC Grip was announced and then forgotten. HTC needs to keep these products moving forward, especially if they’re not in the hands – or on the wrists, as the case may be – of users already. Of course, that’s just one product. Products rise and fall all the time *cough* *cough* TouchPad *cough*. So, if a product dies, it’s not the end of the world, but let us know that it’s dead so we can move on. Even more importantly, learn form your mistakes and push forward.
Very little has been said about Healthbox, which is a pretty cool product. I mean, it went on sale yesterday, so there’s that. You know how I know that? I read our hands on – not because of any commercials or ads that I saw. I get that HTC probably doesn’t have a bottomless budget like certain other companies, but honestly, you need to spend money to make money. So start spending already.
Design and UX go a long way
HTC has shown that it gets design and user experience. Those two things will get you a long way in many different markets. If it takes those attributes and applies them to other areas, HTC could build up a pretty decent portfolio over the long term. Most importantly, HTC would no longer be dependent on phones as its primary source of revenue.
HTC’s two choices for expansion are probably the two strongest fields to enter, but unfortunately, there are already a lot of players in these arenas. With Fitbit and Garmin one one side and Oculus on the other, HTC does have its work cut out for it. Thus far it seems to be making a lot of right moves, but time will tell. We still don’t have solid pricing for the Vive Pre yet, and that will be a major consideration. On the fitness side, even our less-than-fitness-conscious Michael Fisher came away somewhat impressed by what HTC was trying to do.
Overall, HTC has some challenges ahead of it, so time will tell how successful these ventures will be. But if HTC can really back its products as stand alone products, not just as One M10 accessories, it will be in a good position moving forward. It won’t be bulletproof just yet, but the key to any portfolio is diversification – or at least that’s what people who have portfolios have told me. If HTC can properly back its products that have already come out and enter the fray with some hot newness, it will be in very good shape for years to come.