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Samsung and HTC changing strategies for Windows Phone. We look at who wins and who loses.

WP Central

Although Windows Phone 8 is not quite yet here, the ever-dynamic smartphone industry is once again churning and there are some big changes coming.

Today we’ve seen two stories that will both have an impact on Windows Phone--one about Samsung, the other about HTC--and we’ll see what that will mean for consumers this fall.

 

WP Central

 

Samsung says ba-bye to Bada

First up is Samsung. As some of you may know, they have their own homegrown OS called Bada that actually has similar marketshare number as Windows Phone. Trouble is, that OS is old and Samsung wants to phase it out ASAP. Its replacement, Tizen, is an Intel-MeeGo successor based on Linux. Like all mobile Linux OS’s, Tizen is suppose to be the next-big thing but alas, it’s being delayed with no first devices expected until 2013.

That puts Samsung in a pickle because although they would like to be independent with their own, unique OS they have to rely on Android and Windows Phone to pay the bills. Now with Tizen being kicked down the road it means they can either make more Android phones or focus more on Windows Phone 8.

Tizen is evidently complete but the ecosystem is crud, according to developers. So in the meantime, Samsung may have to give us some solid Windows Phone devices. Does that mean we can see some more high-end and actually unique devices from Sammy? We’re not betting on it but we’ve liked the Focus S and Focus 2 quite a bit for Windows Phone and hope they will put their best foot forward this fall—as they have more to win (and more to lose) than ever before.

Will Odyessey and Marco give us what we want or will Nokia crush 'em?

 

WP Central

 

HTC and the decline

We spoke about HTC quite a bit today on the podcast. The company has been in free-fall for the last 18 months, which is quite surprising. Having teamed up Dr. Dre and Beats Audio, using those Super LCD screens (instead of the pentile AMOLEDs from Samsung) and kicking some derriere with their cameras recently, HTC appeared to be on the right track.

The One X brand was positioned during the iPhone 4S lull and pre-Galaxy S3 launch, giving the company a nice 2 months of unfettered market comeback. Despite a lofty advertising campaign, the One Series has evidently failed to impress, resulting in a steady decline. Now with the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, they are basically finished for the year. The OnLive thing didn't help either.

So what will HTC do? Unfortunately their attempt to make high-end premium handsets, akin to what Apple and Nokia are known for has not panned out. That means lower-cost handsets are the future, much like what Nokia is attempting with devices like the Lumia 610.

WP Central

 HTC can make nice things

What does that mean for Windows Phone? Hard to say at this point as besides the fantastic 16MP camera found in the Titan II, HTC has not really pushed the envelope in design or technology. Beats Audio is being kicked to the curb—no headphones and no “Beats audio technology” anymore—to reduce costs.  We’re not convinced that cheaper HTC phones are what consumers are necessarily looking for, nor are cheap, uninspired designs.

No, what HTC needs is a combo of fresh ideas and some new technology. But that’s easier said than done (it’s not as if they didn’t try with the One series, which focused on music and the camera). Does Windows Phone 8 offer any way for them to really differentiate themselves from the rest? Probably not in the way that Android and Sense did for them in the past.

Look, HTC may be a tad boring these days but we don’t want to see them go under either. The company is in trouble though and we’re not sure if they’re going to regain any lost momentum via Windows Phone 8—the incentive just isn’t there at this point. And although we’d love to see some killer designs from them, sometimes you can’t teach a dog new tricks.

But we’d like to see HTC try, that’s for sure. Devices like the Mozart, Titan (I, II) and Radar show they still can make solid phones. Will 'Rio', 'Zenith' and 'Accord' with Windows Phone 8 change things for the better? We'll see.

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Reader comments

Samsung and HTC changing strategies for Windows Phone. We look at who wins and who loses.

98 Comments

October will be fun. Samsung, HTC, and Nokia are all competing. Then you have all the Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks. I'm going to go broke.

It really would. Funny thing is, if you compare the Titan II to the One X physically, you can tell they're "cousins". The One X just looks snazzier.

I doubt it. Don't forget they still have to support the phone after its sold and HTC has a poor record at that. Nokia still gets my vote.

I didn't experience that with the trophy I currently have for work; I simply use my personal L900

My Radar has had 4g data loss issues since it was launched.  Nokia fixed their data loss in a few weeks, I'm still waiting on HTC to do something about the Radar.  Next phone will definetly be a Nokia.

Well, luckily for me I'm not in US - so I don't experience US level of operator induced update delays. Here in UK HTC phones (Titan, HD7, Radar) seem to get updates before any others.

Exactly. And Nokia struggles for several months to release the battery fix, the volume fix, flip to silence and internet sharing for the 800 and 710. Stuff that has already worked on HTC phones since Mango relased.

The Luimna 900 was a very buggy phone and yes they fixed but, it should of never left the factory in the first place with those bugs. Yes, you will give them a plus but, those issues should have never seen the light of day.
 
Personally, their track record with Windows Phone is a little flawed with me.
 
Out of the 4-5 HTC devices I have owned in the past, sure there has been some issues here and there but, no long list of bugs like Nokia has had with the L900.
 
I hold them about level in the quality department as of right now but, that is just me. All depends on what hits in fall.

I had the Samsung Focus since day 1 and loved it then jumped to the Focus S that had some issuesand never got any updates then I went through 4 Titans before I gave up on HTC. Not a single acknowledgemtn that they had any issues. The L900 may have been rushed out but Nokia stepped up and issued a fix and got it taken care of even if there were only small % that had the issue. I preordered mine and have never had one issue with it. Nokia has it all on the line with WP and is the only OEM doing anyhting for WP. I havent looked back since I got my L900 and my WP8 device will be a Nokia. I do not want a warmed over Android device with WP8 thrown on it with no support or advertising.

U drop a one x it shatters badly like the iPhone and they don't have amoled screens now Lenovo would make a killer phone but Nokia still king in my opinion

I really like HTC. My Trophy seems to be built like a tank and has served me well. I like how they have a charge indicator light. I also will be looking for a Win 8 phone with a replaceable battery. HTC may be the best shot at that combination of features.

Yeah, the charging LED (and it blinks for voicemail) is a great HTC feature in addition to attentive phone and the SRS sound. In of themselves, they're not killer features but they're things you can expect and enjoy from them.

HTC devices of recent have also been quite bug-free.

I dont understand why so many phones come with no indicator LED these days. I mean how is Rafael supposed to see notifications on his phone lying there on the floor when there is no led?

Agreed, I do really like the led and attentive phone, without attentive phone I would have missed so many phone calls.

It may not work in all situations, but have you looked at power packs as an option to replaceable batteries? I've seen a few with 5-6000 mAh going for about €40, so that would give you 3-4 full charges when you're away from outlets or car chargers.

I just need one chance to impress OEMs with an original, well-thought, Windows Phone design for all Windows Phone consumers looking for the next great thing. Hopefully I get it...

I personally think MS would do well getting with Dell on a Alienware WP8 phone with themed tiles and wall papers to put on store shelved to catch consumer attention. Of course this is along with Nokias offerings(let Nokia do some customizations). While I don't have anything against HTC or Sammy, but they're unwilling to put real resources behind WP (I love my first Feb focus, they do use plastic only). Consumers want originality and Nokia and Apple seen to be the only ones with it right now. We can add a third if MS would release a surface phone!!

That would be killer especially if Dell came out with a revamped design of the Venue Pro. No other phone looks like it.

I got a few chances to use and hold the Dell Venue pro. It was a little  on the heavy side but, wow, what a solid nice looking phone. I would of really liked to own one of those. 
 
An Alienware phone ? Just make sure Verizon carries it because I wll buy that (if they live up to their name with the phone)

Yes a little on the heavy side but personally I love the solid feel it has. I don't like holding a phone and not knowing its there. A phone with decent weight gives it a premium feel especially if the design is eye catching.

According to my Dell rep they have no interest in making another Windows phone but are looking at coming out with Android phones now.

I think if HTC puts out some fresh hardware and moves away from the look of the one series they stand a better chance with WP8 than with android. WP8 is just getting started and getting in now with some good phones would be its best bet,,,IMHO HTC's best phone they ever released was the G1. I got one on day 1 of release and still use it as a back up,its been a solid phone and works like the day I got it can't say that about their newer hardware.

The HD2 are you mad? I very nearly fell out with Orange and Microsoft over that phone. The worst I ever tried using! The specs looked so good and the execution of them really was an execution. If Nokia didn't say they were moving to Windows Phone I'd never have moved over. WM is vile!

Kind of surprising, the OneX is probably my favorite mobile hardware currently available. Thought it would sell very well.

IMHO Apples holding them up in customs killed their sales. When we first got them they sold well, then we couldn't get them. After that people were willing to wait for the SIII.

HTC needs a halo phone to get people in the door, which is when they will buy the cheap phone. It's like stopping by the Ford dealer to look at the Shelby GT500 and then buying the Fusion next to it that you didn't know about previously.

Honestly even though they had a "window" prior to gs3 launch after the first wk of selling them our sales just died. People were already asking about gs3 and "waiting to see." I think it just ended up being really bad timing all around.

The first week of sales died because the phones got stopped in customs!!!!  They got destroyed, I mean literally losing millions a day because of that.  A small company like HTC could never afford to have product held up in customs and it has ruined them.  This is the kind of damage Apple knows it can wield if it can get embargos put on Samsung products.

HTC needs another hd2 that could dual boot windows or Android & be open to any ROM put that 16mp camera & latest processor & there is a phone that could pick up there sells.

I just got a nexus s at work. That thing is complete and utter junk. The phone has terrible battery life, the radio drops out constantly, Verizon is dragging its feet on jelly bean (being jerks with updating devices isn't unique to att). The os is just shoddy. Give me my two year old focus any day of the week.

Developers, anyone that enjoys android & wp (I personally like MIUI,cm9) You guys are stuck in a world where you could only be on one side. There is many features I like about the two OS to mention.

I will buy Nokia and HTC bit I hate Samsung phones HTC needs to bring the one series to wp8 and Nokia five us preview. Samsung is basically disrespecting google by ignoring their request concerning soft buttons and doing what they want of they get big in wp8 they will some how try to change it let them have their tizon bring on Nokia and HTC and we know HTC can do wm they were the main manufacturer back in the day

I think HTC would have done a LOT better if sprint had LTE for its EVO LTE its a beautiful phone with an awesome screen and I actually almost ditched T-Mo to get it but getting an LTE enabled phone with no LTE is like buying a car with no wheels. You can have it sitting in your driveway and look at it all you want,,,but its not gonna take you anywhere.

Just a couple of points:
Bada is not that old, it is of the same age as WP7. Also it does not have similar marketshare to WP7, it used to be close - but outside France and South Korea it has collapsed in the last 6 months.
And Tizen is not "Samsung's own" - it is an open source project, similar to Android.

  • Right, but old in the sense that Bada died months ago.
  • I stand by the Bada has greater marketshare claim, which is actually from Gartner this May.
  • Tizen is open source, like Android. And Samsung-Intel is similar to Google. Samsung makes the SDK and is taking the lead on the project with no other OEMs (AFAIK) on board with it, so it basically is theirs. Samsung & Intel are the major contributors to it. Intel doesn't make phones.

Sorry, I stand by my claims.

I could be wrong about this but didnt nokia contribute to tizen? And as far as i knew samsung got involved but hasnt contributed much of anything to tizen, and nokia bailed out on it when they dropped symbian and meego, also my friend works for intel and i believe they have phones in the works as we speak to run on their new SOC chips. So technically they are making phones just not being sold yet.

If anything i would say tizen is intel's not samsungs intel also did meego which is why nokia was looking at tizen i believe but i dont remember samsung doing it first i believe nokia was involved long before samsung. Been awhile since i read up on it but i'm pretty well read on all things nokia and i have friends that work at intel in oregon.

sorry for so many replies but after doing some more research it seems as if there is come confusion around this, samsung is definitely involved now at this point but prior to this year i dont believe they were, and meego as everybody knows was nokia and intel's but tizen also has alot of stuff in it from meego which was mostly intel and some nokia and then samsung got involved to where it is now, but the common name coming up is intel so as the previous guy was saying i wouldnt personally call it samsung's own myself either if anything intel's own, and intel is attempting to throw some phones out there, whether they get fully into it dont know.

The One X is almost agreed upon to be a superior phone to the Galaxy S3. Better build quaility, better screen, Android 4.0......you could debate on Sense and NatureWiZUI or whatever. 
 
It needed to be on more networks in the US, but alas, the carriers are apparently allowed to dictate the survival of entire companies. 
 
Competition just isn't far, and I don't care how conservative, or liberal, you are, but the networks are just plain bad for consumers. Since they liscense OUR SPECTRUM it's we do have a right to say what's done wtih. 
 
I think since we're all Windows Phone fans, we've seen how much choice that this system cuts out. 
 

To some extent, but they have to choose handsets they know will sell well because they need to support all the handsets they sell, so they can't just sell every single phone. If they did they'd make no profit and every time a model goes EOL they need to clear stock, etc.
 
Unfortunately they have been rather short sighted and instead of choosing devices based on their merits they just choose those they think will get them most contracts signed in the short-term. Some of their decisions are just plain stupid, like sprint with the iphone. They let apple screw them over with price, meaning they now need to sell a ridiculous number of iphones in a competitive market to remain profitable, which has resulted in them cutting a number of other handsets in order to steer customers toward the iphone. In the end the consumer loses and eventually sprint will lose.

Where I live you buy your phone separately and then choose your carrier. Just get whatever phone you want, and stick a SIM card - whichever you want - in it and voila!

That way everything depends on you, and you get the updates whenever indepepndent of the carriers too. To me your system looks like it has an unneccessary component that limits your choices regarding phone models and also hinders updates.
Carriers should shut up and just receive money for us using their network.

I'm looking at things from the same perspective, and to me that the "exclusive phone" system is good for US carriers since they lure customers into contracts with the phones, so if you want a particular phone you have pay for the contract as well. That way, they don't have to compete as much when it comes to subscription costs and included minutes/data like operators in more open markets have to do.

Yep it's the same where I live. I bought my phone in the UK and now I'm using it here at home in SA. Here most people buy their phones cash and thn put whatever sim card they want in it. There's the option of buying the phones on contract like in the US but it's not that popular... I wonder why lol. I really think that carriers in the US are messed up. They really have too much power. In fact most people from the US who comment on this website often mention the carriers. This emphasizes the extent to which carriers control the system in the US. Here we only talk about carriers when they have network problems or when we want to know each networks prices/rates or when there's a big promotion :)

I think the UK market is fairly good for contracts. The networks have retail outlets selling their branded variants of the major and not so major handsets but then we have Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U who will sell almost any phone on any network with no sim lock. As much as P4U are the devil, both they and CPW keep the networks in check to an extent.

Here in Sweden carriers give discounts when you sign up and lock your phone, and it's the most common way people buy them. But it gives you a lot of options, so you get a larger discount with payments over a two year plan, or you pay half upfront and smaller monthly installments for the rest - the monthly payment for the phone is a typically a separate item in the contract, so when comparing offers you can easily see the total cost of the device for different phone/operator combinations.

the HTC One X looks better than the Galaxy SIII in my opinion, but the design differences between the two are quite subtle. so, that factor alone can't account for the lack of One X sales.
I don't think there's really any logical reason why HTC has declined. people simply don't see HTC phones as being "cool". they don't have the same mind-share Samsung has. they don't get the same word of mouth advertising from consumers.
I'm not sure why the Evo 4G (2010), which was the first true Android Super Phone, wasn't able to create customer loyalty, but apparently, it didn't. Maybe Sprint had something to do with that. Maybe HTC erred in making the gimmicky Evo 3D in 2011 instead of just making a pure Evo successor.

Because the new EVO is a has been crippled by not having a LTE network to run on. The hardware is is great but what's the point of having a for 4g LTE phone running on the slowest 3g network.

If this is the case with both companies, this should open the door for MS to produce the surface phones. These manufacturers should not put up resistance nor should MS care since these companies are either financially unable or simply don't want to invest the time or money into creating and marketing high-end Windows phones. The time is right for MS to take their destiny into their own hands. Same should apply to Win 8. Only those willing partner should be allowed to manufacture windows phone/computers/slates

I bought the HTC HD7 on T-Mo when it released and I'm still using it with no problems. I would love to see a HD8 WP8.

My impression of just about every review on the EVO 4g LTE "great hardware,nice screen,the kickstand is very usefull best build quality,,,,,BUT there's no LTE network to support it so its hard to recomend this phone at this time. Maybe consumers should wait to see what the GSIII has to offer"

Damn HTC..... I can see Nokia and Samsung battling this out.. Imagine if Nokia went with android.... That's gonna be it

If Nokia (Mobile devision) was going down, I bet Microsoft would of paid big dollars to take them over,as it would put a big amount of damage in their marketshare.
 
I would love a Microsoft designed and created phone to hit the market, Just look at the quality of the new Surface models, think about that in a phone...
 
It would be epic (I always have owned MS hardware, keyboards, mice, etc, the best of the best)

I've been very happy with my titan its one if not the best phone I've ever owned except for the disappearing keyboard bug I'll stay with HTC unless Nokia can beat em next time around

no sir it is not ridiculous.. :( as i have a dark secret as well. That secret being that i too want to own em all :( so many nice form factors and different designs ugh im addicted.

Yeah if I was shopping for an android phone id pick the x over the s3 hands down better hardware better looks and not one manufacturer puts out timley updates for there phones I've been waiting for a fix for the disappearing keyboard bug on my titan for almost 6 months . WTH!!!!!!

I think if we want to talk about a fail story look no further than LG...remember when they were supposed to be the premier launch partner?  lolololol

I received the titan II as a replacement phone just a few weeks ago and its great best of all I still have my upgrade. The surround got it done for me before it died:'( but the support from HTC is lackluster at best my wife's lumia 900 is a beautiful piece of hardware and it has received the tango update she also owed a surround and loves her 900 and so do I. To tell you the truth I'm more than likely going with Nokia next go around something about getting rehashed android phones drive me up the wall.

HTC should put more effort in the business market, now that WP8 will bring better functionality for enterprise environments. They are lagging a bit behind in consumer appeal compared the others when it comes to Android, but I think with WP8 their solid, understated designs would work well in the business sector. Microsoft partnered with Nokia for their very global knowledge of markets, and I could see a strategic partnership where Microsoft uses their knowledge of the enterprise markets together with HTC. But, instead of simply giving HTC a big sack of money for marketing, they should work together to set up the sales and support network needed to succeed in that sector. Right now, with RIM struggling, would be a very good time.

I have the HTC trophy, and love it still (even if Vodafone au STILL haven't sent out the tango update), hopefully HTC will pick it up again soon...

Because that was (except the evo line, but exclusive to U.S.) the HD2 was the last super phone they did, that one was a beast :-(

I love my Titan 2. That being said, HTC simply does not support their phones the way Nokia does. That has to change. It's not enough to release a nice phone and then forget about it. Where is Tango? Where are the firmware updates? Where are the nice exclusive apps? Come on HTC, great phones deserve at least decent support. It's the second part they really need to work on.

I'm a HTC fan, no question. I like Nokia stuff but, after the bugs on the Lumia 900, I question quality control (still think those issues should of been resolved before the phone was released)..
 
Right now, I dont care, I just want a Windows Phone 8 device, NOW

Here are the sales rankings of WP on bestbuy.com as of today:

AT&T (80 phones offered)
29. Samsung Focus Flash (39. a week ago, 33. a month ago)
30. Nokia Lumia 900 Black (31. a week ago, 30. a month ago)
40. Samsung Focus 2 (52. a week ago, 64. a month ago)
61. Nokia Lumia 900 White (54. a week ago, 58. a month ago)
62. Nokia Lumia 900 Cyan (48. a week ago, 49. a month ago)
67. HTC Titan (52. a week ago, 37. a month ago)
68. Samsung Focus S (70. a week ago, 71. a month ago)
74. HTC HD7S (76. a week ago, 77. a month ago)
HTC Titan II is not offered
Nokia Lumia 900 Pink is not offered

T-Mobile (32 phones offered)
14. Nokia Lumia 710 Black (25. a week ago, 14. a month ago)
19. Nokia Lumia 710 White (18. a week ago, 21. a month ago)
24. HTC Radar (19. a week ago, 15. a month ago)

Verizon (64 phones offered)
55. HTC Trophy (55. a week ago, 41. a month ago)

Sprint (43 phones offered)
None offered

For Sweden market, HTC have on my Titan been first everytime on releasing updates. Since I have a second gen. Titan I have had no malfunctions.
The Apps is a minus though. Too bad "Locations" had to be a pay app. It was really good, but not good enough compared to the money they wanted for it. I miss Crackle, Nokia music. There is a nice app named "HTC Watch", but once again the pricing was wrong. It's on a cell phone for frak sake, why price most at DVD hardware price!?.
Basically I believe HTC got it right hardware wise (minus screen tech imo), but failed on Software, much like Samsung come to think of.

WTF?
THe headline totally mislead people whats in the article. There is nothing about changed strategies and especially nothing to the WP direction. The only thing whats related to the headline is "these companies are in trouble. What does it mean for WP? We don't know". Which isn't worth an article.
THough i like the article, the headline should be changed to "Current situations of HTC and Samsung" or something similar, maybe more cool sounding, with english words i don't know yet.

Believable in Samsung's case. I realize that they want a backup option to be safe but I just don't see any OEM developed OS succeeding in this market. It has gotten too competitive recently and even if they match the smoothness of the Apple experience, they will never even get close to matching it in features so why try? Android is their only feasible option with WP coming in as a backup (thanks to Apple). Regardless, they have gotten some serious following among people who want the coolest thing on the market (read fools who think they're awesome just because they are buying something better than the iPhone for the sake of buying something other than the iPhone)

Im down with Samsung, HTC phones are buggy as hell and I just don't trust Nokia phones. My focus and then later focus s worked like champs. With that said im getting whatever phone has removable storage!!!

they are all going to have removable storage....its a standard feature on windows phone 8.
did no one watch the keynote lol

WPCentral, it seems like your experience of the phone market began at the birth of android. Have you completely forgotten about windows mobile? Firstly HTC had always put out the highest spec phones for years before android and this is where they developed their sense UI.
I'm sad to have to leave HTC as my last 10 devices have been great, but I have to go with Nokia now. The only thing to encourage me otherwise would be, MS Surface phone!

I take sight offense at that as I've been writing on this site since 2007 and my first HTC device was the PPC-6700 (which I still have). I even famously developed custom ROMs for Windows Mobile, so yes, I'm very familiar with its history (I was active on Del Axim forums in 2003 and helped start PPCGeeks in 2006).

Outside of taking a misfired and erroneous potshot at our site, I don't follow your argument here at all. What are you trying to say that I didn't? 

PS Next time you can search our site and see that we were the top Windows Mobile site before being the top Windows Phone one. Understand your history before making yourself look silly.

Well HTC's 7 Pro is great inside, but the outside is junk. I've never broke a phone before, and this thing has broke in more places and screen crakes like nothing. Quite a pain in the ass how easily this phone falls apart.

Speak for yourself! My Arrive /7 pro never did any of that when I had it and I've dropped it quite a few times face down onto pavement and it didn't receive a scratch.

HTC and Samsung both have amazing design abilities they speak to individuals just as much as Lumia phones do but sadly they have not put their goals in order and because of that there is much going on that is difficult to deal with i hope htc survives and i hope samsung drops that shitty tizen project we dont need another android.