HTC refuses to make cheap phones

HTC won't take on the low-priced phone market, as it doesn't want to harm the HTC brand.

Bad news if you fancy a cheap HTC phone: the company says it won't take on the low-priced phone market, as it doesn't want to harm its brand.

"We don't want to destroy our brand image," says HTC head honcho Peter Chou in an interview with the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch. Instead, HTC plans to continue to compete by selling superior smart phones like the quad-core HTC One X high-end phone and its One series ilk.

In the early days of Android, HTC emerged from its roots in making phones for other people to put their logo on and became one of the leading lights in the new smart phone market. As old names like Nokia and Sony Ericsson declined in popularity, phones such as the HTC Hero , Desire and Google Nexus One made HTC a major force.

But in the past couple of years HTC's star has faded somewhat. In one notable incident, shipments of HTC phones were barred from entering the US by customs officers due to a patent dispute.

Meanwhile, Apple -- the company behind the customs ban -- has gone from strength to strength without a cheap phone in its portfolio, while Samsung has become the biggest name in Android with its wide range of Galaxy phones.

So how is HTC looking to fight back? It's going to up its game in marketing outside the United States. And there are also plans to buy small companies innovating in software and marketing companies to make future phones stand out more.

One company that does sell a lot of cheap phones is Nokia, which until recently sold more phones than any other. With only one fingernail clinging to the smart phone market, Nokia still ships millions of low-cost phones, mainly in the developing world. But -- as HTC has no doubt noticed -- that hasn't done much for the Finnish company's bottom line .

Is HTC wise to stay away from cheap phones -- or can it fight the double threat of Apple and Samsung's high-end phones? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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