HTC One launch delay: Blame camera shortfall, HTC says

Chief marketing officer Benjamin Ho blames the delay of the company's new smartphone on a shortage of cameras.

The HTC One.
Sarah Tew/CNET

The launch of the HTC One has been stymied by a limited supply of cameras.

HTC chief marketing officer Benjamin Ho confirmed the component shortage in an interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

"Our friends in the media have been asking why there has been a delay in shipments for the new HTC One, whether there is a component shortage," Ho said. "There is some shortage, because the phone's camera was designed specifically for us, and production cannot be ramped up so quickly."

Ho's comments echoed those of an "unnamed HTC executive," who told the Journal last week that the phone would be delayed because of trouble getting parts for the camera. But the unnamed exec also pinned the blame on HTC's falling status among suppliers.

"The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments," the executive said. "HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer."

On Friday, the company announced that the HTC One would finally pop up in the U.K., Germany, and Taiwan this week, followed by North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and most other markets by the end of April

Ho was frank about HTC's failure to generate enough marketing buzz about its phones.

"We have a lot of innovations but we haven't been loud enough," Ho told the Journal. The company plans to drop its "Quietly Brilliant" tagline as part of a move toward a bolder marketing strategy. HTC will also devote more dollars to promote its products, upping its 2013 digital marketing budget by 250 percent from last year, and raising its spending on traditional media marketing by 100 percent.

The HTC One has already garnered a fair number of positive reviews, including CNET's own take on the phone.

But HTC has been overshadowed by Samsung, which has thrown a great deal of weight into promoting its flagship phones, notably the new Galaxy S4.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 with a big Broadway-style event in New York City on March 14. HTC managed to get a playful bite of the action beforehand, offering Pringles chips and bottled water on HTC-branded trays to the many people waiting to get into the event.

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