Opinion | HTC's new Desire 12 and 12+ embody the company's recent failures in the smartphone market
HTC has struggled significantly over the past 18 months or so. The company kicked off the year with the U11 EYEs, but the device doesn't seem to have pulled in the sales numbers the company expected—an occurrence that seems to have become the trend for HTC devices of late.
The Taiwanese OEM announced the launch of two new devices, the Desire 12 and Desire 12+. The Desire 12 sports a HD+ 5.5-inch display, 2/3 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB of storage, a single rear 13 MP camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a 5 MP selfie shooter with f/2.4 aperture. It's powered by a MediaTek MT6739 SoC, and gets its juices from a 2730 mAh battery (5V, 1A).
The Desire 12+ is the more interesting release, but that can hardly be adjudged praise, competition considered. It sports a HD+ 6-inch display, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, a 13 MP + 2 MP dual rear camera setup, and a 5 MP selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture and a front flash. It's powered by a Snapdragon 450, and features a 2965 mAh battery (5V, 1.5 A).
Both devices feature 3.5mm jacks, expandable storage, and Micro-USB ports. The Desire 12+ will run on Android Oreo out of the box but we're not sure if that also holds true for the regular Desire 12. The 12+ also features a fingerprint sensor, while the 12 doesn't.
Frankly, it's a bit hard to understand what HTC is planning with these devices. On paper, both devices look dated and nowhere near what you'd expect from HTC's main budget line. The ZTE Blade V9, for example, is a similarly-positioned device that blows these devices out of the water.
At the $200 - $250 price region that we expect these smartphones to reside at, there's an endless list of devices that offer a lot more value. There's the Mi A1, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Honor 7X, Honor 9 Lite, and Meizu M6s. Even Sony's XA2 devices offer more value for money than these, and that's impressive considering Sony's record for releasing overpriced devices in that price segment. It's not a case of HTC not being in direct competition with Sino-centric brands, either.—companies like ZTE and Motorola sell their devices in the US, and offer much more bang for buck than the average HTC device.
The company had a change at the head of its mobile division, so one would expect radical changes in the company's stance. Apparently not. When next you see a headline declaring HTC's ever-dwindling fortunes, look back to this as a prime example of why the company just cannot seem to sell its smartphones.