Just as HTC popped champagne bottles over the launch of its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC One, Samsung rumors stole the limelight with hints of a flagship upgrade of its own — the Galaxy S IV. Whatever hopes HTC had of regaining leadership in the Android market by revealing the One ahead of Mobile World Congress this week have been slashed, as Samsung confirms the rumors over the newest member of the highly successful Galaxy S smartphone family — the S IV.
Few details have been released for the upcoming S IV, just that it will launch in the US on March 14 in response to growing demand.
It seems the smartphone is still the hottest product in the consumer electronics market. Despite global saturation, smartphone retailers continue to outdo each other on a consistent and rather predictable basis. HTC found its glory in an early success with Android, putting its reputation on the line by manufacturing phones for iOS’ first major contendor. But as Samsung made its way into the Android market, everyone from HTC to Motorola, Dell and HP have struggled to keep up.
So does HTC stand a chance?
Like the upcoming Galaxy S IV, the HTC One has set out to obliterate not only Android frenemies, but the iPhone as well. On the upside, HTC will have a slight market lead with the One release, as the Galaxy S IV won’t likely hit stores until weeks after the official March 14 release. But as two flagship Android devices hit the market around the same time, HTC will have to really differentiate itself from Samsung if it hopes to regain the market leadership it once held.
While we can’t directly compare the specifications of the HTC One and the Galaxy S IV, many buyers will want to wait to hear the details on Samsung’s latest before locking themselves in with the One. As one pundit points out, the timing of the S IV announcement could drive away potential HTC One buyers all together.
Definitive launches such as HTC’s and Samsung’s are what industry wars are made of, and that’s a good thing for consumers. As I discuss in the video below, this growing battle for consumer attention will drive companies to incentivize buyers with more Services. As specs for smartphones begin to level out from one manufacturer to the next, HTC could find its next opportunity in cloud-based Services through key partnerships (looking at you again, Google) that deliver the consumer experience in a fresh way.
Both Google and Apple are aggressively developing their Consumer Services, or Smart Apps, for the next “big thing” in electronics: Google Glass and presumably the iWatch respectively. Aiding Google’s mission to deliver Smart Apps through a range of Android-powered devices could be one way for HTC to emerge from the smartphone shadow.