06-05-2017 06:15 PM
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  1. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    DISCLAIMER: Whatever you're about to read is solely and wholly the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the thoughts of the AC volunteers team, editors and Android Central as a whole.

    [OPINION] The HTC U11 is a very solid and beautiful device, but it won't help much for sales, sadly-htc-u11-software-5.jpgSo, the HTC U11 is now official, and it seems to confirm whatever leaked out not too long ago, featuring the same glossy design from the U Ultra and U Play, along with the expected top-tier internal hardware, along with the lack of a headphone jack in favor of USonic and HTC's new Edge Sense feature.

    Personally, I think the HTC U11 is a very solid device. I still don't think USonic is that good to justify replacing a ubiquitous open standard with something that's a little more proprietary and while Edge Sense is neat, I personally feel that it would have been more useful if HTC also added stuff more akin to the Nokia McLaren, where the phone can sense the way it is held and uses that info to improve the device's core functionality, such as making auto-rotate more reliable by detecting the way you're holding the device. Aside from the 2 sore points, I think HTC made a solid device that quite a number of people would be happy to own.

    Sadly, that number isn't a lot of people in the general sense.

    [OPINION] The HTC U11 is a very solid and beautiful device, but it won't help much for sales, sadly-htc-u-ultra-blue-back-full.jpg
    I think it's pretty clear that HTC's situation is still quite dire. The company's start to 2017 was pretty bad, with the U Ultra receiving no more than a lukewarm reception owing to its high price and was also cited as an example of "poor use of space" by YouTuber Marques Brownlee, which went viral pretty quickly. Its smaller cousin, the U Play, also didn't receive a welcoming reception, which perhaps led to the company's revenues dropping 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year.

    While the U11 doesn't solve all of the flops the U Ultra had, the phone does at least make up for some of that by utilizing a more efficient processor, which coupled with the slightly smaller display and lack of a secondary ticker should make for solid battery life, along with an improved camera with a similar image sensor to the Galaxy S8 along with improved audio recording, which takes advantage of the device's microphones to enable 360-degree audio recording.

    [OPINION] The HTC U11 is a very solid and beautiful device, but it won't help much for sales, sadly-screenshot_2017-05-16-07-03-04.jpg
    The biggest sin that the U11 solves, however, is the price. Unlike the U Ultra, which sold for an exorbitant $750, the U11 retails for $649 on HTC's store as an unlocked device, and if you get the $50 coupon, it drops to $599, making it a much better value proposition than HTC's bigger phone at launch.

    So you might be asking, why did I put such a title? Sadly, even if HTC gets the price logically right, people will still flock over to buy the equivalent Samsung or Apple flagship, or maybe even LG's G6 despite the older hardware.

    [OPINION] The HTC U11 is a very solid and beautiful device, but it won't help much for sales, sadly-img_20170511_144404.jpg
    I could say that perhaps the larger bezels on the HTC U11 would make it look dated in comparison to the S8 or G6, which both have slimmer bezels, or maybe that the inclusion of the headphone jack on both devices would make them more appealing, but honestly, I don't think those are the prime reasons. Really, the prime reason is carrier support.

    The aforementioned devices sans the U11 are sold on most, if not all of the major carriers in the USA. However, the U11 is only available on Sprint or Verizon as a carrier or unlocked, with AT&T and T-Mobile left out in terms of carrier deals (though unlocked versions will work). That's really the problem here as many folks in the US buy their phones from a carrier, usually as part of a monthly payment plan and/or as part of an upgrade program such as T-Mobile JUMP!. I think that's the biggest hurdle for the HTC U11, at least in the United States. Being unable to leverage deals on all major US networks is quite a setback.

    [OPINION] The HTC U11 is a very solid and beautiful device, but it won't help much for sales, sadly-htc-u11-colors-1.jpg
    Perhaps HTC is able to carve a niche for themselves not unlike OnePlus with the 3 and 3T, something which I do hope happens. But in terms of targeting the mainstream, I think the U11, as solid as it is, won't make much of a difference to HTC's bottom line. I do hope that I am wrong, but lately, it seems to be a vicious cycle.
    Aquila, swarlos, krazyatom and 1 others like this.
    05-16-2017 06:26 AM
  2. mwake4goten's Avatar
    I always been a HTC fan for the sound but getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack is the end for me. Yes, I want to be know that if I'm ever out an about with only 5 percent battery that I can still make it home and be listening to music whilst waking. With Bluetooth the poor battery will drain much quicker whilst listening to music.
    05-16-2017 07:24 AM
  3. radgatt's Avatar
    The HTC U11 is compatible with all US carriers unlocked. The price is attractive. At the same time no one outside of the blog space will even know the one exists. I am willing to bet that in a year or so HTC will get bought by OnePlus.
    05-16-2017 07:40 AM
  4. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    The HTC U11 is compatible with all US carriers unlocked. The price is attractive. At the same time no one outside of the blog space will even know the one exists. I am willing to bet that in a year or so HTC will get bought by OnePlus.
    That's really HTC's conundrum.

    They make solid hardware, but they lack retail presence and as such, many people are more likely going with a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone.
    05-16-2017 09:30 AM
  5. dpham00's Avatar
    I don't really agree that the prime reason for low sales would lack of carrier models. The U11 would be a flop (sales wise, relative to the S8 or iPhone 7) simply because it has fallen out of favor and because they are still trying to sell it at near high end flagship prices. $649 is too much for MOST people to pay for an HTC, whether through carrier or not, outside of die hard HTC fans (which are very few).

    And even at the $599 sale price isn't that great, compared to the sales on the S8...there were the free VR or free essentials bundle, BOGO promotion, free $100, $150, or $200 gift card promotions...and the S8 hasn't even been out a month. Even at $599...it is going to have very poor sales.

    My comments shouldn't be construed as saying that it isn't a good buy at $599, as I am sure it is a very solid phone, but it doesn't have the name, no major standout feature that most people would care about, nor is it priced low enough that they would be able to pull customers away from Samsung or Apple in significant numbers, at least in the USA.

    Unlocked phones don't really sell in the USA in any large numbers, from any manufacturer, so this won't help HTC very much. Especially at $649 (or even $599 sale price).
    05-16-2017 09:33 AM
  6. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    I don't really agree that the prime reason for low sales would lack of carrier models. The U11 would be a flop (sales wise, relative to the S8 or iPhone 7) simply because it has fallen out of favor and because they are still trying to sell it at near high end flagship prices. $649 is too much for MOST people to pay for an HTC, whether through carrier or not, outside of die hard HTC fans (which are very few).

    And even at the $599 sale price isn't that great, compared to the sales on the S8...there were the free VR or free essentials bundle, BOGO promotion, free $100, $150, or $200 gift card promotions...and the S8 hasn't even been out a month. Even at $599...it is going to have very poor sales.

    My comments shouldn't be construed as saying that it isn't a good buy at $599, as I am sure it is a very solid phone, but it doesn't have the name, no major standout feature that most people would care about, nor is it priced low enough that they would be able to pull customers away from Samsung or Apple in significant numbers, at least in the USA.

    Unlocked phones don't really sell in the USA in any large numbers, from any manufacturer, so this won't help HTC very much. Especially at $649 (or even $599 sale price).
    I don't think the price is *that* bad considering that it is selling at less than what an S8 would cost, slightly more in line with that of the LG G6.

    Though I do definitely agree with your sentiment that unlocked phones don't sell a ton in the US. That's really the bottom line.
    05-16-2017 09:59 AM
  7. bhatech's Avatar
    I for one could care less about useless crappy carrier devices, I'm fine if HTC can deliver solid great devices at high profit margin to niche audience with great hardware, software and support.
    Eggmundo, James E1 and Wildo6882 like this.
    05-16-2017 10:27 AM
  8. dpham00's Avatar
    I for one could care less about useless crappy carrier devices, I'm fine if HTC can deliver solid great devices at high profit margin to niche audience with great hardware, software and support.
    The issue with support is that it presumes that HTC would still be in decent enough shape in a few years to do updates... If you plan to keep your phone that long.

    Of course if you plan to keep it for a short time then this isn't an issue, but then again updates aren't that critical if you only keep it for a short time anyway.
    05-16-2017 10:34 AM
  9. bhatech's Avatar
    The issue with support is that it presumes that HTC would still be in decent enough shape in a few years to do updates... If you plan to keep your phone that long.

    Of course if you plan to keep it for a short time then this isn't an issue, but then again updates aren't that critical if you only keep it for a short time anyway.
    Yep I don't keep any phone for more than a few months unless it's iPhone or Pixel, so no issues for me but understand for others who are better off buying crippled carrier phones and get whatever support from a local carrier store.
    05-16-2017 10:36 AM
  10. Eggmundo's Avatar
    I wish tech sites, journalists etc would ask these companies questions like why they put such outdated bezels on their latest phones. Do they look at the competition?
    eshropshire likes this.
    05-16-2017 10:54 AM
  11. dpham00's Avatar
    I don't think the price is *that* bad considering that it is selling at less than what an S8 would cost, slightly more in line with that of the LG G6.

    Though I do definitely agree with your sentiment that unlocked phones don't sell a ton in the US. That's really the bottom line.
    Pricing isn't bad by any means. But the $70 isn't a big enough difference for most non tech people to consider it considering most buy what they are the most familiar with.
    05-16-2017 11:22 AM
  12. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    I wish tech sites, journalists etc would ask these companies questions like why they put such outdated bezels on their latest phones. Do they look at the competition?
    The U11 was likely in its final development phase when the leaked renders of the S8 and G6 came out.
    05-16-2017 11:48 AM
  13. Ry's Avatar
    US-focused of course, and same disclaimer as above - there are my opinions only.

    I agree that the lack of carrier relationships is hurting HTC because the overwhelming majority of US consumers buy carrier phones. IIRC, it's 9 of 10 phones sold in the US are carrier phones. Apple essentially has half of the market and Samsung has a majority of the rest and surprisingly, LG is making it's way back. With limited carrier support, Motorola is there with Verizon. Marketing dollars are spent on in-store space to push the Moto Zs. HTC is limited with Sprint. Sprint is not a large carrier.

    And on the unlocked side, HTC is competing against unlocked iPhones, plus all of the Honor devices, the unlocked section at Best Buy which prominently features the Moto Gs and Moto Zs, the ZTE Axons, and in online sales against marketing-blunder-filled and sometimes internet darling OnePlus. Oh and I almost forgot about BLU.
    05-16-2017 11:52 AM
  14. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    US-focused of course, and same disclaimer as above - there are my opinions only.

    I agree that the lack of carrier relationships is hurting HTC because the overwhelming majority of US consumers buy carrier phones. IIRC, it's 9 of 10 phones sold in the US are carrier phones. Apple essentially has half of the market and Samsung has a majority of the rest and surprisingly, LG is making it's way back. With limited carrier support, Motorola is there with Verizon. Marketing dollars are spent on in-store space to push the Moto Zs. HTC is limited with Sprint. Sprint is not a large carrier.

    And on the unlocked side, HTC is competing against unlocked iPhones, plus all of the Honor devices, the unlocked section at Best Buy which prominently features the Moto Gs and Moto Zs, the ZTE Axons, and in online sales against marketing-blunder-filled and sometimes internet darling OnePlus. Oh and I almost forgot about BLU.
    They're kinda backed against a wall in this case.
    05-16-2017 01:34 PM
  15. swarlos's Avatar
    At this point HTC is just treading water trying to stay afloat. It is unfortunate because they did make great hardware and were innovative for a very long time. Although the only phone I owned from them the Thunderbolt wasn't my favorite I could admire the One and the M series of phones from afar as the time those came out I was already back deep into iOS.

    Competition is great but unfortunately for them they just have to many companies putting out way better products either way cheaper or just by out of sheer brand recognition.

    I really hope they don't close their doors cause then that's one less company to spur on innovation, competition and choice for the consumer.
    05-16-2017 11:50 PM
  16. Morty2264's Avatar
    I can see what the reviewer is saying: HTC has been in different straits than the competitors, and so I think they're using a lot of past revenue as a grounds for judging how it will fare now. And yes, HTC's U didn't get a ton of attention either, it seems. But, while I think looking to past statistics is significant, you can't really hold the 11 to the same standards/"outcomes" as past HTC products. The camera is better, the processor is stronger, there are interesting innovations here, and the design is beautiful. Plus, the price is great, in my opinion.

    Of course, we need to see how the​ U 11 fares in the wild before giving it a "yay" or a "nay." Assumptions only hold up so much water until you can test it out for yourself. So, I'm excited to see how it fares in the outside world! I've heard that the battery is also good, which will tick off another box for me. Hopefully this launch does well for HTC.
    05-17-2017 09:18 AM
  17. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    I can see what the reviewer is saying: HTC has been in different straits than the competitors, and so I think they're using a lot of past revenue as a grounds for judging how it will fare now. And yes, HTC's U didn't get a ton of attention either, it seems. But, while I think looking to past statistics is significant, you can't really hold the 11 to the same standards/"outcomes" as past HTC products. The camera is better, the processor is stronger, there are interesting innovations here, and the design is beautiful. Plus, the price is great, in my opinion.

    Of course, we need to see how the​ U 11 fares in the wild before giving it a "yay" or a "nay." Assumptions only hold up so much water until you can test it out for yourself. So, I'm excited to see how it fares in the outside world! I've heard that the battery is also good, which will tick off another box for me. Hopefully this launch does well for HTC.
    I admire your optimism. Deep down, I'm hoping that this device does indeed sell well.

    But then, it has always been a vicious cycle. HTC is no stranger to making excellent products. But they just don't seem to sell. The HTC One M7 was a triumph in performance and design, but was trumped by the Galaxy S4 anyway, and while the HTC 10 is widely seen as a return to form over the stumbling One M9, it never sold well.

    I don't think the problem with HTC is that they're making bad phones. I think the problem lies in how they perceive themselves and how their market strategy goes.
    Morty2264 likes this.
    05-17-2017 10:32 AM
  18. Morty2264's Avatar
    I admire your optimism. Deep down, I'm hoping that this device does indeed sell well.

    But then, it has always been a vicious cycle. HTC is no stranger to making excellent products. But they just don't seem to sell. The HTC One M7 was a triumph in performance and design, but was trumped by the Galaxy S4 anyway, and while the HTC 10 is widely seen as a return to form over the stumbling One M9, it never sold well.

    I don't think the problem with HTC is that they're making bad phones. I think the problem lies in how they perceive themselves and how their market strategy goes.
    I agree with you: HTC does not make bad products, but the way they market those products into the real world does say something.
    05-17-2017 10:36 AM
  19. cbreze's Avatar
    I like seeing some trend toward moving away from carrier only phones. I think ultimately we will see more of these unlocked, able to work on various carriers in the years ahead. Problem is the average consumer which is the majority walk into a phone store to get a phone. Huge Samsung and Apple displays greet them. They don't know or care to order from Amazon or manufacturer directly. I've always liked HTC phones, but then I liked Blackberry devices and looked what happened to them. Sad to see but HTC has slowly been slipping away. I saw some brand new in box HTC 7's on eBay the other day for $200. Loved that one.
    Morty2264 likes this.
    05-17-2017 12:08 PM
  20. Morty2264's Avatar
    I like seeing some trend toward moving away from carrier only phones. I think ultimately we will see more of these unlocked, able to work on various carriers in the years ahead. Problem is the average consumer which is the majority walk into a phone store to get a phone. Huge Samsung and Apple displays greet them. They don't know or care to order from Amazon or manufacturer directly. I've always liked HTC phones, but then I liked Blackberry devices and looked what happened to them. Sad to see but HTC has slowly been slipping away. I saw some brand new in box HTC 7's on eBay the other day for $200. Loved that one.
    I agree with you: most people walk into a store to buy a phone directly; and what's on display is what catches their eye first. I've only bought an unlocked phone online once, but loved the experience so I would do it again. Also, most people opt for what is trendy or in nowadays; and so really good alternatives like HTC could get overlooked.
    05-17-2017 12:20 PM
  21. Eggmundo's Avatar
    I agree with you: most people walk into a store to buy a phone directly; and what's on display is what catches their eye first. I've only bought an unlocked phone online once, but loved the experience so I would do it again. Also, most people opt for what is trendy or in nowadays; and so really good alternatives like HTC could get overlooked.
    They should opt to stand out and be different... I don't get this mentality to be the same.
    Morty2264 likes this.
    05-17-2017 12:25 PM
  22. Morty2264's Avatar
    They should opt to stand out and be different... I don't get this mentality to be the same.
    I try and buy devices that aren't "mainstream" because I like to go a different route. With my Honor 8, people look at it and don't even know what it is. I like that!
    James E1 and Eggmundo like this.
    05-17-2017 12:31 PM
  23. krazyatom's Avatar
    I feel like LG g6 is better buy for me. Small bezel and earphone support are important for me.
    05-17-2017 12:39 PM
  24. cbreze's Avatar
    They should opt to stand out and be different... I don't get this mentality to be the same.
    Perfect example: Ran into a guy at one of my 12 step meetings the other day who had just gotten his first smart phone a couple weeks prior. In his late 50's he was clueless, walked into a Verizon store and was fresh meat for the sales rep. He would have bought anything they said because he had done no homework or prior checking, just walked in. So of course he walked out with an S8. Insurance and the whole 9 yards.

    Then while waiting one day to pay my prepaid line I see a lady around 60-ish with an S8. I said how do you like your S8? She says, "I think I like it ok, but I'm not sure if it's the right phone for me". I notice she still has it all set up as totally default samsung.
    Then later at the grocery store the woman in front of me is checking her Iphone and I can easily see she has changed nothing and it is still in fresh out of the box settings. All default on the home screen.
    Wow, as I smile inwardly, 3 clueless consumers sucked in by advertising hype and/or sales reps from the local phone store. And this is what keeps Samsung and Apple chugging along at the top of the heap.
    mohit9206 likes this.
    05-17-2017 12:48 PM
  25. Eggmundo's Avatar
    Perfect example: Ran into a guy at one of my 12 step meetings the other day who had just gotten his first smart phone a couple weeks prior. In his late 50's he was clueless, walked into a Verizon store and was fresh meat for the sales rep. He would have bought anything they said because he had done no homework or prior checking, just walked in. So of course he walked out with an S8. Insurance and the whole 9 yards.

    Then while waiting one day to pay my prepaid line I see a lady around 60-ish with an S8. I said how do you like your S8? She says, "I think I like it ok, but I'm not sure if it's the right phone for me". I notice she still has it all set up as totally default samsung.
    Then later at the grocery store the woman in front of me is checking her Iphone and I can easily see she has changed nothing and it is still in fresh out of the box settings. All default on the home screen.
    Wow, as I smile inwardly, 3 clueless consumers sucked in by advertising hype and/or sales reps from the local phone store. And this is what keeps Samsung and Apple chugging along at the top of the heap.
    Bingo. But it can't go on forever!
    05-17-2017 12:59 PM
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