HTC finally raises its flag but can the U11 put the squeeze on its rivals?

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Manufacturer should be realistic on expectations with new flagship smartphone

Late to the flagship party as usual is HTC with the U11 announced just last week (May 16).

The U11 (pictured), released in the firm’s 20th year in business, seems an impressive device with a unique feature in ‘edge sense’ where users can squeeze the U11 to launch apps and take selfies.

There’s no headphone jack but HTC have the courtesy to at least include an adapter, unlike a certain Californian rival that comes to mind.

However, will the U11 get HTC out of the ‘squeeze’ it’s currently in? Revenue for the first nine months of last year almost halved to NT$55.91 billion compared to NT$95.53 year-on-year.

Starting late is risky, especially this year when all eyes are on the Samsung Galaxy S8 range. The spotlight was shone onto the Korean manufacturer after that well publicised Note7 fiasco.

The U11 will not defeat the S8 in terms of sales or consumer favour, or any of the current top dogs such as Apple and Huawei – but it can be the start of a brighter future. Work is already on the way on the B2B side according to HTC president of Europe Greig Williams, vowing to improve communication with dealers at the Data Select Platinum Club last month.

On the U11 Williams said: “The key is how we differentiate the brand; we’re going to be specific to who we target, we’re not going to compete as we will be shouted out by others.”

The jury is still out on the U11 but if it can at least sell more than the HTC 10, the manufacturer can chalk it down as a win.

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