updated 12:05 pm EST, Wed November 23, 2011
HTC dims expectations as Android dream cools
HTC acted as a possible bellwether for Android on Wednesday after it cut its outlook further beyond earlier predictions. The company in a filing lowered its revenue estimate by 23 percent to give it the same $3.4 billion in revenue as a year ago. It also now predicted the first sequential slowdown in sales in roughly two years.
The company dropped strong hints that Apple, and likely also Samsung, was directly responsible for the look. While it like others partly blamed the economy, it also blamed "market competition." Assumptions from a forecast just weeks ago "are no longer applicable," HTC said.
HTC has new phones on the market in the fall, such as the Vivid, Rezound, and Sensation XL, but it's currently facing one of the stiffest fields of competition to date. Samsung has both brought the Galaxy S II to the US and is about to deliver the Galaxy Nexus, getting an Android 4.0 device on the market before HTC was even allowed to see the code.
Apple's iPhone 4S may be the deeper issue. Along with taking attention away from HTC's own releases as usual, it's also now available on Sprint. The CDMA carrier has often been seen as HTC's safe haven in the US, since it not only gives HTC phones like the Evo 3D the most publicity but was considered one of the least likely to get an iPhone given its smaller size. Apple has historically had the most popular smartphone on a given North American carrier and is believed to already be relegating HTC to a minority on Sprint.
HTC's slump could also signal trouble for Android as a whole. As second only to Samsung in Android, a slowdown on its part affects the platform as a whole.