HTC is making good on its pledge to expand its range of mid-tier smartphones with the launch today of a new handset called the HTC One Mini 2.
It’s the strategy the current senior management is hoping can revive the phone maker’s fortunes in the fiercely competitive Android space. The company posted a quarterly loss of $62 million in its Q1 — the second loss-making quarter in the past three quarters for HTC.
Even Android kingpin Samsung is having a tougher time of late in the phone space, with slowing growth. Meanwhile a plethora of fast-paced Chinese companies are nibbling marketshare and gunning to go global — including Lenovo (which is in the process of acquiring Motorola) and Xiaomi, which will take its devices to 10 new markets this year.
All this means there’s not going to be any let up in the competitive landscape for HTC. So it really needs to step up its game to produce handsets that both win fans and fly off the shelves in quantity — hence its current focus on adding more affordable, mass market appeal handsets to its portfolio.
The new HTC handset is a more compact and less powerful version of HTC’s current top-of-the-range flagship, the HTC One M8. It’s also a follow on to last year’s One Mini — but has a fractionally larger, 4.5 inch display.
But the big flagship feature that HTC is hoping to woo the mainstream with here is a beefed up 5MP front-facing camera — aka a selfie camera.
The device also includes “auto Touch Up software” for — as HTC puts it — “unforgettable selfies”, just in case the selfie angle wasn’t obvious enough already.
Auto touch-up software for beautifying selfies is nothing new — Nokia added an airbrushing digital lens called ‘Glam Me Up’ to the Lumia 720 back in early 2013, for instance. But the selfie phenomenon hasn’t shown signs of burning out yet (if anything, the opposite), so HTC is clearly hoping to hitch its cart to that barreling bandwagon.
The One Mini 2’s smaller size and curved back are even being dubbed ‘selfie-friendly’, with HTC noting the One Mini 2’s form factor promotes a “natural one-hand fit”.
There’s no word on price for the One Mini 2 as yet. But the European version is due to launch at the end of this month so there won’t be long to wait to find out.
Whether a few pro-selfie features is enough of a lure to get this phone selling in the quantities HTC needs to start to turn its business around remains to be seen.