Guest Post: Are early HTC handsets just too good?

by James Rosewell, CEO with 51degrees.mobi

During December 2012 in the United States, the HTC Evo 4G contributed 20 per cent of all HTC devices web traffic. What is remarkable about this figure is that the HTC Evo 4G was first released in June 2010 and is 35 months old. The HTC One series of devices were released during 2012 and contributed less than 10 per cent of HTC’s web traffic in the same month. This begs the question, “Are HTC devices released pre 2012 too good to upgrade?”
This month [February 2013] at Mobile World Congress , Barcelona a host of new smartphones will be announced.

With so many new devices hitting the market, consumers are faced with the tough decision of either keeping their trusty mobile or exploring the realms of a completely new device.

Some smartphones are so good that they seem to outlive newer successors, but how many consumers are holding on to their old tech?

The accompanying chart shows the Top 15 HTC devices as measured by percentage of web traffic generated by HTC devices during December 2012 in the USA.

This has then been arranged in ascending order of release date as measured by our free 51Degrees.mobi mobile analytics tools.

Percentage of all HTC originated web traffic during December 2012 in the United States by device model. Source 51Degrees.mobi Mobile Analytics

The EVO 4G stands out as contributing 20 per cent of HTC’s web traffic.

Analysing all HTC devices by age from the month they were first released shows just how popular pre 2012 HTC devices still are.

HTC Devices are ‘hanging around’ for a lot longer as their lives are extended through multiple software and app upgrades which don’t require increased hardware capabilities.

Percentage of all HTC originated web traffic during December 2012 in the United States by device age in months. Source: 51Degrees.mobi Mobile Analytics

Many consumers don’t need the latest quad core phones to shave milliseconds of the time taken to perform basic tasks.

It is not only the software that is kept up-to-date; the mobile web is also managing to become a prominent focus of most web designers.

This has allowed for a far superior mobile web experience, and could be a reason for people holding on to their devices far longer.

The fact that older HTC devices are just so good is probably cold comfort for HTC CEO Peter Chou, in charge of reversing HTCs fortunes.

HTC, later than others, realised they need to shrink their range and bring focus to their marketing in 2012.

Only two months stand out for product releases in the above charts, showing that HTC have finally started to release more focused devices.

Author biog

Prior to starting 51Degrees.mobi in 2009, CEO James Rosewell spent ten years running major mobile programmes for Vodafone. Plus he founded and sold a mobile marketing business. He’s passionate about delivering great user experiences cost effectively to all mobile devices. James led many mobile initiatives for Vodafone, including the development of the 1st mobile web application for the Nokia 7110 in 1999.

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