HTC will invest significantly in promoting its new Desire 816 smartphone with the ambition of making it the number one mid-range device on the market.
The Taiwanese manufacturer revealed the handset along with another member of the Desire family, the 610, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, and UK, Nordic and partner market vice-president Peter Frolund told Mobile that consumers would not be able to get a smartphone with the spec of the 816 for the same price.
He said: ‘The Desire 816 will get marketing support from us, and we will be going above the line for this particular device when we are ready to launch. It’s the first time in a while we that we will be investing significantly in our Desire family from a marketing point of view, and that will hopefully send a strong signal to our partners in the UK.
‘We call it our mid-tier flagship, and we think we have something that no one else has in that category today. If you look at the price point, you’re actually getting a phone that would have been a premium device just a year ago.’
Last month, Frolund and president of EMEA, Phil Blair, said HTC would have its largest ever marketing budget and would put a lot of effort into improving point of sale. He confirmed that the device would be hitting the UK market at the end of Q2, and although he couldn’t reveal and exact price point, he said that customers would be able to purchase the Desire 816 at ‘the mid-£20 per month mark’ on a monthly contract.
The new handset has some impressive features for a mid-tier offering, boasting a 5.5-inch phablet-like screen, 13-megapixel camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and Frolund remains confident the 816 will aid HTC in its market share hunt.
The smartphone maker didn’t reveal a flagship offering at the showpiece event like market rival Samsung, but the executive added that when the company was ready to unveil the follow-up to the lauded HTC One it will be as strong a proposition.
Frolund added: ‘We are in a very competitive industry and we do respect what our competitors are doing. They have great phones, no question about that. But we have great phones as well. Which phone was the most awarded in 2013?
‘Our ambition for 2014 is to make sure that this phone is going to be even better. When we ready to announce our flagship device the aspiration from our side is that it will be the best phone of 2014.’
HTC was ‘very pleased’ with its experience at Mobile World Congress, as it capped off a year of awards for the HTC One with a Best Smartphone accolade from the GSMA.
Frolund said: ‘It’s the second time we have received that award from the association, the first time being a few years ago for the HTC Hero. So, looking at 2013, I think it was a strong performance from us having the most recognised phone and the most awards. And now to have this award from mobile’s most recognised organisation is a super result from Barcelona.’