As the Korean giants try to catch up with HTC in Android super phones, HTC itself is going in the other direction.
The vendor is chasing emerging economies where low cost smartphones are starting to take hold, and where the top three phone makers have the natural advantage.
HTC has announced plans to expand its Indian operations and to create a significant challenge in affordable smartphones as the giant market moves to 3G from late 2010.
Nokia, with over 70% handset share in India, is the one to beat.
But Samsung and LG also have a strong presence, Chinese phone makers are growing, and there is a nascent homegrown cellphone business (though mainly at the feature phone end so far).
HTC said it would work closely with national fulfillment distribution partner, Brightpoint India and new dedicated distribution partner Ingram Micro to increase its presence in large retail chain stores, the main channel for phones in India.
HTC will focus on stepping up retail activities in national, regional and local stores, and also developing a “comprehensive user experience” for those channels. The plan is to cover 100 tier two and three cities by next July - up from 25 now - plus intensifying operations in the major metros and offering a higher level of marketing and distribution support.
“India's unique geography, culture and consumer culture create a complex retail environment that requires a deep understanding of local retailers and consumer needs,” said Jack Tong, VP of HTC Asia-Pacific, in a statement.
“HTC is focusing on offering customers a better retail experience that fully represents what the HTC brand stands for.”
According to Gartner, smartphone sales in India made up 5.2% of total device sales in the first quarter of 2010, even with no 3G, but Symbian was the overwhelming leader. The research firm expects this share to rise to 18% by 2014.
This article originally appeared in Rethink Wireless