HTC confirms One smartphone launch delay due to component shortages

HTC confirmed that it has pushed back the global rollout of its flagship One smartphone by several weeks due to supply constraints of key components, a decision that will push the One's launch closer to that of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S4.


Click here for pictures, videos, specs and more of the HTC One.

HTC has said in February the One would be available globally through more than 185 operators and major retailers in more than 80 regions and countries beginning in March. A week ago, HTC confirmed there would be a slight delay but it did not say why. "We will start fulfilling pre-orders by end [of] March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April," the company said in a statement to multiple news outlets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited HTC executives, the delay is due to shortages of key camera and metal casing components for the aluminum unibody phone, which has drawn praise from analysts and bloggers but which faces an uphill battle against the Galaxy S4.

"The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments," an unnamed HTC executive told the Journal. "HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer."

After selling 43.2 million phones in 2011, according to research firm Gartner, HTC saw sales slide in 2012 down to 32.1 million units amid intense competition from the likes of Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at the high end and Huawei and ZTE at the lower end of the market.

The HTC One is encased in an aluminum unibody shell and has a 4.7-inch full HD 1080p display, like the Droid DNA. The devices sports LTE and runs on the latest Android Jelly Bean operating system. The One has a quad-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 600 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 2,300 mAh battery and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. HTC is also banking on unique software to help it stand out. One of the phone's key features is BlinkFeed, which turns the device's home screen into a single live stream of personally relevant, customizable information that includes social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, news and photos.

"We...are working tirelessly with all of our channel partners to ensure that we can fulfill as many orders as possible," HTC CMO Benjamin Ho said in a statement to the Journal. He reiterated that HTC will start fulfilling pre-orders by the end of March in certain markets and will expand the launch to more markets as April approaches.

The One will likely go head-to-head against the S4 this spring. Samsung has not said when it will introduce the phone in the United States, but has said it will start to roll out the device starting at the end of April through 337 operators in 155 countries. The S4 is likely going to benefit from a massive Samsung marketing campaign, which HTC hopes to counteract with its own more targeted and aggressive marketing messages. HTC has vowed to improve its marketing this year but its budget for advertising the One is likely going to be dwarfed by Samsung's budget for the S4.

Meanwhile, AllThingsD reported--for the second time--that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will eventually launch the HTC One. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA have confirmed they will launch the One, but Verizon has not. AllThingsD recently reported that Verizon would eventually get the phone as well, but then HTC's official U.S. Twitter account said that was not the case. That tweet has since been pulled down and AllThingsD reports that, according to an unnamed source, the One will assuredly come to Verizon.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this The Verge article
- see this AllThingsD article

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