The story now is about Samsung’s rise and HTC’s decline. But the silence is more interesting: no talk about Chinese manufacturers. The US 100
computer handset is Huawei’s. Let’s see how this story gets written next year.
HTC was the first company to make a big bet on Android. It released the G1, the first smartphone running Google’s operating system, in 2007. In the ensuing years, HTC continued to ride Google’s momentum, pumping out some of the most popular Android smartphones, like the Nexus One. The bet paid off: By 2009, HTC became the world’s fourth-largest maker of smartphones, after Nokia, Research in Motion and Apple.
Samsung waited until 2010 to make an aggressive play with Android, when it released its Galaxy S smartphone, which sold 10 million units in 10 months. Samsung rolled out more products under the Galaxy portfolio, including the Galaxy S II phone and the Galaxy Tab tablet. It threw as much as it could against the wall until some things stuck. And if some products were flops, Samsung could afford losses, given its size. For HTC, a smaller manufacturer, failures would be less forgiving.