It won’t be totally wrong to say that HTC’s missed the bus in India’s smartphone market as far as the second half of 2015 is concerned.
After taking everyone by surprise by launching the first non-flagship 4G device (Desire 820) in India over a year ago and following it up with a range of stylish mid- and high-end smartphones, the Taiwanese brand has been largely absent from the headlines in India in the second half.
Things, however, are starting to change in the last one month. In November, it introduced the One A9 (5 inch AMOLED full-HD, priced Rs 30k), the One E9S (5.5 inch HD AMOLED at Rs 21,000) and the Desire 728g (5.5 inch HD LCD, priced at Rs 17,400). It also introduced the Desire 828, available on Flipkart at Rs 19,999.
Though these did not exactly make waves like the One E9 and 820 did a year ago, they at least served to remind buyers that the brand was still around, and offered mid-range choices with Android Lolipop.
However, the biggest problem for the brand has been that it’s new models have all been in the mid-range or high-end category.
The HTC Desire 626 seeks to rectify that shortcoming.
In terms of specifications, it remarkably similar to the Desire 820, which was introduced at Rs 24,000 a year ago and is still selling for Rs 16,500.
However, the 626 will be priced in the Rs 13,500-14,000 range, making it HTC’s cheapest LTE phone in India.
The specs are almost identical to the 820, except for the front camera, which is only 5 MP compared to the 8 MP shooter on the older model. The battery too has been shrunk from 2.6 Ah to 2 Ah.
In fact, the Desire 626 is not really a new model. It has been selling in foreign markets for eight months already, and ships with Android 4.4 in places like the US.
In September, it launched the device in Japan after updating the software to Lolipop, which should mean that the Indian version too would get Android 5.1.1.
The biggest challenge for the company would be pricing. The market has seen a tremendous influx of models from Chinese brands like Xiaomo, Meizu, Lenovo, Phicomm and OnePlus similar specifications to HTC’s models at half the price.