HTC One delayed and will now compete with Samsung Galaxy S4
HTC's flagship phone, the One, will ship later than the Taiwanese company had hoped and now compete directly with the Samsung Galaxy S4, the company has confirmed.
The company said that it had struggled to secure components for its 4.7" touchscreen device because it was no longer considered a top tier partner by parts manufacturers.
The news will be a major blow to the company which had pinned its hopes on the One to reinvigorate its fortunes. Chief Executive Peter Chou has reportedly told colleagues that he will resign if the phone is not a success, and it had been greeted by largely positive reviews.
The HTC One was unveiled at events in London and New York, and had been slated for release in March. It is not now expected to be on sale until the end of the month, and not widely available until April. Analysts believed that being able to steal a march on the Samsung Galaxy S4, which also launches in April, was crucial for HTC.
The Wall Street Journal said HTC executives had confirmed the delayed rollout, while some retail distributors such as Vodafone had also been notified.
An unnamed executive said HTC has been grappling with supply chain problems as the company "has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments", the report said.
HTC said in a brief statement to AFP: "We will start fulfilling pre-orders by end March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April." The firm, which has 185 distributors globally, declined to go into details.
"We... are working tirelessly with all of our channel partners to ensure that we can fulfill as many orders as possible," Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ho said in a statement, according to the Journal.
Company president Peter Chou hailed it as a "technological breakthrough" as he seeks to put up a fight against the hugely popular Apple iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S4, which was unveiled just last week.
However it has a tough fight, with research firm firm IDC saying, HTC held a 4.6pc share of the global smartphone market in 2012, a sharp decline from 8.8pc a year earlier. Samsung held a 30.3pc, while Apple had 19.1pc.
And in a research paper released early this month, the Taipei-based KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co said it was "conservative on the outlook for HTC One in the next six months".
It said the gloomy forecast was based on expected mass production bottlenecks and low shipments of Ultrapixel cameras.
HTC said net profit in the three months to December plunged 91pc year on year to Tw$1bn as sales dived 41pc.
While challenged by major rivals Apple and Samsung in mature markets, HTC has been turning to emerging markets including China, analysts say, but it faces competition from China's telecom giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp.