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Mobile Devices

"Shortages" Delay HTC One Debut

19 March 2013

HTC Corp. has cited “component shortages” as the reason it will delay the rollout of its new HTC One smartphone—in a market that’s flush with supply, according to the Wall Street Journal.

HTC has been unable to acquire the parts it needs because it dramatically downgraded forecasts following last year’s sales slump. The Journal reported HTC can’t secure metal casings and camera components because it is no longer a tier-1 customer.

“HTC’s problem is more in regard to losing credibility with camera component suppliers due to having to cut previous orders as a result of weak demand in HTC handsets,” said Pam Tufegdzic, a consumer electronics analyst with IHS.

In speaking with image sensor suppliers in the past, they are very sensitive, as cutbacks in orders from key customers can impact revenues negatively along with their seasonal manufacturing cycles, according to Tufegdzic. "Image sensor suppliers depend heavily on design wins and then count on those wins for future revenues, so HTC cutting back previous orders has hurt suppliers, which gives suppliers some valid reasons to be cautious," she said.

“However,” Tufegdzic added, “I would think image sensor suppliers would want to win the HTC One regardless of their history with cutbacks. The HTC One image sensor would likely be competitive and an easy task to manufacturer due to the low density at 4MP and larger 2.0um sensor size -- if HTC committed to produce a good sized volume.”

HTC is one of several smartphone makers that is struggling to regain market share in the wake of Apple’s and Samsung Electronics' dominance in the mobile phone market. The flagship HTC One was set to roll out in March in an effort to reverse HTC’s fortunes. The model features a 4.7-inch touch-screen with an all-aluminum body and runs on Google Inc.'s Android.

"We...are working tirelessly with all of our channel partners to ensure that we can fulfill as many orders as possible. We will start fulfilling pre-orders by the end of March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April," HTC Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ho said in a statement.

The delay means HTC will face more competition from Samsung's latest Galaxy S4 smartphone, which is set to hit the market in April

Several retail distributors and telecom operators including Vodafone Group said that HTC has notified them of shipment delays of the new smartphone, the Journal reported. Best Buy Co. said in a statement the retailer was planning to sell the smartphone around the third week of March, but the date has been pushed back.

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