jason_mackenzie

HTC

Mobile


After spending the last two years narrowing its product line, HTC has decided it needs to expand.

The company announced the first step in that direction Monday, announcing the Desire 816, a mid-range phone. The Desire 816 is kind of like a plastic version of the flagship HTC One, or HTC’s equivalent of the iPhone 5c.

But that’s not all the company has in store.

“I think you will see not just the 816 which was announced today, but also us going after new segments we haven’t addressed in the U.S. in a long time in 2014,” HTC America President Jason Mackenzie told Re/code in an interview following the company’s event in Barcelona.

“We’ve got to get mainstream America to want to go into a retail store and ask for HTC,” Mackenzie said. “That’s our biggest challenge … and to do that against two Goliaths who have huge war chests.”

Despite strong reviews for its products, HTC has been struggling against the marketing budgets of Samsung and Apple.

Mackenzie said that while there were advantages to narrowing the company’s focus, there have also been downsides to having all its eggs in the One basket.

“You have to walk past 10 Samsung products to see the one One,” Mackenzie said.

Wearables will also be a part of HTC’s efforts to expand.

“That’s something [HTC Chairwoman] Cher [Wang] has been pretty active in talking about,” Mackenzie said.

As for Windows Phones, Mackenzie said to expect new models, but didn’t offer any specifics on timing.

“We’ll continue to partner with Microsoft,” Mackenzie said.

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