HTC is ruining the smartphone that could have been its savior

Does HTC want the One A9 to sell? Photo: HTC

Does HTC want the One A9 to sell? Photo: HTC

At $399, HTC’s new One A9 is more affordable than most flagship smartphones off-contract — but it’s still not in the same bracket as devices like the OnePlus 2. And it’s only going to get more expensive.

HTC mentioned during its One A9 unveiling that this price tag was a “limited time promotional offer,” and that ends when the device makes its official debut on November 7 — at which point, HTC will add another $100 to the One A9’s price tag.

I have mixed feelings about the One A9. I’m willing to ignore the fact that it looks almost identical to an iPhone, and appreciate its good looks separately — but even with that high-end aluminum form factor, it’s incredibly hard to justify its price tag.

The One A9 has midrange specifications that can’t compete with the latest flagships, but it isn’t cheap enough to rival decent midrange offerings, either. It’s hard to imagine anyone but hardcore HTC fans (do they even exist anymore?) will buy one, then.

It will be even harder to imagine HTC selling boatloads of units come November 7, when the One A9’s price tag increases to $499.99 at What’s more, HTC has given its regional sales teams the ability to price the One A9 independently, so it could be even more expensive in certain areas.

“The cost of the HTC One A9 is the same worldwide to all distributors and operator partners. For end consumers, HTC’s sales regions are given the freedom to set prices and promotions as they see fit for local market needs,” HTC told Android Central.

“The One A9 price in the US is a very limited-time promotional offer for that region’s online store, as well as select HTC-only franchise stores… After the promotional pre-sale offer ends, the new price in the US at will be $499.99 beginning 12:01 a.m. on 11/7.”

For the same money, you could get Google’s brand new Nexus 6P, which also packs a high-end aluminum form factor — plus a larger and sharper (Quad HD) display, a faster Snapdragon 810 processor, a better camera, pure Android software… the list goes on.

HTC got a lot right with the One A9, and if it was more affordable — perhaps $300 — I could see the company selling a lot of units and working its way out of the rut it is in. But it’s crazy to think this phone will be a success at $500+. HTC just can’t hit the nail on the head.