Samsung has left HTC behind, yet again
I'm not talking about hardware specs, sales, or anything of that nature directly; instead, look at the announcements just made late last night/early this morning for the Samsung Galaxy S III: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/4/3062051/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-to-hit-five-us-carriers-in-june-staring-at-199
All 4 major carriers AND US Cellular are getting the Galaxy S III in a version completely unchanged from the global version launched just last month. It even retains the same name. Look at the branding; the front is SAMSUNG, whereas the back shows the wireless carrier and Galaxy S III. Sprint and T-Mobile have announced availability on June 21st, and the others have announced preorders starting this week. With the Galaxy S II, there were very different variants out there which had GSII in the name, but the carriers were able to modify that name (e.g. Epic 4G Touch, GSII Skyrocket). It seems that is no longer the case.
HTC tried to mirror Samsung's successful Galaxy S series of smartphones by introducing its own "One" line of smartphones. HTC even stated that it would be reducing the number of devices made available to customers, but has that really succeeded in the US? You have the One X and One S, largely unchanged from the international versions, on AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively. But you have a heavily modified One X on Sprint with a name that has been changed to put more focus on Sprint instead of HTC as the EVO 4GLTE. Verizon is getting a device that is similar to the One S, but not close enough to be a One S. Even HTC's strategy to have a low end, mid-tier, and high end device isn't strong as carriers seem to be picking and choosing which models to release instead of releasing them all. Putting forth a strong push behind the HTC One X on all carriers could have proven to be more successful than trying to sell all three models to the carriers.
Don't get me wrong, I really like the One series. They feel fantastic, and the One X SLCD2 HD screen is AMAZING. And I'm not stating that the GSIII is the better device. But Samsung has really won this round by using its positioning at the top of the Android mountain and finally doing what no other OEM outside of Apple has done. Carrier bloatware remains to be seen, but at least Android 4.0 disable App feature mitigates that nuisance a bit. A near simultaneous launch on the 5 biggest US carriers only a month behind the international launch shows us the true power that Samsung wields in this market. Let's hope Samsung uses that power well and gives customers what they want going forward. The company seems to know what people want, even if first impressions aren't ideal.