Every smartphone maker claims to support its devices after they've been bought, but today HTC asserts itself as the company that does it more comprehensively than anyone else. Announcing an extension of the HTC Advantage program that it launched last year, HTC America is launching Uh Oh Protection for its new One M9 flagship phone. Once you get past the silly name, you'll find what's essentially free phone insurance bundled in with your purchase: you'll get one free replacement handset if your phone suffers a cracked screen or water damage, or you decide to switch carriers. The carrier-switching aspect is what elevates Uh Oh above the level of simple insurance, and is particularly helpful since every US operator requires a different set of bands to be supported.
To prevent abuse of its new service, HTC is providing an incentive to keep your One M9 out of harm's way: those who don't make use of Uh Oh Protection in the first year will receive a $100 discount on their next HTC One purchase. The ideal scenario for HTC would be a customer that buys its present smartphone, enjoys the heck out of it, and a year later upgrades — at a discount relative to newcomers — to the next generation. That would breed customer loyalty and encourage a faster upgrade cycle, both of which would then offset the hit to the company's bottom line that providing this assurance requires. If there's any downside to this news, it's that it's limited to the United States.