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HTC One’s smartphone update to see better marketing

Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, introduces the HTC One (M8) on Tuesday in New York. (Associated Press)
Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, introduces the HTC One (M8) on Tuesday in New York. (Associated Press)

NEW YORK – HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and more camera features.

The original HTC One received good reviews and was named the best smartphone of 2013 at the wireless industry’s premier trade show in Barcelona, Spain, last month. But HTC has failed to translate that glowing praise into sales.

HTC executives acknowledge that the company made several operational mistakes in releasing last year’s phone, including the fact that customers of the leading U.S. wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless, weren’t able to buy it until months after its launch. This time, the phone will be available right away through all the major carriers – and Verizon will get it first in stores.

Online orders started Tuesday, while most retail stores will get them by April 10. Verizon had them in stores Tuesday as well. The new phone, officially the HTC One (M8), will cost about $200 to $250 with a two-year service contract, or about $650 without a contract.

HTC also plans aggressive marketing, including the heavy use of cable and broadcast television ads. The goal is to reach tech-savvy consumers and trendsetters who are likely to recommend the phone to friends. But HTC executives said it won’t try to match Samsung dollar for dollar.

Samsung Electronics Co. dominates the global smartphone market. Last year, the Korean company had a 31 percent market share compared with Apple Inc.’s 16 percent, according to Gartner. HTC had less than 5 percent.

To break through, HTC plans to emphasize the One’s metal design. Samsung’s phones typically have a plastic back panel, while Apple’s iPhones use glass. At Tuesday’s launch event, HTC compared the phone’s smooth, polished finish with jewelry.

The new One will have a screen measuring 5 inches diagonally, up from 4.7 inches in last year’s model.