HTC to launch new sub-20k phone to take on Moto X Play in India

htcHTC fans are a disappointed lot these days. After a flurry of launches 6 months ago, the Taiwanese major has more or less gone silent as far as the mid-range market in India is concerned, leaving the market to models like Moto X Play and OnePlus Two.

The only exception was the HTC One E9s, a stripped-down version of the flagship One series phone launched this month for around Rs 22,000.

However, the One E9s suffers from a key drawback — it has a 720p display, which offers only half as many pixels on the screen as does models like the Meizu M2 Note and the Lenovo K3, both of which are priced at just Rs 9,999 in India.

Of course, another phone with a full-HD display, the One A9, is also on its way to India. However, that will be priced at no less than Rs 29,000, according to our sources. Part of the reason is that the One A9 is also part of the ‘One’ series, which means that it will come with an all-metal premium body and certain bells and whistles that pushes up its price.

What HTC really needs is an update to its Desire 826 — the company’s first Lolipop phone and the first in its mid-range Desire series to offer a full-HD display.

However, the Desire 826 was launched about six months back and there has been no other full-HD phone in the Desire series from HTC since then.

Meanwhile, competitors like Lenovo, Meizu, Xiaomi, Yu and Motorola have flooded the Indian market with affordable 4G-enabled full-HD mid-range phones.

HTC, which always had a strong fan following in India, has struggled in the last couple of months to maintain sales of its key Desire 800 series in face of this onslaught.

That is getting remedied early next month the launch of a new Desire 800 series phone that will be priced “very close” to the Moto X Play. The Moto X Play is currently priced at Rs 18,500 in India for the 16 GB version.

As the upcoming phone from HTC will also be a 5.5-inch, 16 GB model based on a mid-range MediaTek processor, it too is likely to be priced in the sub-Rs 20,000 range.

That will be a welcome change as the phone will offer more or less the same features as the Desire 826 (current price Rs 24,000) at a much lower cost. Without the model, HTC is likely to continue to struggle in the mid-range market, with phones like Lenovo K3 and Meizu M2 Note attacking the low-price market, while the Moto X Play, Meizu MX5, Gionee S7 and OnePlus Two attacking the Rs 20,000-range market.

In addition, HTC will also launch another 5.5-inch Desire phone with a price of around Rs 13,500. The main difference between the two upcoming models will be in terms of display resolution, with the cheaper model coming with a 720p display.