There’s no denying it, HTC is in trouble. 2015 sales figures are less than stellar as their monthly revenue has been on a steady decline since April. Many owe this bad performance to the OEM’s disappointing 2015 flagship the One M9 and how HTC didn’t go back to the drawing board when developing it. Perhaps it was because they were stubborn, or perhaps it was because of a lack of communication between the company and their customers that put them in this predicament.
Well, HTC must’ve figured it was the latter because the smartphone manufacturer just announced that they are opening up the HTC Preview Program to all in the hope that it would help them better understand what exactly their customers want.
In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on social, news and entertainment aggregation website Reddit, HTC’s USA Preview Team announced their intention to find a new way to connect back to the Android community, as well as answer any questions the community might have about this program. In a nutshell, this program will allow HTC fans to get their hands on the company’s latest software and hardware before it is released, in exchange for daily use and feedback.
Yes, hardware too. In the FAQ hosted on the Preview website, it is stated that while those selected to participate in this program will occasionally require participants to use their own devices, depending on the specific HTC Preview projects, the OEM may also provide loaner devices too. It seems like a good opportunity to get your hands on some unreleased HTC hardware.
Of course, as the primary purpose of this program is to identify daily user habits, user information and feedback has to be collected by the company. However, HTC has clarified that while there will be logs running in the background to collect data on network/signal strength, battery information, usage times and apps used, they will not collect any sensitive personal data or tell what you are looking at on your screen unless you explicitly take a screenshot to share with them.
They also clarified that one of the reasons they have opened up the HTC Preview program is to have actual hard facts and feedback on what their users want. This is so that they have actual data backing them when they tell executives what their customers want, which in turn makes it easier to have an impact on change within the company.
HTC also reassured the community that they will take the feedback from this program very seriously and will tweak their upcoming devices to improve based on that information. They also added that if feedback for a device is overwhelmingly negative, they would even use that information to evaluate a product’s release.
This is a very bold move by HTC, bringing what looks like, on the surface at least, more transparency to their product development. It should also ignite a warm fire in the hearts of HTC fans who have been clamouring for their voices to be heard and who are passionate about helping the company grow past these hard times.
However, as this has only just been launched, the actual effectiveness of this program remains to be seen. They could just be all talk and have no action. For whatever it’s worth, let’s hope this does help them get back on its feet because it would be such a shame if the company, which had brought us one of the most beautiful metal unibody designs, fell out of the race.
For those of you who are interested, you can also participate in the HTC Preview program, just head on over to their website and follow the instructions there.