HTC’s new handset this year, the One M8, boasts beautiful industrial design. In terms of hardware, it might be the nicest phone currently on the market, and the person in charge of designing it, Senior VP Scott Croyle, is leaving HTC.
It seems to be an amicable split, with Croyle staying on as part of a “long-term” transition over the next few months, which will allow Croyle to see a few of his “current projects” to completion, possibly including the successor to the M8 or HTC’s rumored Google Now smartwatch. Current Associate VP Jonah Becker is likely to replace Croyle, according to The Verge.
Drew Bamford, the executive in charge of Sense UI, HTC’s Android skin, also got a promotion: he now reports directly to CEO Peter Chou and is leading up San Francisco-based HTC Creative Labs.
The HTC One M8 and its predecessor, the HTC One M7, have earned rave reviews, especially in regards to their industrial design, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into better sales: according to ComScore, HTC’s smartphone market share is still a scant 5.7 percent in the United States. In particular, the HTC One M7 sold poorly, with one analyst estimating HTC sold 1.2 million units per month, compared to Samsung’s sales figures of 10 million units during the same period of time. Since 2011, HTC’s share price has dropped over 87%.
Last April, my colleague Kevin Tofel argued that while HTC designs great phones, that doesn’t necessarily move the sales needle:
Lastly, there’s the perception of how much people value well-built Android hardware. I’d argue that HTC designs and makes some of the best Android handsets. They have heft but aren’t too heavy, have few actual hardware issues and are solidly built. And there are many folks that don’t like the “plasticky” cases of competitors’ phones — I’m looking at you, Samsung. But in the overall Android market, which is quite vast, software trumps hardware.
We’ve asked HTC for comment and will update if we receive a response.