HTC is very proud of its A9 handset, even going as far as to proclaim that Apple copied the company’s design language which is now billed as “metalmorphics“. While the device may be divisive, interested parties are no doubt taken by its near-stock Android build, the generous warranty, solid specs, and the reasonable price. While the Taiwanese OEM has openly noted the $399 cost was only a limited time affair, today we know the full picture: from November 7th the A9 will cost $499.99.
Specifically, the company has provided the following statement to clarify this issue:
The cost of the HTC One A9 is the same worldwide to all distributors and operator partners. For end consumers, HTC’s sales regions are given the freedom to set prices and promotions as they see fit for local market needs. The One A9 price in the US is a very limited-time promotional offer for that region’s online store, as well as select HTC-only franchise stores. The offer is a special promotional pre-sale and is expected to conclude once the One A9 is available on-shelf at major retail and distributor partners.
After the promotional pre-sale offer ends, the new price in the US at htc.com will be $499.99 beginning 12:01am on 11/7
Pricing a problem?
On a global scale, the A9 seems to be replicating the same pricing problem seen in the new Nexus devices. Due to regional and/or exchange rate-related issues, Carphone Warehouse is listing it as £469 ($720). When considering that the MSRP for US customers is devoid of tax, even $399 becomes a slightly more costly creation. At $499 however, it’s roughly $50 cheaper than last year’s iPhone 6. In fact, a quick perusal on Amazon.com reveals that even US versions of this year’s Galaxy S6 can be had for roughly $50 more, with some sellers offering unlocked international variants for under $490.
Given the significant price hike about to take place next week, it begs the question as to if HTC has made a mistake with either the price itself, or else the manner in which it disclosed it. When the product was announced, the $399 cost was definitely a highlight for some. The product was basically presented as a viable alternative to products like the Moto X Pure Edition and the company’s promises of fast updates struck a cord.
Now, roughly a week later, the proposition suddenly seems less of one. At $499, the Moto X Pure Edition has a lot of extra specs to boast for example, and even products like the OnePlus 2 or Axon Phone are worth considering. Meanwhile, customers who see the A9 in a store might find it nice, but more carefully compare it with the competition – including the company’s own M9 – and choose either a cheaper option or a better one.
Keep in mind that a device of this is not a cheap proposition. HTC’s metallic phones have always cost a lot, and the company needs to improve its cash flow.
When it comes to pricing, the HTC A9 may be closer to the the Apple iPhone 5C.
In a sense, the A9 has become HTC’s iPhone 5C: it was designed at a very specific market yet due to pricing practices, has become less viable. At $500 pre-tax, it is competing directly with some major rivals, many of which offer better specs or hardware for the same cost, slightly higher, or lower.
What do you think? Is the A9 still a good purchase at the FRP or was $399 really the most it could have feasibly charged for this device? Please take our survey below, and share your thoughts in the comments section!