HTC expected to release plastic version of One M8 in May



TAIPEI — Taiwan’s HTC Corp. will release a plastic version of its newest flagship smartphone in China next month to undercut the prices of competing products like Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S5, according to a media report.

The only difference between the current HTC One M8 and the plastic version will be the casing material, as the hardware specifications and software features will be almost the same, Chinese business news portal TMT Post reported April 12, citing unidentified sources.

HTC has described the plastic M8 as “the same phone, but of different quality,” the report said.

The plastic version of the M8 will cost about 3,000 Chinese yuan (US$483), compared with 5,299 Chinese yuan for the metal-clad M8 that went on sale in China April 11, the report said.

HTC declined to confirm or deny the report, telling CNA it does not comment on rumors or speculations.

HTC is working with China Mobile and China Unicom in the Chinese market, as well as with more than 230 telecom services providers and distributors worldwide to promote the HTC One M8.

In the first quarter of 2014, the Taiwanese phone vendor posted a worse-than-expected net loss of NT$1.88 billion (US$62.15 million), or a net loss per share of NT$2.28. But its consolidated revenue in March jumped 125 percent from February to NT$16.22 billion on the launch of the M8.

The company is betting on a faster roll-out of its top-end M8 and a wider offering of its mid-tier products, such as the Desire 816, which drew more than 1 million pre-orders from China’s price-sensitive customers in just 10 days.

Shares of HTC had fallen 1.6 percent to NT$153.5 as of 1:07 p.m. Monday in Taipei.