HTC just made its India comeback with a new budget phone called the HTC Wildfire X. The Wildfire X has been launched in India at a starting price of Rs 10,999 for the base variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, going all the way to Rs 13,999 for the top-end variant with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. For a limited period however, the Wildfire X will be available for buying at a Rs 1,000 discount (Rs 9,999/Rs 12,999) - the Wildfire X will be available for buying from Flipkart from August 22.
HTC’s comeback in India is sort of like BlackBerry. In that, it has partnered with China-based Inone Technology to market and sell its products - BlackBerry phones are similarly sold (and made) in India through Optiemus. Inone is also known to manufacture smartphones but it’s not clear if it’s also going to do that in the case of HTC’s comeback phones like the Wildfire X.
Speaking of specs, the HTC Wildfire X comes with a 6.22-inch 720p+ display with a waterdrop-style notch. The phone is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 processor paired with up to 4GB RAM and up to 128GB storage which is also expandable. The dual-SIM phone runs Android 9 Pie software and packs a 3,300mAh battery with USB Type-C charging. On to the optics, the Wildfire X has three rear cameras – a 12MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto camera for 2x zoom and a 5MP depth sensor for portrait photography. On the front, the Wildfire X comes with an 8MP camera.
The HTC Wildfire X comes bundled with a MyBuddy accessory, a personal security tool, that can trigger loud alarms as well as share your location in real-time with friends and family in case of an emergency.
In terms of design, the Wildfire X has a 3D OPVD mirror finish with a fingerprint scanner on the back – the phone will be available in Sapphire Blue.
HTC has been a pioneer of smartphone design. At a time when plastic seemed the normal, HTC was churning out gorgeous all-metal unibody slabs, something that even inspired the iPhone. But down the line, HTC was simply unable to capitalize on its design genius even as rivals started to catch up, beating it to its own game. Then of course there was HTC’s fascination for launching only premium phones, phones that would compete directly with the Galaxys and iPhones of the world.
The company had silently closed its India operations last year following the exit of its South Asia and country head Faisal Siddiqui. The HTC U11 and HTC U11+ were HTC’s last big launches in India, which were followed up by a couple of mid-rangers called the HTC Desire 12 and HTC Desire 12+.
The Wildfire X marks a change in major change in strategy – both in terms of business as well as the kind of market segment that HTC is looking to target in its second coming. It would be interesting to see if the gamble pays off, at a time when there’s no dearth of high-quality phones in the affordable segment.