The HTC One M7- Built to drown a sinking ship?

Having repaired our share of HTC, formerly “High-Tech Computer Corporation” phones we have noticed a few things about this company that makes them stand out. As of late it has been a series of handsets that look amazing… from the outside. When it comes to repairs though any do-it-yourself-er out there ought to think twice. The internals of some HTC phones make you wonder just what the design team was thinking. One thing is for sure though. Going green wasn’t what they had in mind.

For the record I think that the 8X and One are beautiful phones… again from the outside. I even used the Vivid for about a year until I could no longer stand the 72 updates that were performed on every power up. What was that about?

Antenna wires and tape... everywhere. Why?
Antenna wires and tape… everywhere. Why?

While a lot of manufacturers have started making phones that prevent the consumer from performing simple upgrades like changing their battery it seems to be only HTC that purposely designs phones which are more difficult to repair in any way whatsoever. According to Justin Huang, the concept designer of the HTC One, “…they have a special tool to disassemble the back cover, to let us have the ability to access all the components inside.” When asked about how to take the phone apart his response was “Don’t try it,” Presumably these statements were made while he was still on good terms with HTC and before he was arrested.

When your stock value drops 38% in one year maybe it’s time to rethink the way that you do business. HTC had only 7.1% market share in the US during Q3 of 2013 compared to Apple’s 40.6% and Samsung’s 24.9%. Perhaps part of this had to do with a bad reputation caused by experimenting earlier with the Windows 7 mobile OS on one of it’s handsets. Microsoft now offers the much improved 8 version and will soon release 8.1. Of course way back in 2011 the HD2 didn’t create many fans not just due to it’s OS but also a tendency toward hardware malfunction and failure. Still, considering that the One was released as their flagship phone in April of the year reflected in the aforementioned figures above it does not seem to have been the boost that they were hoping for.

Fortunately due to their lack of popularity there is an upside to all of this. Replacement parts for HTC phones drop in price dramatically after only a few months making repair still a wise option when an upgrade is not available. Until the “One 2” codenamed M8 is released in a couple of months it looks like this is as good as things get for HTC.

Why is unlocking iPhones so expensive?

About three months ago iPhone unlocking prices increased dramatically. While understanding why this happened won’t change the circumstances many have asked the obvious question, why? In order to provide a meaningful explanation let’s start with some background.

What is unlocking?

When you purchase a GSM phone it is most likely “locked” to a specific carrier. This lock is intended to encourage customer loyalty by making it impossible to use a foreign wireless provider. Foreign meaning any network other than the one that you are currently using. One of the services that we provide is “unlocking” which allows you to use your phone with another network. Once your phone has been unlocked you mat choose to use any GSM wireless provider that you choose. You can also use your phone outside of the US when traveling abroad without incurring steep “roaming” fees.

Is this the same as jailbreaking?

Unlocking is not the same as jailbreaking although in some situations it may be possible to unlock a jailbroken phone.

How are iPhones unlocked?

As of January 26th 2013 any cell phone purchased after that date can only be unlocked with your original carriers permission. This policy was clarified by the Library of Congress based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Unlocking for iPhones is achieved by getting authorization from your carrier and processed by Apple using iTunes. This procedure requires a third party server to communicate information between the wireless carrier and Apple.

Why did the cost of unlocking iPhones go from $30 to as much as $175?

A few months back, AT&T shut down the majority of it’s iPhone unlocking servers. While we don’t have an official statement from AT&T, it is assumed that this took place in order to increase customer retention. This makes unlocking difficult as there is now only one source available to process unlocking requests. As the law of supply and demand dictates market value, the sole supplier of unlocking services may charge whatever they feel that the market will bear. We hope that eventually there will be more options to choose from so that the price will be reduced.

Are you making a huge profit from unlocking iPhones?

No. We make a small profit from unlocking phones as the majority of our fees go to a third party to pay for the cost of completing the unlock request. We structure our prices to be competitive while focusing on providing the best quality service possible.

Will the price go down eventually?

We certainly hope so. With the DMCA being in effect it is difficult to know for sure. The good news is that there is legislation proposed that would make it easier to get your phone unlocked. We will keep you posted.

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