HTC's new One smartphone will arrive later than expected and could lose any time-to-market advantage over Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S4 handset, which will officially launch in the U.S. Thursday.
The Taiwanese handset maker had originally planned to release its flagship smartphone globally in March. But on Wednesday, the company said in an email, "We will start fulfilling pre-orders by end March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April."
HTC made the statement after U.K. smartphone vendor Clove Technology said in a blog post that the HTC One would arrive in the U.K. on March 29, two weeks after the original launch date.
It is unclear what has caused the delay, but HTC's newest phone contains high-end components that are often in limited supply, said Nicole Peng, an analyst with research firm Canalys. The HTC One is built with 4.7-inch display featuring a density of 468 pixels-per-inch, comes in an aluminum body, and is equipped with a so-called "ultrapixel camera" for better quality photos.
It's not the first time HTC has seen delays in its product launches. Last year, the company's smartphones came late to the U.S. market because of a U.S. Customs review brought on by HTC's patent battles with Apple. The Taiwanese handset maker also struggled to keep up with demand for its 5-inch HTC Butterfly smartphone, which was popular in markets such as China, but limited in supply, according to Peng.
"The company sees product innovation as very important," she said. "However, the supply chain efficiency has been a problem."
The HTC One launch is seen as especially critical for the company's smartphone business, which has lost market share to rivals including Samsung. By delaying the flagship phone's launch, the HTC One risks being drowned out by the Korean company's Galaxy S4 handset, which could arrive in markets in late March or April, said Peng.
"It will probably clash with the S4, and Samsung will have a massive marketing campaign," she said. "If they clash with such a high-profile device, it will definitely hurt HTC."