Technically, the two flagships were supposed to represent a long stride forward for two brands glowing from the success of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. Samsung wasn’t content with resting on its laurels and so introduced the Edge functionality on the Galaxy S6.
HTC on the other hand believed that it is not worth fooling around too much with changes when a winning formula is found, so it merely added better numbers to the successful One M8 for the One M9. Both turned out to be failures, unfortunately.
How was the Galaxy S6 a failure? Well, according to figures from a Kantar study covering January 2015 to January 2016, more Samsung users sought out the Galaxy S5 than the Galaxy S6 (27.5 percent against 26.2 percent).
But that’s for the regular S6 model. The S6 Edge only captured 5 percent of user switches while the Edge Plus figured much, much lower.
For the HTC One M9, its failure was easy to point out: HTC’s losses continued stacking up and relied on sales of the $500 mid-range HTC One A9 for a little reprieve in its decline. If a flagship can be outdone by an unreasonably expensive iPhone rip-off, then it’s not really any good, is it?
Great, But Missed The Mark
The funny thing is that both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 weren’t terrible flagships by any stretch of the imagination.
Most expert reviews pointed out their obvious flaws but still painted them as among the best smartphones of 2015 – just look through any top 10 smartphones of 2015 list. They were, objectively speaking, still quite impressive.
Perhaps their flaws were too glaring, and maybe it really came down to them missing the mark regarding the improvements that phone buyers actually wanted. Few saw the value in the Edge function for Galaxy S6 (they eventually have for the S7 Edge), and recoiled at the idea of living without microSD support and a shrunken battery (2,800mAh dropped to 2,550mAh).
As for the HTC One M9… well, where to start? The HTC Sense 7.0 UI was commendable, but the phone was often given to overheating, which in turn resulted in much quicker battery drains.
Its camera packed plenty more megapixels but proved only marginally better than its predecessor, and at the same time people were starting to grow tired of its design, however unique it was to the competition.