Ina Fried

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Can a One-Two Punch of Launches Help HTC Fight Back?

Taiwanese phone maker HTC is hoping that two key product launches this month will give it a much-needed boost.

HTC's Peter Chou talks about the HTC First with Facebook Home.

The company announced the One back in February. After a short delay, that high-end phone is due out later this month.

That launch will also roughly coincide with the debut of the HTC First, the midrange “Facebook phone” announced this week.

The launches represent a critical opportunity for the once white-hot HTC, which has seen its sales decline for months amid stiff competition from bigger rivals Samsung and Apple.

“It’s big for us,” HTC President Jason Mackenzie said this week in an interview at Facebook’s event on Thursday. “We’ve got to get the brand out there in huge ways.”

While other phone makers may well offer their own devices preloaded with Facebook Home, HTC is hoping that being first will translate into some renewed attention from consumers.

“It’s hard to put a value on the buzz,” Mackenzie said.

HTC is looking to up its presence in other ways. This weekend, the company is kicking off a range of promotional activities, including live demos at selected theaters, and a series of concerts as part of an 11-city “live experience tour.”

The company has also been more aggressive in other ways lately, showing up outside Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 launch to demo the One.

But its moment in the sun could be brief. That Galaxy S 4, which is due out this quarter, will no doubt be accompanied by a marketing blitz much larger than any HTC can afford.

And, thanks to its new partnership with Best Buy, Samsung will have hundreds of new storefronts from which to tout its wares.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald