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HTC offers free cracked-screen replacement for owners of One

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's HTC Corp. (宏達電) announced Tuesday in the United States a new after-care service for customers there that will offer a one-time, free cracked-screen replacement for every new purchase of any phone in its HTC One flagship series.

HTC said it heard from customers that there was a need to make sure the money spent on premium devices went further at no additional cost and decided it was time to act and take care of the phones.

“Cracked screens with us are in every way a NO — we want yours to always look great so we'll replace your screen within the first 6 months you own it,” HTC said in a statement e-mailed to U.S. customers.

The service, called “HTC Advantage,” also promises that owners of the HTC One, HTC One mini and HTC One Max can receive major Android updates for two years from the day they purchase the phone, along with free additional online storage of 25GB to 50GB, the statement said.

The Taoyuan-based company did not say, however, whether the new policy would also be applied to its future flagship devices or mid-tier products.

“In line with our history of firsts, we want to be the first to protect the investment customers make in our premium devices,” HTC Americas President Jason Mackenzie said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The company has created a new position of vice president of Customer Experience to oversee this commitment as well as the launch and evolution of the HTC Advantage service, Mackenzie added.

Ed Kuhner, vice president of Customer Experience at HTC Americas, said keeping customers happy is something the company believes a premium product maker should do.

“So we commit to continually listening to our customers and developing new, innovative solutions based on customer feedback and addressing their pain points over time — that's the HTC Advantage,” Kuhner said.

Also on Tuesday, HTC sent media invitations for press conferences in New York and London on March 25, where the handset maker is expected to unveil the successor to the HTC One codenamed “M8” within the company.

The M8 will reportedly feature the same metal casing design, a 5-inch full HD display, an improved Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, the new Sense 6.0 user interface and a twin camera on the back.

HTC is banking on the new phone to help reverse a recent slump. HTC posted its first quarterly loss as a publicly listed company in the third quarter of 2013 and recorded its second straight quarterly operating loss in the October December period.

The struggling Taiwanese phone vendor has projected consolidated sales of between NT$34 billion (US$1.12 billion) and NT$36 billion for the first quarter of 2014, with net loss per share of between NT$2.1 and NT$2.6.

The projected sales would be the lowest of any quarter in five years.

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