Technology

HTC To Launch Fewer Phones In 2018, HTC U12 Likely To Be Unveiled In May

Not too long ago, HTC was a force to reckon with in the smartphone industry. The Taiwanese company is not even in the top five smartphone vendors today. It has been losing money and market share for the last several quarters. A new report claims that HTC will narrow its focus to launch only a handful of phones in 2018. It would start the new year with a mid-range version of the HTC U11+. The flagship HTC U12 is rumored to arrive sometime in May.

HTC U12 Release Date
Image source: YouTube Screenshot

HTC to unveil a stripped-down version of U11+ next month

HTC managed to keep its smartphone launches limited in 2017. Its HTC U11, U11+, and U11 Ultra had received positive reviews. Sources familiar with the company’s plans told DigiTimes that it would focus its R&D and marketing efforts on a small number of premium and mid-range models. The Taiwanese company witnessed a 26% decline in smartphone sales in 2017.

The mid-range version of the HTC U11+ will be announced next month, according to DigiTimes. The device could be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This phone sounds a lot like an HTC device code-named Ocean Harmony that was certified by Chinese regulators a few weeks ago. As per the certification documents, the phone would pack 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.

The upcoming mid-range device would be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 SoC. It would sport a 5.99-inch bezel-less display similar to the HTC U11+. The bezel-less screens with an 18:9 aspect ratio became a new industry standard this year, and they are expected to trickle down to mid-range phones in 2018. DigiTimes said HTC plans to keep a strong presence in the mid-range segment.

HTC U12 to sport dual camera, Snapdragon 845

HTC U12 would likely be unveiled sometime in May, similar to the HTC U11 this year. The specifications leaked earlier this month suggested that the HTC U12 would sport a 4K display. It would be powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 chipset, which would run most of the premium Android phones coming out next year. Besides a faster speed and improved battery efficiency, the Snapdragon 845 brings improvements to the camera, augmented reality, security, and AI processing.

This year’s U11 flagship lacked a dual camera system, though it was still capable of taking impressive photos. The upcoming HTC U12 is said to feature a dual camera setup. HTC was among the first vendors to introduce phones with dual rear cameras. But all the U-series phones released this year had a single camera on the back. HTC President Chialin Chang has confirmed that the company would bring dual camera smartphones in 2018.

Chang told media, “We’ll definitely be releasing a dual camera phone next year, but we’ll need to figure out how to make this feature stand out.” According to GizmoChina, the HTC U12 could ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. The upcoming flagship is expected to feature an all-glass body.

HTC’s smartphone business continues to bleed

Earlier this year, Google acquired part of HTC’s smartphone business for $1.1 billion to show its commitment to the Pixel smartphones. Many HTC fans wondered what would happen to the HTC-branded phones. The Taiwanese company has assured consumers that it would keep bringing phones to the market. The Google deal would not affect HTC’s own smartphone ambitions.

HTC has posted a loss of TWD 7.1 billion (roughly $237 million) in the first three quarters of 2017 as its smartphone business continues to bleed. The U11, especially its squeezable frame, was praised by critics. But the phone didn’t sell in numbers large enough to revive HTC’s fortunes. The company has started rolling out the Android Oreo update to U11 Life. The update brings features like Picture-in-Picture mode, faster boot times, Smart text selection, Autofill, and Notification Dots to the U11 Life.