HTC has had a rough couple of years in the smartphone space. Rivals including Samsung and Apple are selling more phones and making more money, and HTC officials announced during a recent earnings call that the company is going to shift strategy in the coming year in response.
The company wants to focus on a return to profitability, and in order to that the goal is release fewer phones, but focus on mid-tier and premium models rather than the fiercely competitive entry-level smartphone space.
All told, HTC expects to release just 6-7 new models this year. But what if that isn’t enough to help the company return to profitability?
Once upon a time HTC wasn’t really known as a brand name. When the Taiwanese company was founded in 1997, HTC designed and built phones, PDAs, and other gadgets which were sold under different brand names.
HTC was an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) which built devices including some of the Dell Axim and HP iPaq personal digital assistants running Microsoft’s early mobile operating systems, and the Palm Treo 650 smartphone.
In recent years, HTC has been better known for selling Android-powered phones under its own brand name. But the company continues to partner with other companies as an ODM. HTC built Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, for instance.
And at a time when HTC struggles to compete in the crowded smartphone market, maybe it makes sense for the company to continue doing what it does best: designing and building phones rather than marketing and selling them.
As FierceWireless notes, some industry analysts seem to think that’s an approach HTC is already positioning itself for. It’s not clear that the company will stop selling phones under its own name anytime soon. But perhaps that’ll become a smaller portion of HTC’s business moving forward.