[Update: Possible July Launch] HTC is still making phones and will launch a 5G smartphone this year
Do you remember HTC? Yes, it was the world’s largest Android smartphone vendor at one time. HTC has many firsts to its name, the most significant being that it was the first to launch an Android phone in the form of the Dream/T-Mobile G1. In recent years, however, it became a sorry spectacle. Its revenue declined continuously all through 2016 and 2017. Google acquired part of HTC’s smartphone division for $1.1 billion in 2017, and the deal closed in 2018. HTC vacated the Indian smartphone market in July of that year. Its last flagship phone launch remains the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845-powered HTC U12+, which was launched in May 2018. In 2019, it made a deal with Indian smartphone vendors to use its name. It stopped selling phones in the UK due to a patent dispute, and the HTC Elevate community shut down in December 2019. The last “true” HTC phone launches to date were the HTC U19e and HTC Desire 19+, and the last HTC-branded phone launch was the budget Lava-made HTC Wildfire X. According to most observers, HTC’s focus is no longer on the smartphone market as it now prioritizes other ventures such as VR, but the company kept saying multiple times that it wasn’t dead. In a strange turn of events, the company’s new CEO, Yves Maitre, has now said in an interview that they are planning to launch a 5G phone this year.
Maitre is the new CEO of HTC since September 2019. He said that 2020 will be a year with many development opportunities in the Taiwan market, especially in 5G connected applications and the development of virtual visual content driven by 5G connected applications. HTC will invest more aggressively this year for two reasons. Firstly, it plans to launch its first 5G-connected phone, and secondly, it wants to invest in virtual vision applications.
The interview didn’t go into any more detail regarding HTC’s first 5G phone and the expected time of its announcement, unfortunately. The United News Network did state that it’s expected that HTC will have further cooperation with Qualcomm. The company will also launch high-end flagship phones first, apparently. However, the interview is unclear whether the Taiwanese phone manufacturer will adopt a multi-device strategy compared to other manufacturers or launch a mid-range 5G phone. (If HTC wants to launch a 5G phone, it has multiple options. It can either launch a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865-powered flagship or launch a Snapdragon 765-powered mid-range phone. It can even use one of MediaTek’s 5G Dimensity SoCs.)
There wasn’t anything else smartphone-related in the interview, as it then pivoted to HTC’s focus on 5G and VR. Virtual reality and mixed reality are current topics of focus, as seen in the HTC Vive and the Vive Cosmos. AR will also be the future development focus for the company as the company wants to provide the best application solutions for such needs. The company’s opinion about AR is that while many people are optimistic about AR applications, there are still many parts that need to be refined based on the development of the technology application. HTC will, therefore, think about the appropriate layout, and will not launch-related applications too soon. VR will take priority. Finally, the new Vive Cosmos Elite, Vive Cosmos Play, Vive Cosmos XR, and Vive Sync are expected to be shown in San Francisco in mid-March. They will be further displayed during GDC 2020, where content applications will be communicated with more game developers during the conference.
Update: HTC’s first 5G phone will reportedly launch in Taiwan in July
According to reports originating from Taiwan, HTC will be launching its first 5G phone in July 202 in Taiwan. The company is hoping to ride on the first wave of 5G smartphone releases in the country. Most of the current crop of 5G processors are in the upper end of the market, so the phone is also expected to hover around those regions.