HTC To Pull Out From Entry-Level Smartphone Market, Will Focus On Midrange And High-End Phones Instead


No entry-level smartphones from HTC will be produced this year.

HTC is retiring from the entry-level smartphone market, at least for the time being, as it reroutes focus to its midrange and higher-end offerings, with its full slate of smartphones for 2017 to belong in those categories exclusively.

No More Entry-Level Phones From HTC

The company announced this during its earnings call Wednesday, as reported by Phone Scoop. It will still sell low-end phones that are already at retailers — and it will continue supporting the said handsets — but it's officially yanking the category off its roadmap.

Cutting those devices means that HTC will pare back its smartphone volume for 2017, focusing on six or seven devices only. With plans to solely make headway in the high-end category, HTC will jostle for market space amongst top-rank phone manufacturers, such as Apple, Samsung, LG, and Huawei, among others.

HTC is aiming for profitability this year by presenting top of the line handsets instead of crowding the market with a plethora of smartphone offerings that run up and down the price spectrum. Specific pricing for these top-tier smartphones by HTC, however, remain to be disclosed. As for whether it'll eventually re-enter the entry-level smartphone market, presumably when it gets its groove back, remains nebulous.

HTC similarly reduced its smartphone output years ago; in 2012, the company pared back its handset output to focus on its lineup of top-tier smartphones. This year brings back that tactic.

Long story short, if you're looking for an inexpensive smartphone from HTC this year, it's best to look elsewhere.

HTC 11 To Be Unveiled Soon?

The company is expected to unveil its HTC 11 smartphone soon, which, as per word being passed around, will come with the hotly anticipated Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. If its unveil window hovers by March or April, the smartphone could directly rival Samsung's forthcoming flagship, the Galaxy S8, and LG's G6.

Mobile World Congress

HTC recently announced the U Ultra and the U Play this past January during the Consumer Electronics Show, with a March release schedule. HTC may promptly reveal new handsets at this year's Mobile World Congress, happening late February in Barcelona, Spain.

HTC also recently posted losses for the seventh straight quarter, according to a report by Business Insider. The company reported a revenue of $721 million during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, a year-over-year 14 percent dip from its $833 million in Q4 2015.

Moving forward, HTC will focus on its virtual reality ecosystem, specifically around content creation and distribution, the report says. The HTC Vive is one of the most popular VR headsets among developers, as noted by the report, and this could translate to a favorable position for the device in that community.

In other VR-related news, HTC is reportedly developing a mobile VR headset that's poised to occupy a space between smartphone VR headsets such as Samsung's Gear VR, and higher-end rigs, such as HTC's own Vive.

Do you think HTC could bring the spring in its step? Are you disappointed about its divorce from the entry-level smartphone market? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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