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HTC will launch a 5G smartphone in 2020, but does anyone still care?

HTC will reportedly join the 5G smartphone party in 2020, but is this a case of too little, too late?

Published onFebruary 24, 2020

HTC U12 back side

5G connectivity is expected to grow massively in 2020, as most flagship phones will offer the feature as well as some mid-range devices with the right chipset.

We’ve seen a range of companies announce plans to offer 5G in 2020, and HTChas joined the party in announcing its plans for a 5G phone.

Company president Yves Maitre announced the news in an interview with UDN (h/t: XDA), but the sad truth is that this will likely do little to change the firm’s precarious situation.

That ship sailed a long time ago

HTC’s phones have seen abysmal sales in the last few years and it recorded its sixth straight quarterly loss in Q3 2019. In other words, people simply aren’t buying HTC’s phones and haven’t been doing so for a couple of years.

The firm’s current situation is in large part due to several duds, dating back to the underwhelming HTC One M9, which yielded awful financial results. We then saw the great HTC 10 in 2016, but this reportedly fell far short of sales expectations. 2017’s HTC U11 series bucked the trend and apparently outsold the HTC10 and One M9, but the firm followed up with another critical and commercial flop in the HTC U12 Plus.

The company didn’t even release a proper flagship phone in 2019, opting to focus on the Wildfire budget phones and its blockchain-focused Exodus phone. Oddly enough, the latter series seems to have met or exceeded HTC’s expectations, perhaps showing that there is a niche aside from flagships (albeit a tiny one).

HTC exodus - HTCfirst 5g phone?

Maitre previously stated that HTCintends to return to the premium flagship space, acknowledging that the firm didn’t innovate in recent years. This premium flagship will likely be the 5G phone the CEO is talking about, but the days of the HTCOne M8 and even the HTCU11 are long behind it. The firm is facing a distinctly different smartphone landscape in 2020.

Forget flagships, mid-range phones are making the biggest technological leaps
mid range phones 2

This is in large part due to the rise of Chinese brands such as Huawei, OnePlus, Realme, Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi. These brands have managed to usurp the former Android heavyweight at a variety of price points. More importantly, they’ve also managed to expand to Europe, the Middle East, other countries in Asia, and even North America in the case of OnePlus. Meanwhile, HTChas retreated from several countries in the last few years.

All these rival companies have released 5G smartphones already and are gearing up for more 5G devices. The likes of Motorola, Asus, LG, and even Sony are also there to pick up the scraps, leaving HTCwith virtually nothing ahead of its first 5G phone.

That’s not to say HTCcouldn’t surprise us with a great 5G flagship smartphone worth buying, but between consumer apathy, competition, and the loss of numerous employees to Google, the firm has a gargantuan task ahead of it. We hope the company succeeds though. Its flagship phones delivered interesting designs, great camera quality, and some innovative features. Maybe an HTC One M7 5G 2020 Edition (please don’t call it that) would be just the ticket?

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