It’s About Time: HTC To Refocus Smartphone Efforts Around “Hero” Devices

HTC has gotten to be remarkably good at churning out phone after phone these days, but it’s gotten to feel like each new release is too little too soon. Thankfully, the godfather of Android hardware has come to its senses, as revealed by Mobile Today.

According to HTC UK head Phil Roberson, 2012 is going to be all about giving their customers “something special.” To that end, HTC plans to focus on a smaller number of “hero” smartphones and dial back their presence in the tablet market.

“We have to get back to focusing on what made us great – amazing hardware and a great customer experience,” Roberson said. “We ended 2011 with far more products than we started out with. We tried to do too much.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. HTC’s philosophy as of late seems to have been about continually chasing the bleeding edge by pushing out new hardware before its predecessors have gotten the chance to breathe. It’s refreshing to hear (err, read) that someone at HTC feels the same way, because the glut of options ultimately becomes a big problem for consumers.

Chris Ziegler at The Verge noted that the here in the States, T-Mobile’s high-end HTC Amaze 4G debuted only 120 days after the carrier’s previous flagship Android phone hit sales channels. It’s no secret that technological advances come at a blistering pace, but to push out a new flagship device in four months could easily come as a kick in the gut for customers who splurged on the previous model in an attempt to future-proof themselves a bit.

Being on the bleeding edge is great, except for when your customers are the ones who get hurt. HTC isn’t exactly alone when it comes to this sort of behavior — Samsung’s LTE-packing Skyrocket overshadowed their original Galaxy S II model, and Motorola’s Droid RAZR Maxx trades a few millimeters for some outstanding battery life while leaving original Droid RAZR owners lamenting their luck. Still, while Samsung’s market saturating plans are doing them well, Motorola has already announced their intention to trim down their smartphone offerings for 2012.

Meanwhile, the revelation of their tablet plans (or lack thereof) doesn’t come as a huge shock. The Taiwanese company released two actual tablets in 2011, with a handful of carrier-specific variants thrown in for good measure. Alas, the tablet market has become an ever tougher nut to crack, and while HTC won’t be abandoning it completely, they’ll be spending more time and resources on their main moneymaker: smartphones.

HTC has been on shakier financial ground than it’s used to recently, and at the time they cited “increased competition” in the mobile space as one of the reasons their most recent quarterly earnings ended their six-quarter growth streak. This new move is a drastic one, but it’s worth a shot considering that their once-solid approach doesn’t seem so solid anymore. With Mobile World Congress right around the corner it shouldn’t be long before we get a better glimpse at HTC’s new strategy, though whether it actually works is another story entirely.