Troubled HTC dumps its low-end phones

The six or seven handsets the Taiwanese company sells in 2017 will be tilted at the midrange and high-end.

Phones

HTC's high-end U Ultra has AI and a second screen.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC needs to make money, and that isn't going to happen with low-end phones.

That was the company's message during an earnings call Wednesday, as reported by Phone Scoop. Instead, the ailing Taiwanese phonemaker will aim for midrange devices (like the HTC Bolt and U Play) and high-end phones, such as the glass HTC U Ultra.

HTC said it would still sell the low-end phones that are already at retailers -- it isn't yanking back handsets -- and it will continue to support those devices for people who already own them. But dropping bottom-rung phones from its lineup will help HTC focus on more profitable models further upmarket.

In addition, cutting those devices -- where HTC wasn't able to compete -- means that HTC will pare back its volume of phones for 2017 and focus on six or seven devices total. On the high end, HTC faces fierce competition from Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei and Sony.

HTC is expected to announce soon the premium HTC 11, which is rumored to come with the coveted Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. If unveiled in March or April, the phone would directly battle Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S8 and the LG G6.

Read next: 3 reasons this Samsung Galaxy S8 exclusive isn't necessarily a slam dunk

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