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.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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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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