HTC isn't killing off the One line of phones

The much beloved franchise will live on in some new incarnation, though the U series phones are the company's new flagship product.

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HTC's U series of phones will become the new flagship lineup for the company.

Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC hopes a reboot will help its prospects.

The company on Thursday unveiled its U series of phones, the U Play and U Ultra. The glass phones feature a second, smaller screen above the main display and boast artificial intelligence to help manage your Android notifications.

The U series becomes HTC's flagship product line, a break from the company's tradition of using the critically acclaimed, if not commercially successful, HTC One series. But the rise of the U series doesn't mean death for the One, which hasn't been retired, according to a person familiar with HTC's plans.

Still, it marks the end of the much beloved One series as the aspirational phone, which drew praise from Android enthusiasts for its ability to push the edge on design. Ironically, the rise of the One phones, around 2012, came as HTC began to slide into irrelevancy. That was largely thanks to bigger players like Apple and Samsung outgunning HTC in marketing. HTC couldn't keep up.

HTC believes there's still a place for the One series. It could just be in the midrange phone market. Photos of a phone purported to be the One X10 surfaced online.

HTC declined to comment on the photos.

It appears, though, that the company wants to keep the One family alive somehow.

"All options are on the table for the One line," the person said.

The company will instead focus on growing its U line, which goes on sale through its website.

HTC doesn't plan to just rely on the direct-to-consumer model, which hasn't proved successful in the US. In many developed markets, people buy their phones through a carrier store. The company will still work with carriers to develop phones for the carriers. An example is the HTC Bolt, which was built specifically for Sprint as an exclusive device.

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