Even with new handsets on the way, HTC’s struggles continue

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Taiwan-based handset maker HTC suggests that its highly profitable days in the U.S. smartphone market are in the past. The company CEO, Peter Chou, explained to analysts that Apple’s iPhone 4S is strong competition suggesting that Apple’s handset was part of the reason HTC experienced a 70 percent profit decrease in the most recent quarter. A new handset line, dubbed the HTC One, could help, but HTC appears to be tempering expectations in the U.S market and turning some focus to China.

Chou also offered optimism in light of the company’s second consecutive quarter of warnings and weakness, saying, “I feel that HTC is being reborn this year, in terms of product strategy and execution of global sales and marketing. We are a new HTC; HTC One will help us to reach this goal.” It’s too early to say how much the HTC One can help the company’s bottom line as it only just launched on T-Mobile last week and will be followed by AT&T’s version soon. My take on the One S for T-Mobile? It’s the carrier’s best Android handset as of now.

Oddly, Chou also noted that HTC won’t launch low-end smartphones in the $160 range, but would instead be focusing on handsets costing double that or more. Such statements follow news that HTC is planning to develop its own smartphone application processors for low-end phones. That news didn’t make sense to me when we heard it and it makes even less sense now.

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