Taiwanese mobile phone-maker HTC has had a rough old time of late.
The one–time number-one Android-manufacturer has been buffeted by falling sales and sliding profits.
So much so that it’s stopped issuing investors with profit and sales projections. It simply doesn’t want to harm its financial standing any further.
But news has emerged that HTC is working on two new phones for Google.
Can they save the day? And what will they bring to the party? Here’s everything you need to know.
1 Two phones are in the works
In time–honoured fashion, it was a social media tipster who got the web’s tech tongues wagging.
A user on China’s Weibo network claimed that HTC will make two Nexus–branded phones for Google.
These devices, as with all Nexus phones, should come with the latest version of Android, without any of the irksome customisations that third-party manufacturers insist on to put their stamp on the software.
2 They'll be phablet-sized
Although there are two phones in the offing, each will be capacious.
The source who revealed the plans says that Google has asked HTC for a 5–inch device and a larger 5.5–inch model.
That would make the biggest HTC Nexus phone a touch smaller than the Nexus 6P, a phone which at times can feel more like a tablet than a smartphone.
3 They won’t be out for ages
Google tends to release its Nexus phones in the closing months of the year.
Its Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, made by Huawei and LG respectively, only launched in September and came out a few weeks later.
That means that even if HTC is working on these phones, we won’t see them up for grabs for the best part of a year.
4 If they don't fare well, they could hasten the end of HTC as a phone-maker
HTC is at a crossroads right now. That much is obvious.
It just revealed its much–hyped Vive Virtual Reality headset, a partnership with game company Valve, CEO Cher Wang has said that the focus will shift to VR instead of smartphones in the coming months.
That makes financial sense, largely as VR headsets will sell for a high, outright cost.
5 But it could bring it back to the top
HTC hasn’t made a world–beating phone for years. Its One M9 was a disaster. Not because it was awful, but because the competition was so much more desirable.
By partnering with Google, HTC could reinvigorate its smartphone brand and perhaps improve sales and profits.
Its Nexus 9 tablet was well received and it’s not as if HTC can’t make first-rate hardware.
Surely extending the partnership to new Nexus phones would be a good fit for it, even if the joint venture is a calculated risk for Google?