HTC to unveil flagship U12+ in May: sources

Taipei, Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. is expected to launch its flagship U12+ model in early May, in an effort to boost buying interest at a time when the loss-making firm faces escalating global competition, sources said Monday.

The timing of the launch indicates the company wants to avoid competing head to head with rivals in the Android camp such as Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, Japan's Sony Corp. and China's Xiaomi and OPPO, whose new flagship models have been on sale for some time, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the U12+ could be the only premium smartphone HTC launches this year, with such a strategy intended to prolong the U12+ sales cycle, they added.

In addition to the timing of the launch, the U12+ is expected to be equipped with a 6-inch display, because many consumers prefer a large-sized phone to a smaller one, the sources said.

The U12+ is also expected to be powered by Qualcomm's advanced Snapdragon 845 processor and equipped with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage, as well as a 3,420 mAh battery.

The smartphone is also likely to be equipped with a dual 12 and 16 megapixel lens camera on the back with a dual 8 megapixel lens camera on the front, which will be good for taking selfies.

HTC is expected to equip the U12+ with "Edge Sense" as seen in its predecessors, which allows users to simply squeeze the phone to activate features such as the camera, Facebook, or other apps.

Amid stiff competition in both high-end and mid-to-low range segments in the global smartphone market, HTC reported a loss for the fourth quarter of last year.

Last week, HTC said it posted a net loss of NT$9.8 billion (US$336 million) for the fourth quarter of last year, marking the 11th consecutive quarter the brand has reported a loss. Its loss per share for the October-December period was NT$11.93.

In 2017, HTC's net losses totaled NT$16.91 billion with loss per share at NT$20.58, the highest since the company listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in March 2002.

HTC has intensified its efforts to expand into the virtual reality market selling a VR headset since April 2016, but this accounts for only a small fraction of its sales and has had little impact on the company's continued losses.

Shares in HTC fell 1.17 percent to close at NT$67.30 on the local main board as investors locked in earlier gains Monday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel