What should the company do to resurrect the glowing brand that helped build Android? Ask around and you'll get a variety of suggestions, from releasing considerably fewer devices to scrapping its custom Sense UI skin. Talk to HTC, however, and you'll find that it has plans of its own.
Recently, the company announced that it has formed a new internal group for creating key products to help it "regain the edge" over the next year. Called the "Studio," the group is composed of designers and engineers and will report directly to CEO Peter Chou.
It's not immediately obvious whether this secret society is already in operation or if it's still being fleshed out, but in light of the company's recent earnings and first-quarter forecast, I hope that it is already in advanced stages.
It's worth pointing out that HTC plans to introduce new devices and chipsets in 2012, which is a welcome sign. Indeed, after spending the last few years in a monogamous relationship with Qualcomm, HTC watched as competitors opted for Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor. Moving forward, HTC could entertain low-ball offers from the likes of Texas Instruments and Nvidia (Tegra 3) for its new "hero" products.
We're expecting a number of new devices from the smartphone maker at Mobile World Congress, most notably the HTC Edge and HTC Ville. While the new models will be better than last year's handsets, they could get lost in the growing Android crowd.
What's more, as Samsung and Apple battle it out for the top smartphone maker, HTC has companies like Sony and Motorola nipping at its heels. One misstep and 2012 could see the once-mighty HTC become "quietly irrelevant" in the game of Android.