HTC manufactured the first Android phones, working closely with Google and carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon. However, the company’s fortunes took a downturn in the face of competition from Samsung and numerous Chinese smartphone makers. HTC has been losing money consistently since 2015, but it just announced the U20 5G and Desire 20 Pro, its first new phones in a year. This might not get HTC back to the upper echelons of the smartphone market, but at least it’s trying.
HTC is currently living off of the $1.1 billion it got from Google for handing over its Pixel engineering division. Its revenues have consistently dropped by about 50 percent year-over-year in each quarter, and it lost more than $60 million in the first quarter of 2020. That Google money will keep it chugging along for a while, but there isn’t much hope on the horizon. The smartphone market is extremely crowded, and HTC is no longer a well-known brand. Meanwhile, the virtual reality market is growing more slowly than HTC’s Vive division had hoped.
Understandably, HTC is playing it safe in 2020. Both of HTC’s new devices will launch in its home country of Taiwan, with availability in other regions following at a later date. The U20 5G is HTC’s first 5G phone, but it doesn’t have the spendy Snapdragon 865. This is a Snapdragon 765 phone, which is a bit less powerful than the 865. Although, it has an integrated 5G modem that should be better for battery life than the 865’s separate modem.
The U20 5G is a mid-range device, priced at NT$18,990 (about $640). In addition to the 765 SoC, this device has 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage (with microSD slot), a 5,000mAh battery, USB-C, and no headphone jack. It sports a 6.8-inch 1080p LCD with a punch-hole selfie camera and a rather large chin at the bottom. While the Snapdragon 765 can support millimeter-wave 5G (at slower speeds than the 865), the U20 5G doesn’t have the necessary antennas. This phone will work only on sub-6 5G, which is more common than millimeter-wave.
The Desire 20 Pro is a bit smaller and explicitly a midrange phone. It will cost NT$8,990 (about $304) with a Snapdragon 665, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (with microSD slot), a 6.5-inch 1080p LCD, and a 5,000mAh battery. Like the U20, this phone has a hole-punch camera and large bezel at the bottom of the device. There’s also no 5G support. HTC is also launching this phone in Taiwan with an international launch possible in the coming months.
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