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HTC's plan for returning to growth: 'focus on the product'

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HTC CFO Winston Yung has described the company's recently stalled growth as a solvable problem. New LTE handsets in the US and other "worldwide flagship" devices will form the crux of HTC's strategy for returning to growth next year, with the focus returning to the product at hand.

HTC Titan review
HTC Titan review

HTC has been one of the undeniable success stories of the past couple of years, with double-digit growth and record-setting revenues almost every quarter, but its last financial report broke with that trend and did so rather starkly. The company failed to match its sales forecast and performed only as well as it did the year before. In an interview with Reuters today, CFO Winston Yung first assures us that this downturn is not "so serious." HTC is likely to reach at least 45 million units shipped this year, comfortably dwarfing last year's 25 million, and there's already a plan afoot to ensure revenues and sales return to their earlier growth rate.

Yung notes that HTC is working on new LTE phones for the US market and a set of "worldwide flagship products" that the company is confident in. There are no surprises in either of these revelations, but what he says alongside them is perhaps the most telling bit of news here: "We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive."

This year has seen growing discontent among consumers with HTC's insistently consistent design language. People prefer to see new and daring designs when shopping for smartphones, whereas HTC has sought to reintroduce and remix features of earlier handsets in its latest models. Will the stalled fourth quarter of 2011 lead the company to reevaluate that decision? Yung's words certainly suggest that HTC will be aggressive in reclaiming its reputation as an innovator, which should bode well for 2012 — whether you care for specs, looks, or any combination of the two.