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HTC to cut back number of models, lay low on tablets

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HTC's UK boss Phil Roberson is saying that the company will reduce its total number of models in 2012 and scale back its efforts in the tablet market.

Gallery Photo: HTC Titan II for AT&T first hands-on
Gallery Photo: HTC Titan II for AT&T first hands-on

According to an interview with Mobile Magazine, HTC UK boss Phil Roberson says that the company will be looking to reduce the number of devices it releases this year — a concept we've been pushing for at The Verge, and a trend echoed by Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha recently at CES. The talk of a strategy shift is hot off the news of a weak Q4 earlier this month, and seems to be a tacit admission that flooding the market with countless SKUs isn't a profitable concept (unless, perhaps, you're Samsung).

Furthermore, Roberson says that HTC will "take a backseat" in the tablet market without exiting it completely — in other words, it's not likely to chase Samsung's strategy of a tablet for every conceivable market and form factor. Said Roberson, "So 2012 is about giving our customers something special. We need to make sure we do not go so far down the line that we segment our products by launching lots of different SKUs."

Word of a strategy shift in Peter Chou's house isn't necessarily new: the company has been saying since November that it wants to re-focus on the product, and a BGR report from December pegged 2012 as a lighter year for HTC SKUs. Is it the right move? By all accounts, it would seem so — as long as it can keep customers excited in the design language and continue to compete head-to-head in the eternal Android specs game.