This year hasn't been HTC's best year. Well, sure, from a financial point of view it has been, but that's mostly as a consequence of actions and strategies from the previous years. This is why RIM and Nokia were blind for years about their strategies been bad ones, because they were still strong financially at the time, but only because of previous actions, not current ones.
So I am talking about HTC's decisions for 2011, like how they kept churning up model after model, with small differences between them, lack of strong phone brands, and not having the best chips in their phones anymore. If they continue this up, they may very well turn into another Nokia or RIM. And consequences for their 2011 actions are already starting to be seen in their Q4 financial results and in their stock value, which are already slightly trending negative.
But according to HTC, they are trying to shake things up for 2012, and we should probably expect some surprises from them. I could guess at least 2 things are going to happen. First, we'll see thinner phones, like the upcoming HTC Ville, HTC's thinnest phone so far, and which can compete with other phones from Samsung or Motorola regarding thinness. This is something HTC has been lacking for a while now, and that has become increasingly more obvious in the past few months with the launch of the Galaxy S2 and the Droid RAZR. HTC really needs to up their game here, and I think in 2012 they will do that.
Another one is the fact that they are finally stopping their reliance on Qualcomm chips, which actually hurt them in 2011, by being the last ones to market with a dual core phone, which wasn't even more powerful than phones that have been in a market for a few months already. Fortunately for them, Qualcomm will start shipping the new Krait-based S4 chips in 2012, which are more powerful than your regular Cortex A9 at the same clock speed. But even better, HTC will start using other powerful chips, like the quad-core Tegra 3, in their phones and tablets in 2012. Both of these should go a long way in establishing HTC once again as one of the market leaders in terms of who's having the "most powerful phones".
One last thing that I hope will happen, is that they will focus more on releasing high-quality flagship phones with powerful branding behind them, and less on flooding the market with multiple slightly different phones. This should go a long way in competing with Samsung and their Galaxy S line in 2012, as it will be easier for consumers to recognize the really good phones from HTC.
As a bonus, I'm hoping they will also consider using stock Android with their phones, just like they are using WP7 on their phones as stock version. A lot of people want the stock version of Android, especially now that it has become that good with Android 4.0. They may continue to refuse to do it, but if they do it they will be one of the last ones to offer android 4.0 in 2012, and also once Motorola is acquired by Google, you can bet that they will release only stock Android phones beyond that point, and all the most enthusiastic Android fans will flock to Motorola, which would be a great loss for HTC, because they used to be the #1 choice for that crowd, but they are already fading out from that position thanks to Samsung's superior smartphones in 2011.