HTC has been failing on all metrics for quite a while: revenue, profits, sales, market share, mind share - you name it. They managed to raise at least the mind share metric for a short time, during the HTC One launch, but it didn't do them much good in terms of all the other metrics, that they need to raise to keep the company going, otherwise they won't even have enough money to research and develop new models, let alone for promoting them (which they barely have right now anyway).
One solution for HTC to get back in the game would be for them to put more money into advertising. Unfortunately, that's not really a viable solution for HTC at this point, unless they agree to sell themselves to a company like Lenovo or Asus. Since HTC (or rather Peter Chou himself) doesn't seem in a rush to do that right now, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
A second solution, which is also becoming increasingly less likely to be successful as HTC runs out of money, would be for HTC to focus on the lower ends of the market, with devices that are "good enough" for most people, but more importantly (and a lesson HTC hasn't learned yet) to be offered at prices the majority of people can afford in most markets, even off-contract. That's been a huge weakness for HTC in the past, so unless they fix this, then this solution won't save them either.
Motorola's Moto G has been received extremely well, considering it has good enough hardware for the great price point of $179, or just slightly higher than that in other markets where taxes are included. HTC needs to create something similar, to benefit from that kind of buzz, and ultimately increased market share and sales.
Assuming, HTC hasn't been preparing a phone just like this for that price point, and they are just now starting to work on one, to be released about a year later, this is what I'd like HTC to use for a price point of $180-$200.
- CPU: quad-core Cortex A53 (64-bit, successor of Cortex A7)
- GPU: Mali T720 or similar
- Display: 720p, 4.5" (if they use speakers in front, like for the One, then 4.3")
- Storage: 16 GB (32 GB for $20 more - should cost HTC ~$13 to buy it a year from now)
- RAM: 2 GB of RAM (it wouldn't be a disaster if they kept 1 GB of RAM, though - the other specs are more important than increasing the RAM)
- Camera: 8MP (with OIS, if possible, or at least a larger sensor and great EIS)
- OS: Android 5.0+ (if it arrives at Google I/O, then they'll have plenty of time. If it arrives in October 2014, then they should wait to port it)
If HTC can provide that for $200 or less, about 12 months from now, they'll have a winner on their hands. However, that's also more or less what I'll expect from Moto G2, so HTC try and beat Motorola, at least in some areas, and be close to them in value/buck.