This is certainly not a new idea being proposed to HTC, and even though HTC has been focusing a little more on mid-range and lower-end devices lately, I don't think they've quite got the message yet, that they need to focus a lot more on this market to gain market share and mind share. The Taiwan (HTC's country) Ministry for Economic Affairs is suggesting them the same thing:
"Although HTC in the first half of the year promoted its flagship models, in the second half promoting high-end models such as the One mini, Butterfly S and One Max, because the flagship models came out late and mature markets were saturated, HTC sustained losses in the third quarter. So in the third quarter it strengthened low-priced and mid-priced models to lift market share."-Quarterly review from the economic ministry's Industry & Technology Intelligence Services
From the reception the $180 Moto G received recently, we can see that there's tremendous opportunity at the lower-end for HTC or other companies to sell a ton of devices. This is how one company can get to more easily sell tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of devices per year (in the future).
HTC's mistake so far has been that it was never too serious about the low-end market, and when they did release devices for this market, their devices are hardly competitive in terms of value consumers get for the price. That's another way of saying the consumers could get much better devices at the prices HTC was charging for their lower-end devices.
I don't know if that's because HTC feels entitled to get tens of dollars of profit even for low-end devices, rather than a few dollars, like everyone else (as a way to sell in higher volumes), or because HTC isn't making any of the components themselves, and they buy them expensively, but either way it's still an issue HTC will need to solve before it even begins to be competitive at the low-end. Otherwise not only will they not achieve the volumes they need to grow, but they may keep declining, while they keep putting a lot of money in R&D and in the creation of those devices.