HTC is downscaling its Android smartphone plans for 2018 compared to this year but will still be looking to innovate with the U12 flagship that's likely to feature a 4K display, DigiTimes reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the company's efforts. The Taipei, Taiwan-based original equipment manufacturer is primarily looking to limit the number of handsets released over the course of the next 12 months in order to control costs of its increasingly struggling mobile business. The firm is seeking to deliver a new Android device in early 2018, with sources claiming that a mid-range revision of the HTC U11 Plus flagship will be released in January. Based on previous reports, the device in question may be marketed as the HTC U11 EYEs and be equipped with a 5.99-inch Super LCD5 display featuring an FHD+ resolution amounting to a tall aspect ratio of 18:9, i.e. 2:1.
The Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer is also preparing a follow-up on the HTC U11 series that's said to be marketed as the HTC U12. Industry sources believe the device will feature a 4K display panel and be powered by the Snapdragon 845, the most powerful mobile chip ever made by Qualcomm which the tech giant officially announced earlier this month. The inclusion of a 4K screen would possibly allow HTC to stand out from the competition seeing how the QHD(+) resolution is still a standard for Android flagships, save for Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium and Xperia XZ Premium. The HTC U12 is also said to be featuring a dual-camera setup, i.e. mark the company's return to two-lens imaging systems years after its last such experiment.
Even if HTC wasn't looking to downsize its smartphone business in 2018, it would likely have a hard time of keeping up with its previous release patterns after agreeing to let go of hundreds of its engineers who are now joining Google early next year as part of a billion-dollar deal that also allows Alphabet's subsidiary access to HTC's vast patent portfolio. As HTC didn't make any moves to replace the talent it's now set to lose, the company's decision to downscale its mobile R&D efforts appears to be entirely permanent in nature. Moving forward, HTC will be refocusing its resources on virtual reality solutions under its Vive brand, according to previous reports.