HTC’s focus on augmented and virtual reality technologies is strengthening as part of its new business strategy which the company is referring to as “Vive Reality,” Chief Executive Officer Cher Wang said while speaking at Mobile World Congress 2018. The development comes after years of underwhelming commercial results posted by the firm’s smartphone division which has been bleeding money for over half a decade now despite being widely considered as one of the pioneers in the smartphone field, having supported Google’s Android project since its very beginnings. HTC’s mobile chief Chailin Chang recently departed from the company, leaving its already struggling division without leadership, with the Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer already confirming it won’t be replacing him directly. Instead, HTC is now in the process of restructuring its operations by consolidating its mobile and Vive units around the world, albeit with a clear focus on the latter.
As part of counting its losses in the smartphone segment, HTC is downsizing its handset ambitions as a whole and will release fewer mobile products in 2018 than it did in recent years, according to recent statements from senior company officials. The Taipei-based OEM is still expected to launch at least one new Android flagship and several mid-rangers over the course of this year but their commercial availability may be limited. Some of its recent struggles were partially alleviated by its partnership with Google that commissioned HTC to manufacture both of the original Pixel-series devices in 2016, as well as the Pixel 2 last year.
It’s presently unclear whether the Mountain View, California-based tech giant once again enlisted HTC’s help with the Pixel 3 lineup this year but it may not have to do so after it acquired some of the company’s engineering talent as part of a $1.1 billion deal completed last month. The same agreement also provided Google with licenses to use HTC’s patent portfolio for commercial purposes, leaving the company in a better position to continue pursuing future hardware projects on its own. HTC is now refocusing its efforts on AR and VR that it expects will receive a massive popularity boost in the near future due to the incoming commercialization of 5G networks and help it revive its declining business.