HTC is expected to launch the successor to the U12+ next Spring, as that would be about a year after the U12+ was announced. However, according to Phandroid, who is citing a "source familiar with the matter", it appears that HTC is not going to release the U13 next year. Instead, HTC is working on "something else". The report did not mention what exactly HTC was working on, just that customers should expect something different from HTC. What this likely means is that HTC is going to be announcing another smartphone next year, and perhaps another branding change is in order. Of course, the way HTC has been going the past couple of years, it's not a big surprise that HTC is planning a branding change here.
The HTC U12+ launched back in the Spring, and it turned out to be a pretty decent smartphone. But there were a few problems with the device. For one, the "buttons" that HTC put on the U12+ had a few issues. For one, they just weren't working for some users. You see, with the U12+, HTC decided to do software buttons, instead of buttons that actually clicked. They looked the same, but they did not move at all. Which means that if the battery is dead, well those buttons won't work. Once that fix was taken care of, HTC had a decent smartphone on their hands. The only thing is that many didn't know about this smartphone. And that leads back to HTC's trouble in marketing, which has plagued the company for many years now. This would be the third rebrand in about five years for HTC, hopefully it's the one that does the trick for them.
Background: For those that might be unaware of HTC's story, it's a pretty important player in the smartphone world. HTC has been around for about 21 years. But until 2009, it had largely made smartphones for other companies, this is what is called an ODM – Original Device Manufacturer. It's something that HTC even did recently with Google, making the Nexus One, Pixel and Pixel 2. HTC made the first Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1 (in the US, the HTC Dream elsewhere). As mentioned already, it also made the first Nexus smartphone, the Nexus One. So it's an important player in the smartphone world. But that was all before 2011. Since then, HTC has had problem after problem after problem. In 2011, it had nearly 25-percent of the market share in the US – about 10-percent globally. Now, according to Strategy Analytics, HTC has around 1-percent market share globally and in many markets, the market share is "not far from zero". Showing just how far HTC has fallen. Of course, this didn't happen overnight, this took about seven years to happen. But HTC hasn't really shown many signs of turning around, sadly.
After having a pretty bad year in 2011, where it seeded the top spot in market share to Samsung and then to Apple, HTC decided to change things up. It launched the HTC One branding, with the HTC One X and HTC One S. These were good smartphones, of course, HTC had always been known for making great smartphones. But they were not really available in the US. Back then, carrier exclusives were a thing, and many companies had to create the same phone for each US carrier, but under a different name. HTC only sold the One X on AT&T and the One S on T-Mobile. That was not a good idea for HTC, especially if they are looking to climb back into the market. About a year later, it decided to get rid of the letters and launch the HTC One. It was one of the first all-metal smartphones available, and again it had great build quality. HTC kept with the One lineup until 2016 when it dropped the "One" for its tenth flagship and called it simply, 10. Then last year, it dropped the One altogether and brought in the "U" naming, with the U11 and now the U12. During this time, HTC has drastically cut down the number of smartphones it was making. It has virtually exited the mid-range and low-end market, though it did launch the U11 Life and U12 Life last year and this year, respectively. But that hasn't been enough to get HTC back on track. Each month, HTC announced its revenues for the previous month, and it is never positive. Usually it's a double-digit drop, close to 50-percent some months. In fact, it won't even make $1 billion USD in revenue in 2018.
Impact: A rebrand may be necessary for HTC, but it's going to take much more than that. HTC has fallen so far that most people don't even know who HTC is, these days. And the reason for that is that HTC was on top of the smartphone market in a time where smartphones weren't ubiquitous, it was when smartphones and Android in general, were still pretty young. Now that smartphones are found everywhere, the big names are Samsung and Apple, and between the two, they own more than 60-percent of the global market, so that makes sense. But HTC's brand has been tarnished so much that it's going to take much more than a device rebrand, unfortunately for HTC. It's unclear what exactly HTC is planning to do with it's 2019 smartphone launch, but it is likely a rebrand. Hopefully HTC finally listens to its consumers and the press, and does launch a massive marketing campaign for this new device. Though, at this point, the US carriers don't even want to carry the device, so the smart thing for HTC would be to release a much cheaper smartphone with high-end specs (similar to what OnePlus does). Especially with smartphone prices hitting the four-figure mark these days. Either way, we should know more about what HTC is planning in the coming months. The U12+ was announced in May, so it wouldn't be too crazy to see HTC announce its successor around the same time in 2019. And that means that leaks and rumors should be surfacing pretty soon for this new smartphone.