HTC still makes phones and is launching one with 5G

Can the Android OG stage a comeback?

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In the early days of Android, HTC made some of the most desirable smartphones out there. Then Samsung, LG, OnePlus and Google itself left the Taiwanese company eating their dust, and the brand became best known for its Vive VR headsets. Now UDN reports it’s planning a comeback of sorts, a 5G-capable phone that’ll it’ll release later this year. We don’t know whether it’ll be a high-end phone or a mid-range one. Frankly, we’re just surprised there’s going to be one at all.

New boss, new products — Last year, Orange vice president Yves Maitre took on the role of CEO at HTC, and said in addition to building 5G-focused hardware the company expects ongoing growth in the VR and AR markets. Last week, HTC reasserted its position as a leader in VR when it unveiled three new VR headsets along with a pair of mixed-reality glasses.

We can imagine HTC bringing its VR chops to bear on AR applications for mobile devices. How it would make those applications unique selling propositions, though, remains to be seen.

There’s a Huawei-shaped gap in the market — There’s still space for the company’s hardware in the smartphone sector if it can deliver attractive devices. With Huawei doomed to struggle outside its home market of China until its beef with the U.S. government is resolved, there’s definitely a place for feature-packed devices that aren’t from Samsung, especially in Europe, which until recently has lapped up Huawei’s offerings.

But if HTC’s going to stage a successful comeback a good device is necessary, but by no means sufficient. HTC will also need to offer reliable after-sales service and will have to spend heavily to get buy-in from mobile operators and challenge Samsung’s pervasive marketing campaigns. Perhaps most challenging of all, it’ll have to get consumers to believe in it again.