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HTC sends teaser invites for January press event, keeps details under wraps

HTC is announcing something big in January. And mysterious. On Tuesday, the Taiwan-based manufacturer sent an invitation to the press for an event on January 12 in the form of a teaser image. It’s a giant ‘U’ — the same shape as the ‘C’ in HTC’s logo — set against a sky-blue background. What it means is anyone’s guess.

The details are hazy but the release of the teaser image coincides with rumblings that the smartphone maker will announce the HTC X10, the midrange follow-up to the HTC X9, as soon as January. It is expected to sport an all-metal body and feature a 5.5-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) screen shielded by Gorilla Glass, the same as its predecessor. Under the hood is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor clocked at 2GHz, a Mali-T860 graphics chip, and 3GB of RAM. Rounding things out is a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. It will reportedly retail for around $300.

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Alternatively, HTC could announce its next flagship: the rumored HTC 11. Leaked images on Weibo show an angular aluminum design in keeping with the HTC 10’s language and it is expected to feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) edge-to-edge screen, a dual rear-facing lens comprised of two 12-megapixel cameras, and up to 256GB of internal storage. Also in tow is Qualcomm’s bleeding-edge Snapdragon 835 and support for the Quick Charge 4.0 rapid recharge standard. The final few improvements reportedly include a front-facing 8-megapixel shooter, a bump from the 5-megapixel camera on the HTC 10, as much as 8GB of RAM, or double the amount in the HTC 10, and a 3,700mAh battery, up substantially from the HTC 10’s 3,000mAh.

There is a chance the company could debut something entirely different: a smartwatch. In October, leaked images of an HTC-branded wearable with a black plastic bezel and circular watch face — codenamed “Halfbreak” — emerged. It reportedly featured a 360 x 360 color display and heart rate sensor.

Whatever HTC announces in January, one thing is for certain, the company is in desperate need of a hit. At the company’s earnings call for the first calendar quarter of 2016, it reported a dip in revenue of 64 percent and a 78 percent dive in profits year-on-year, its fourth consecutive quarter of major declines. Those losses led the company to sell real factory real estate and shed 15 percent of its workforce or 2,250 jobs.

More: Downward trajectory: HTC reports fourth consecutive quarter of revenue decline

HTC, for its part, is confident it can turn things around. It is projecting growth fueled by the “strong launches” of both the HTC 10, Google’s Pixel smartphones, and the HTC Vive virtual reality headset. CEO Chialing Chang said that those developments, in tandem with supply chain improvements, should drive the company to break even as early as the third quarter of this year.”

The company has a challenging road ahead. HTC’s total global share of cellular subscribers stood at 3.2 percent as of January, market analytics company Comscore reported — a sharp 0.6 percent drop from March 2015’s 3.8 percent.