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Rumor: HTC may exit the smartphone business by spring 2017

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

HTC’s mobile business has been struggling for some time, despite the fact that we are big fans of its most recent flagship device. That struggle may soon come to an end, though, as there are rumors swirling that it will leave the smartphone business entirely as soon as spring 2017.

This latest rumor comes out of Chinese website MyDrivers (via MobiPicker), and suggests that due to ongoing losses in its smartphone business, HTC is looking to shutter it and sell it to someone else instead. While there is little to suggest it has found a buyer, the fact that HTC produced Google’s well-received Pixel devices suggests that the search engine giant could snap up the mobile manufacturing branch.

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HTC has denied the rumor, but the fact that the firm seems to have scaled back its mobile releases while splitting off the virtual reality division into its own company, suggests that it may at least be compartmentalizing its business to allow a corporate refocus.

We won’t have too long to wait to find out. If HTC does plan to sell off or shut down its smartphone business in spring 2017, we will likely start to see it making moves in the coming months as it edges towards that possible goal. Industry analysts will be watching closely to see what it does moving forward.

Although HTC leaving the industry wouldn’t create a huge vacuum in the mobile space — it is leaving because of poor sales after all — it does open up the flagship smartphone market a little, potentially increasing the impact of new devices like the aforementioned Google handsets.

If the company does decide that its mobile division is a lost cause, it will be interesting to see who steps up to fill HTC’s shoes.