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HTC to refocus, deliver more LTE devices in 2012

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Last week, HTC cut its revenue forecast for the fourth quarter of 2011 by 23 percent due to increased competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung. However, speaking with Reuters, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Winston Yung seemed quite optimistic about the future, arguing that HTC’s 2012 sales will still be almost double what they were in 2011. The company will also (and this isn’t any surprise) announce competitive new models for 2012 including more LTE devices.

“I don’t think it’s so serious,” said Yung. “We have six quarters of improvement, the most conservative guidance is 45 million units of shipments this year, a lot higher than 25 million last year. We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive. Other than new LTE phones for the U.S. market, we also have phones for the global market. We will launch some worldwide flagship products. We’re confident in them.”

While no details on when upcoming devices would be announced, we suspect that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January will harbor the next big product announcements from HTC and its competitors. CES is, by far, the biggest technology trade show of the year and often harbors a good deal of the product announcements for the first half of the year. The big smartphone question going into 2012 is if any of the major manufacturers will shake up the formula which seems to have become standard since Apple reinvented the smartphone some years back: a big touchscreen…and that’s about it. In 2011 especially, the main differentiator of Android device was minor software UI tweaks, incremental camera improvements, and screen size. Screens continued to grow to sizes exceeding 5 inches, while basic things like physical keyboards and other hardware innovations seemed to whither.

It will be interesting to see if HTC, or any other manufacturer, plans to shake up this formula in the year ahead, but if Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is any indication, we may see even fewer buttons on our devices. The OS has done away with the physical navigation buttons (Home, Menu, Search, Back).

CES 2012 will run from Jan. 10-13.