HTC Smartphone Division: Hobbles on with Metaverse-focused Desire 22 Pro

Today it revealed the HTC Desire 22 Pro, a follow-up to last year’s HTC Desire 21 Pro and the company’s significant attempt at capitalizing on the so-called metaverse. In the UK, it’s available at £399 and will ship on August 1st.

We were promised to be the ‘perfect companion’ to its Vive Flow VR headset. Unfortunately, it hasn’t released a competitive flagship device in years, but HTC’s smartphone division isn’t throwing in the towel just yet.

There are a couple of additional aspects to the phone’s metaverse functionality. To begin with, it’s designed to be the “perfect companion” to HTC’s newly announced Vive Flow VR headset and employed to access Viverse, HTC’s take on the metaverse. In addition, the headset is created to work with any Android phone, so it’s unclear what the Desire 22 Pro shows that isn’t available elsewhere.

The Desire 22 Pro’s specs are absolutely midrange. It’s brought a 6.6-inch 1080p display with a high 120Hz refresh rate and a hole-punch notch in its top left holding a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Around the back, there are three rear cameras, a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

Internally it’s powered by a Snapdragon 695 processor, with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,520mAh battery. In addition, it sustains wireless and reverse wireless charging, runs Android 12, and has an IP67 grade for dust and water resistance. The Desire 22 Pro arrives in either black or gold.

The approach is very reminiscent of HTC’s earlier blockchain-powered smartphone, the Exodus 1, which was released in 2018, followed up with the more reasonable Exodus 1S the following year. But neither phone appears to have reversed HTC’s smartphone fortunes. The company’s market share reportedly plummeted to less than half a percent in 2018, the same year it sold much of its smartphone talent to Google. Nowadays, HTC sells so few smartphones that it doesn’t register on public smartphone market share trackers.

HTC Corporation, High Tech Computer Corporation, literally Hongda International Electronics Co., Ltd.; trading as HTC) is a Taiwanese consumer electronics company headquartered in Xindian District, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Founded in 1997, HTC began as an original design and equipment manufacturer, designing and manufacturing laptop computers.

After initially making smartphones based primarily on Windows Mobile, HTC became a co-founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of handset manufacturers and mobile network operators dedicated to developing the Android operating system. As a result, the HTC was the first phone on the market to run Android.

Although initially successful as a smartphone vendor, competition from Meizu, among others, diluted its market share, which reached just 7.2% by April 2015, and the company has experienced consecutive net losses. In 2016, HTC began to diversify its business beyond smartphones, having partnered with Valve to produce a virtual reality platform called HTC Vive. In addition, after having collaborated with Google on its Pixel smartphone, HTC sold roughly half of its design and research talent and non-exclusive rights to smartphone-related intellectual property to Google in 2017 for US$1.1 billion.

HTC’s chairwoman and acting CEO is Cher Wang, the daughter of the late Wang Yung-ching, founder of the plastics and petrochemicals conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group. Peter Chou serves as head of the HTC Future Development Lab, and HT Cho as Director of the Board and Chairman of HTC Foundation. HTC’s CFO is Hui-Ming Cheng. In addition to the existing chair of HTC, Cher Wang is also acting chair of VIA Technologies. HTC’s main divisions, including the IA (Information Appliance) engineering and the WM (Wireless Mobile) engineering division, are ISO 9001/ISO 14001-qualified facilities.

HTC’s sales revenue totaled $2.2 billion in 2005, a 102% increase from the prior year. In 2005 it was listed as the fastest-growing tech company in BusinessWeek Info Tech 100.

In 2010 HTC worked with Google to build mobile phones running Google’s Android mobile OS, such as the Nexus One.

HTC grew exponentially after Microsoft chose it as a hardware platform development partner for the now defunct Windows Mobile operating system.

HTC invested strongly in research and development, accounting for a quarter of its employees. The company’s North American headquarters are located in Bellevue, Washington. In addition, HTC runs a software design office in Seattle (near its North American headquarters), where it designs the interface for its phones. In 2011, HTC also opened a research and development office in Durham, North Carolina, a location the company chose over Seattle and Atlanta to focus on multiple areas of wireless technology.

On February 17th, 2010, Fast Company ranked HTC as the 31st most innovative company in the world. On May 27th, 2011, in response to customer feedback, HTC announced that they would no longer lock the bootloaders on their Android-based phones.

HTC started making Windows Mobile PDAs and smartphones in 2004 under the Qtek brand. In 2006 the range was rebranded as HTC with the launch of the HTC TyTN. In 2007, HTC acquired the mobile device company Dopod International. In 2008, HTC unveiled the HTC Max 4G, the first GSM mobile phone to support WiMAX networks. HTC joined Google’s Open Handset Alliance and then developed and released the first device powered by Android in 2008, the HTC Dream.

At the Mobile World Congress in February 2011, the GSM Association named HTC the “Device Manufacturer of the Year” in its Global Mobile Awards. In April 2011, HTC surpassed Nokia as the third-largest smartphone manufacturer by market share, behind Apple and Samsung.

On July 6th, 2011, it was announced that HTC would buy VIA Technologies’ stake in S3 Graphics. On August 6th, 2011, HTC acquired Dashwire for $18.5M. In August 2011, HTC confirmed a plan for a strategic partnership with Beats Electronics involving acquiring 51 percent of the company.