HTC Desire C

If you were hoping that HTC would dip into the realm of budget smartphones -- the kind that make a Desire C look precious -- you'll have to look elsewhere. In a chat with the Wall Street Journal, CEO Peter Chou has drawn a line in the sand that will keep his company building mid-range and high-end smartphones like the One S for the time being. The kind of material compromises needed to hit those bottom-range prices would sully HTC's good name, he says. Not that Chou has reason to be worried. Shipments in mainland China, where a sub-¥1,000 ($158) price helps companies like ZTE, are expected to triple in 2012 and just might prove HTC right. That's still a considerable gamble given that it's having trouble keeping its high-end phones in stores for reasons other than sheer demand.