Back in the day, HTC was one of the biggest and best Android manufacturers out there. It made a number of the most important Android handsets in the early days, including the very first -- the T-Mobile G1 -- as well as Google's Nexus One. In recent years, however, Samsung took over the market with its Galaxy series; as such, HTC has been losing money and struggling for relevance. Given those struggles, it looks like HTC is investigating a major shakeup. Bloomberg is reporting that the company is investigating a sale of some kind.
It could sell off its Vive VR hardware business, which is probably the most successful and valuable part of the company these days. This would follow a move made last year when control of the Vive business was put in the hands of a wholly-owned subsidiary company. Another option being considered is a full sale of the entire company, which would include both the smartphone and VR businesses. Sources Bloomberg spoke with feel this is less likely because such an sale doesn't fit quite as well with one single buyer.
This is far from a done deal; no potential buyers were cited nor was any timetable given. But given how difficult it is to make money as an Android device manufacturer, it's not terribly surprising to hear that HTC is figuring out alternatives to just staying the course. That said, HTC has gotten some of its smartphone mojo back in the last few years, at least from a product quality point of view. Both 2016's HTC 10 and this year's U11 are the best phones the company has produced in years and the first that we could really recommend without reservation. HTC also was the manufacturer behind Google's first Pixel phones, a contract that lends the brand some credibility.
But good hardware doesn't lead to success -- HTC just isn't a household name in the way that Samsung and Apple are, and thus it's been hard for the company to reverse its fortunes. How selling the Vive business -- arguably the only part of HTC that's truly hitting on all cylinders -- would help HTC in the long run remains to be seen. (Besides the cash infusion that would come with that, of course.) We're probably getting ahead of ourselves with all the speculation, as even Bloomberg says nothing may come of this. But it's definitely worth keeping an eye out to see what'll happen to the first Android smartphone manufacturer in the coming months.