Could we have seen the last HTC-made smartphone?

The days when HTC was the Android maker to beat have sadly long gone. While the Taiwanese manufacturer continues to make good smartphones, they’re just not selling in significant enough numbers to give Samsung or Huawei anything to worry about.

When Google purchased a large chunk of HTC’s smartphone division, many wondered whether production of mobiles would wind down completely. That proved not to be the case, at least in the short-term with the HTC U12 Plus still emerging to middling reviews.

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However, one leaker believes that HTC is planning on outsourcing the production of its next handset to a third party, in the same way that BlackBerry, Nokia and (soon) Palm handsets are.

The leaker – @LlabTooFeR, who has a decent track record with HTC-related rumours – made the prediction on Twitter saying that the upcoming U12 Life will be “ODM manufactured.”

Whether this is a one-off or not, you’d imagine, would depend on how much of a success the U12 Life is. If it matches or even exceeds past sales for phones under the Life brand, you’d imagine HTC would be keen to repeat the experiment, as it allows the company to invest its time and resources elsewhere.

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If it ends up underperforming, then that’s a whole different matter. The company would have to decide whether the sales dip was due to the lack of traditional HTC secret sauce or wonder whether there’s room in the market for HTC-branded handsets – no matter who puts them together.

Of course, this may all be an untrue rumour, and HTC might not even be having these conversations. We’ll know for sure only if and when the HTC U12 Life makes it off the production line.

Would HTC be right to outsource production of its smartphones? Let us know what you think on Twitter @TrustedReviews.