Verifying a rumor put out by BGR over a month ago, HTC has announced after a dismal end to 2011 (net profits fell 26% last quarter) that the company will be changing its handset strategy to focus on fewer, "hero" devices in the coming year. The problem of excessive handset iteration is one I've opined on before. It is a problem, and while it's unlikely that HTC's balance sheet woes were even in majority caused by the large number of handsets they released, making fewer models is certainly a way to cut costs and increase the amount of attention that goes into each product.

Of course, this doesn't all of the sudden mean that those products will be better. It also doesn't mean the majority of those products will run Android, either. HTC has been pushing hard with its Windows Phone 7 devices, and has more on the horizon this year.

The idea of more focused handset development is definitely great in theory, but we'll have to see how it plays out in practice. HTC is a bit of an oddball among the three major Android device makers, focusing (typically) more on hardware design and value-added features like Beats Audio and its Sense UI overlay in lieu of cutting-edge internals, razor-thinness, or up-to-the-minute OS updates. The problem? These are the things Android fans get excited about. In fact, I personally had trouble getting excited about any HTC device released in the last year - the company didn't have a Galaxy S II or DROID RAZR "moment" that really stuck. It was all pretty mundane, really.

Let's hope this strategy works out.