HTC, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, shipped 3.5 million handsets in the first quarter of 2010. According to the Dow Jones Newswires, HTC expects to better that figure by 30 percent, with shipments of 4.6 million units, in the second quarter.
Should it accomplish this, the figure would be a record-breaker for HTC.
“Demand for HTC’s phones is stronger due to better consumer acceptance of Android phones,” a person reportedly familiar with the situation told the Newswires April 15.
Since being forced to reduce its 2009 revenue forecast in July, HTC, with a strong emphasis on Google’s Android mobile operating system, has worked to build itself up-and into a major U.S. smartphone brand.
“HTC has gone from the edge to the cutting edge,” analyst Charles King, with Pund-IT, told eWEEK, noting how quickly the mobile handset space is changing. “It stands as evidence that the game should not be handed to Apple by default. There are people out there with great ideas and great design concepts, and with Android they have an OS to build those on.”
In February, AdMob reported that U.S. smartphone traffic was up 193 percent from a year earlier, largely thanks to the swift growth of iPhone and Android traffic. According to the traffic that the analysis company measured, three of the top five Android devices in use were HTC handsets: the Hero, the Dream and the Magic.
In February, ad requests from the HTC Dream topped those of the Motorola Cliq, and the HTC Dream, Hero, Magic and Droid Eris all beat the RIM BlackBerry 8300, the Palm Pre and Samsung Moment, according to AdMob.
And traffic requests may rise higher still, as on April 15, HTC introduced the Droid Incredible-an Android 2.1 smartphone that will replace the swift-selling Motorola Droid as Verizon’s flagship Android device.
The Droid Incredible features a 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED capacitive touch screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera, integrated GPS and WiFi, and a “leap” view, for quick navigation across its optional seven home screen panels. It will become available April 29 for $199 after a $100 rebate and with a two-year service contract.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, said he considers HTC among the elite smartphone makers in the United States.
“That’s true and has been true for a while, it’s just that HTC’s brand has not been known, as they didn’t have a public brand in the United States until last year. They were an [original design manufacturer], and that’s still the case at T-Mobile, with the MyTouch3G-HTC’s name is not associated with that, though they built it-and similarly with Google’s Nexus One,” Greengart told eWEEK.
The best example of HTC’s strong standing, Greengart said, is the Evo 4G, from Sprint. “It combines just about any spec you can imagine, and adds that to dual-mode 3G CDMA [Code Division Multiple Access] and 4G WiMax,” Greengart said. “The Droid Incredible is another product that fits that bill.”
While HTC has found considerable success with Android, it is reportedly considering deploying its handsets with a mobile operating system of its own-which has encouraged hypotheses that HTC would do well to acquire Palm, with its excellent WebOS platform.
“HTC has been early and aggressive with Android. But you’ve got companies like Motorola building on top of Android, and Samsung just showed off some exciting additions to Android,” Greengart said. “So the impetus to have your own OS, and have full control and be able to add to the merits of your software and not just your hardware, are appealing to a company like HTC.”
Pund-IT’s King added, “It’s going to be very interesting to see how things shake out over the next year.”