HTC heads for the big time…

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HTC has come of age as a handset manufacturer, quite clearly. As well as being judged Best Manufacturer in this year’s Mobile News Awards, the past 12 months has seen the Taiwanese handset maker move away from its bread-and-butter OEM business, developing devices for branding by network operators, to concentrate on issuing a portfolio of handsets under its own steam.

And it has timed its emergence from the shadows to run in tandem with Google’s vaunted release of its Android operating system.

Since launch in 1997, HTC has developed handsets for networks to sell under another brand – it was responsible for bringing the O2 XDA, Orange SPV, Vodafone VPA and T-Mobile MDA to market. It had a small selection of own-branded Windows Mobile devices that launched subsequently, but its success came via its OEM partnerships.

The last OEM device it manufactured was the T-Mobile G1 in September 2008, the network’s first Android handset. Since, HTC has moved away from its focus on developing Windows Mobile handsets to work with Google on a series of Android devices.

In the last two years, it has launched sseven Android-based mobiles – the Hero, Dream, Magic, Desire and Legend, all under its own brand – as well as the G2 for T-Mobile and the Nexus One for Google, both of which saw HTC share top-billing in brand terms. It represents a collection most of its better-established rivals struggle to match.

HTC reckons its brand, and its drive for share of the high-end feature phone/smartphone market, are significant enough now for it to compete with other tier-one manufacturers. And, its ownership of a Mobile News Award for ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ and a commendation for the Hero is further evidence of its new strength in a shifting market place.

HTC executive director for UK, Ireland and South Africa Jon French (pictured says the manufacturer will focus on Android devices to consolidate and build upon its early brand success.

“The advantages of Android are remarkable. There are 50,000 applications available for download and a large portion of those are free,” says French.

Full article in Mobile News issue 463 (May 10, 2010).

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