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HTC's 2010 sales show surge in smartphone use

Taiwanese manufacturer expects strong sales 2011, but tablets loom

High Tech Computer posted a 93 percent increase in revenue last year, pointing to sharp global growth in use of the smartphones it makes, company executives said on Friday.

The Taiwanese manufacturer also reported full-year sales of 24.67 million units, up 111 percent over 2009.

Among the company's headline sellers were its series of Android phones, which are catching up with iPhones in popularity in the U.S.. Its HTC HD7, one of the first smartphones featuring the Windows Phone 7 OS, sold out the day after its release.

"The year 2010 was a breakthrough year," company Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou said on an earnings conference call in Taiwan. "Going from a company of no scale to one of scale, that process was faster than I expected. Last year was the year that smartphones exploded."

Aggressive publicity and tie-ups with carriers such as AT&T and Verizon raised HTC’s profile, Chou said. Company revenue totaled NT$278.8 billion (US$9.57 billion) last year.

HTC anticipates a strong 2011 as it accelerates development and focuses on emerging markets, Chou told the conference.

More investment in user interface and software are also on the agenda, Chou said.

Smartphones, however, may face competition from tablet PCs amid user complaints that the smaller devices are too small to work as full-on computers but also sometimes struggle to make basic phone calls.

HTC hedged on its future interest in tablets on Friday, asking investors to be patient as it studies the market.


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