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The HTC Edge
HTC's January revenue was less than half of what it was last year

HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) long toiled as a original device maker (ODM), producing PDAs for the likes of Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ).  But the Taiwanese electronics firm in 2007 saw its chance to step out from behind the curtain, when Google Inc. (GOOG) revealed a new open source operating system, Android.

It worked -- overnight HTC became a household name among U.S. smartphone users, and handsets like HTC EVO 4G defined the cutting edge.  But since catapulting from obscurity to superstardom, the member of Android's "Big Three" has stumbled.

In 2011, it saw its sales battered by more popular offerings from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930).  And that's not to mention the spying allegations against the company following a careless security breach due to sloppy coding within its distribution of "Carrier IQ" user device monitoring code.

HTC, however, isn't taking this lying down.  The smartphone maker plans to reveal at least four new high-end handsets at the Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  MWC 2012 runs from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1.

At the show HTC is expected to unveil an ultrathin phone code-named HTC "Ville", similar to Motorola's popular Droid RAZR.  A quad-core smartphone code-named "Edge" is also reportedly on the menu.

HTC desperately needs a sales edge.  In newly released [PDF] sales figures, it fell 2.49 percent in revenue and 41.4 in profit, reporting sales of NT$101.42B ($3.443B USD) and profit of NT$10.94B ($371.3M USD).  And January revenue took an even sharper plunge [PDF], down 52.55 percent to NT$16.615B ($563.98M USD), down from NT$35.014B ($1.1885B USD).

Some analysts are optimistic that HTC’s new smartphone will set it back on a winning path.  Marc Einstein, Tokyo-based Industry Manager for Mobile and Wireless Communications for Frost and Sullivan, tells Reuters, "The smartphone industry is so fast moving, I wouldn't count them out."

Sources: HTC [1], [2], Reuters





"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis



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