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HTC readies U series phone launches in Asia, Europe

The new phones will replace the HTC One series as the company's flagship line.


HTC is launching its U series of phones this week across Asia.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC's new flagship phones, the U Play and U Ultra, are starting to make their way around the world.

Chia-Lin Chang, HTC's president of global sales, said the phone will start shipping in countries in Asia this week and in parts of Europe in March. (You can already buy it in HTC's home base of Taiwan.) He spoke at an event Wednesday in Singapore to formally launch the devices there.

The global launch of the U series, which replaces HTC's One series as its flagship line, comes after the company reported on Tuesday a fourth-quarter operating loss of NT$3.6 billion (about $116 million) with revenue falling 14 percent to NT$22.2 billion (about $722 million). It was the seventh consecutive quarterly loss for HTC, according to The China Post, but the company is hoping its new phones can boost sales.

Once one of the dominant Android phone makers in the world, HTC has struggled to win back high-end consumers who have flocked to Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy S line. Its continued losses underscore the challenges for many handset makers, which also face pressure on the low end from a raft of affordable options from Chinese rivals.

HTC has shifted focus to its burgeoning virtual reality business with its Vive system, but still makes most of its money from phones.

An HTC spokesperson said the company will be focusing more on India, where it claims to be the third most popular smartphone brand based on the size of its fan base on Facebook, following Motorola and Samsung.

"We have a very strong brand position in India," said Faisal Siddiqui, HTC's president for South Asia. "On our Facebook account, we have accumulated a huge fan base of more than 6 million people."

A US launch is expected at the end of the month.

CNET's Roger Cheng contributed to this report.