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HTC offering $100 credit for old phones with purchase of new HTC One

The Quietly Brilliant handset maker is hoping to make some noise with a limited-time promotion.

HTC is offering $100 credit toward purchase of the HTC One. HTC

In case you don't know, HTC really wants you to buy its new HTC One.

So much so that the company is willing to pay you at least $100 for your old handset should you opt for its flagship device.

Sounds great, right? Well, as you'd expect, you have to read the fine print. Instead of a crisp $100 bill, HTC will give you a Prepaid Visa Card worth $100 or the trade-in value of a used cell phone, whichever is greater. The deal, obviously designed to drum up interest in the new Android phone, runs through March 12.

To receive the rebate, you'll have to register an e-mail address on the HTC One upgrade site and purchase and activate a new phone by March 31. Then you'll have to mail your old device proof of purchase of the HTC One before April 30, 2013. In return, you'll get the prepaid card in roughly six to eight weeks. Clover Wireless, a firm which specializes in trade-in and trade-up programs, is handling the heavy lifting for the promotion.

HTC told CNET that any mobile phone listed on will be considered for trade-in based on the market value. And it's a broad list. For example, a T-Mobile G1 (the very first Android phone!), normally has no trade-in value, but for HTC it's worth $100 through the end of the promotion. Maybe the company wants to stock a museum of its old devices.

While U.S. carriers have yet to announce their launch dates, the timing of the promotion tells me it will be soon. I'd like to think HTC will give buyers at least a few days to purchase the HTC One under the trade-in program. With that in mind, the rumors of March 8 availability seem to carry a bit more weight than the March 22 date recently making the rounds.

If you're interested in participating in the program, you can sign up for details on HTC's site.