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HTC sales, profits jump on smartphone appeal

Riding a surge of interest in its Android-based devices, the Taiwanese mobile phone maker sees a sharp rise in fourth-quarter revenue and earnings.

HTC continued its recent winning streak as fourth-quarter sales and earnings both climbed dramatically on demand for its lineup of Android phones.

HTC's Evo 4G
HTC's Evo 4G Sarah Tew/CNET

For the quarter ended December 31, the mobile phone maker took in a net profit of NT$14.59 billion (US$500 million), a leap of 160 percent from 2009's final quarter. Sales climbed to NT$104 billion (US$3.5 billion), surging 153 percent from a year ago.

HTC also enjoyed solid growth for 2010 as a whole, with annual net income increasing 75 percent to NT$39.5 billion and sales soaring 93 percent to NT$278.8 billion.

Since launching the HTC Dream, the industry's first Android smartphone, in late 2008, the company has experienced growing demand for its array of phones based on the Google operating system. In particular, its Desire and Wildfire phones gave HTC a healthy boost across Europe and Asia in the second half of 2010.

Last year, the company also unveiled the first 4G phone--the HTC Evo. Though sales of the new 4G device weren't quite as stellar as HTC first announced, the phone did get off to a good start. For the entire year, HTC shipped a total of 24.6 million phones, up 111 percent from 2009.

Looking ahead, HTC expects both existing products and new devices to boost shipments and sales in the near term. At CES 2011 earlier this month, the company announced two new 4G smartphones--the Thunderbolt and the Inspire. For the current quarter, HTC is looking for shipments to reach 8.5 milllion units, up 157 percent from the year-ago quarter, while sales are forecast to hit NT$94 billion, a gain of 147 percent from a year ago.

Recent rumors also suggest that HTC is preparing to launch its first Android tablets during the first half of the year.