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Google Cell Phone Raises HTC Revenues 22%

Thanks to hits like the T-Mobile G1 and its "Touch" line, HTC reports $1.4 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.



T-Mobile's HTC G1 Android-powered handset.
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It was only a few years ago that HTC was a relatively obscure smartphone maker, but the company has had a slate of successful devices and its fourth-quarter earnings reflected that.

For the fourth quarter, HTC reported revenue of about $1.4 billion, an increase of 22% from the same period last year. For all of 2008, the company had more than $4.6 billion in revenue.

Overall, the yearly net profit was about $870 million, a slight dip from the previous year. HTC said this decline was because of a new Taiwanese accounting practice that makes businesses expense employee bonuses every quarter.

The company has been making its mark with Windows Mobile smartphones, as it's the largest manufacturer of smartphones with Microsoft's mobile operating system. It has been quite successful with its Windows Mobile-powered Touch line of smartphones, including the Touch Diamond and the Touch Pro. These smartphones feature touch-friendly user interfaces and sleek designs, and they've been picked up by almost every major mobile operator.

HTC's design expertise caught the attention of Google, and the search company hand-picked HTC to manufacture the first handset to use the open source Android mobile operating system. The T-Mobile G1 has been met with mostly positive reviews, and many customers have been drawn to its ability to access new mobile programs through the Android Market, which is similar to Apple's App Store. HTC had originally predicted it would sell 500,000 units in 2008, but it has recently bumped up its estimate to 1 million because of strong demand.

Analysts are predicting a strong 2009 for HTC even as the overall cell phone market contracts. HTC said it expects to bring out about 10 new smartphones, most of which will be powered by Windows Mobile. But the company already is working on an Android-powered successor to the G1 that may be available on multiple carriers.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer