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Summary:

Thanks to powerful ad campaigns, Google’s backing, great products and a carrier-friendly stance, HTC of Taiwan is becoming a smartphone superpower. The company just reported blockbuster first-quarter results. In many ways, it is the anti-Palm.

It is widely recognized that when it comes to smartphones, both Apple and Research in Motion are finding success. Well, add Taiwanese company HTC to that list. Thanks to powerful ad campaigns, backing from Google, a carrier-friendly stance and great phones, HTC just reported blockbuster results for the first quarter of 2010. In many ways, HTC is the polar opposite of Palm, which despite great brand loyalty has blown its opportunity. ) We wrote about its strategy last year, in How HTC Became a Smartphone Hero.) And it’s HTC’s bet on Android that’s yielding the greatest returns.

HTC revenues for the quarter were $1.19 billion, up 19.3 percent over the first quarter of 2009, and profit came in at $158 million vs. $154 million, due in large part to HTC’s carrier-friendly stance, which has yielded an increase in subsidies for its smartphones. HTC is now the fourth-largest smartphone maker. Its portfolio of high-profile devices includes Google’s Nexus One, the Desire and Evo, a WiMAX smartphone that will make its debut on the Sprint-Nextel’s network. HTC will also be launching six new phones on China Mobile’s network later this year.

HTC is winning because of its bet on Android. Of the top 15 HTC devices in December 2009, seven were Android phones and eight were Windows Mobile, even though the company has been making Android phones for just two years. HTC’s share of the smartphone market increased to 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 from 1 percent the year before due to the success of its Android devices in North America and Western Europe. According to our friends at mobile analytics firm Flurry, HTC accounts for about 61 percent of the total Android handset market.

The only fly in the ointment for this company: the lawsuit filed against the company earlier this year by Apple .

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  1. If the iPhone didn’t exist I’d have an HTC-designed Android-based phone. Because Blackberry is — still — phone and email centric, I think HTC has the best shot at becoming the global version of what we had expected from Blackberry. Working closely with carriers, offering numerous models at different price points based on the same OS, and embracing the mobile web and apps will continue to pay off for them.

    And what is this Windows Mobile you speak of?

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  2. Google’s Android operating system increased its market share by 5.2 percent in three months.ComScore lists Google in fourth place behind Research in Motion, Apple and Microsoft, but Google is quickly catching-up to them.

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  3. Most Android users I know, myself included, wouldn’t buy any other brand of phone. Part of the reason is that HTC makes awesome phones, and another reason is that HTC doesn’t try to lock down our phones, so we can easily root them and make choices for ourselves.

    IMO, this is a win for those of us who like experimenting and programming, and it is a win for HTC when we show off what their phones are capable of doing.

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