Summary:

It started as a diminutive ODM – the first to build an operator-branded mobile device, using the Windows OS, with nary a mention of its own…

HTC Device Portfolio with the Hero out front

It started as a diminutive ODM – the first to build an operator-branded mobile device, using the Windows OS, with nary a mention of its own name – and then evolved into a mobile phone brand in its own right. So it’s no surprise to hear the reports that HTC is planning its next step into the mobile marketplace with the launch of its own app store.

The FT reports that the Taiwanese handset-maker has been hiring “content editors” to help manage an “online application store,” citing two unnamed sources. The store will sell e-books, magazines and apps. Recruitment is underway in Taiwan, and the aim is to eventually staff up to 100 people worldwide. HTC did not comment on the report.

Peter Chou has in the past dismissed the notion of HTC following the rest of the pack in trying to create app store experiences along the lines of the first and biggest of them all from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). And users of their Windows and Android-based devices of course already have access to apps through Windows Marketplace and the Android Market.

But all the same, the company has already been extending its reach beyond simple device production in its attempt to capitalise on targeting the premium user market. In September it upgraded its Sense smartphone software and improving security, contact management, its camera, maps and e-reader apps, including preloading the Kobo e-book store on the device. So another move into further productising those devices may not be so far-fetched.

According to Canaccord HTC had six percent of mobile industry profits in Q3 this year; market leader Apple took 47 percent.

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