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HTC Releases Its G1 Sales Forecasts, But Are They To Be Believed?

HTC is finally going public with the number of G1 phones it expects to sell by the end of the year — 600,000 is the figure it is offering up. But is the company intentionally lowballing its forecast?

Sales projections are a tricky game for device manufacturers. It’s an opportunity for companies like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and HTC to boast about how well they plan their products to perform, but it’s also a chance to appear surprised later when they outperform their own forecasts. Apple recently surpassed its long-stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. By year’s end, the number could be closer than 15 million, in which case financial analysts would likely heap praise on the company.

Is HTC setting itself up for a similar power punch? Leading up to CEO Peter Chou’s interview with the Mercury News where he first mentioned the 600,000 number, pre-sales estimates were all over the map from 70,000 to 1.5 million (although the latter was rightfully slammed for using tortured math). We called HTC for more elaboration on the 600,000 figure and will update this post when we hear back from them.

After spending more than $10 million and almost three years in development, HTC launched the first Google-branded phone with T-Mobile earlier this week. Leading up to its launch, HTC had a team of employees camped out at Google (NSDQ: GOOG) headquarters for almost a year, Chou said.