updated 10:50 am EDT, Fri July 29, 2011
HTC thrives in spring and says Apple effect small
HTC posted mostly positive results on Friday that cast doubt on its early tablet strategy even as it tried to reassure investors over Apple lawsuit concerns. It shipped a record 12.1 million smartphones in the spring, 124 percent more than it did a year earlier. The growth kept it out of the top five phone makers worldwide but was a brisk 25 percent improvement on 9.7 million devices from just this past winter.
The company was unusually silent on its tablet results, however, and declined to say how many of the Flyer or its Sprint cousin the Evo View 4G had shipped. Not much was expected from the tablet lineup this year, HTC said. Its statement may have been an admission of little uptake for the seven-inch Android slate, whose lone special feature is support for pen input in the OS and apps.
About six to eight new devices of all kinds were due to ship in the second half of the year. Some will be Windows Phones, likely referring to the Eternity and Ignite, but most would be based on Android. More tablets would come, HTC said in a likely allusion to the Puccini headed to AT&T.
CEO Peter Chou didn't expect Apple's win at the ITC over patents to have a deep impact. Lawsuits and other disputes often came when a company was successful, he said. The executive also reassured anxious investors that management would "not bring the company to a dangerous position."
The company wouldn't go single-platform and use only Android but also admitted that other platforms weren't doing well. Windows Phone sales were disappointing, HTC emphasized. Officials pledged themselves to supporting WP7 and said they liked Mango but would base their strategy on market demand.
Talk has existed that HTC may be effectively be pushed into supporting Windows Phone because of its patent deal with Microsoft. Although neither has confirmed the terms, rumors persist that HTC is getting a 'discount' on Microsoft patent licenses for Android that would go away or transform into a lawsuit if the firm stopped making Windows Phones.