Taipei, May 23 (CNA) HTC Corp. launched its first fourth-generation (4G) smartphone in Taiwan Wednesday, with local wireless broadband operators predicting that the high-speed handheld device will expand the pool of 4G subscribers in the country.
Featuring a 1.2 GHz processor and a 5 megapixel camera, the HTC EVO Design can run on both the current 3G networks and the faster Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) networks.
The 4-inch model is also HTC's first smartphone to use the advanced in-cell touch screen, which can be made thinner and lighter than the more traditional on-cell screens because the touch sensors are actually placed inside color filters rather than on top of them.
"With this new HTC phone, we expect to push Taiwan's wireless broadband market toward an era of higher speed," K.C. Chu, Taiwan sales country manager for HTC, said at a product launch press conference.
The 4G-enabled EVO Design will go on sale around the country next month through 200 HTC stores as well as WiMAX operators Vee TIME Corp. and Global Mobile Corp., with a price tag of NT$13,900 (US$470), the company said.
Taiwan currently has six licensed WiMAX operators -- Global Mobile, VMAX Telecom Co., Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., International Telecom Corp., Tatung InfoComm Co. and Vee TIME.
However, the six operators had tallied only 133,067 WiMAX subscribers as of December 2011 since acquiring licenses in 2007, casting a shadow over the future development of WiMAX wireless technology in Taiwan.
"There has been a lack of WiMAX terminal devices during the past two years. Our partnership with HTC is expected to boost the numbers of new subscribers and revenues," said Vee TIME Chairman Richard Lai.
Lai projected that the number of Vee TIME users will double from 50,000 at present to 100,000 by the end of this year, while his company and Global Mobile will jointly purchase over 100,000 of the HTC EVO Design phones.
Rosemary Ho, chairwoman of Global Mobile, said she expects the number of her company's users to grow from the current 120,000 to 250,000 by the end of this year thanks to the introduction of the HTC EVO Design.
User numbers could rise further to between 400,000 and 500,000 in 2013 as Global Mobile plans to spend more money on infrastructure utilization and smartphone subsidies, she said.
(By Jeffrey Wu)