Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's HTC Corp. launched its 5-inch Butterfly smartphone in Taiwan Tuesday and said it is gearing up to increase shipments of the new flagship model to meet strong demand in other markets.
"Based on our initial feedback, the phone has become very popular in Japan and we have been endeavoring to boost our shipments," HTC CEO Peter Chou said at a joint news conference with Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's largest telecom operator.
Jack Tong, president of HTC North Asia, said at the press conference that the first wave of Butterfly shipments to Japan had fallen short of demand and that HTC is planning to ship "a large number" of the phones at the end of December.
The HTC Butterfly, which features an ultra-sharp display and the latest quad-core processor from Qualcomm Inc., was launched in Japan Oct. 17 and in the United States Nov. 14.
The Butterfly will go on sale in Taiwan later this month through Chunghwa Telecom, with a price tag of NT$22,900 (US$788), lower than the pricing for Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5, which will start at NT$24,900.
Asked about HTC's 2013 product strategy, Tong said the company expects to extend the product life cycle of its flagship models while expanding its presence in the affordable smartphone segment.
Affordable smartphones, he said, refer to models priced between NT$5,000 and NT$10,000, which look attractive to youngsters and students who plan to replace their feature phones with smartphones.
Richard Ko, an analyst at Taipei-based KGI Securities, said the HTC Butterfly -- dubbed HTC J Butterfly in Japan and HTC Droid DNA in the U.S. -- have just stated to ship, with sales feedback and consumer response to the phones fairly positive.
It will take one to two more weeks to have a clearer picture and to better gauge whether subsequent sales momentum can be carried through, Ko said.
"We believe HTC's Droid DNA and J Buttery are highly competitive, but it still needs to enhance its brand consideration/preference, which could translate into consumer preference for HTC," he wrote in a recent report.
In the near term, Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. will continue to lead in scale, branding, marketing and distribution channel coverage, capping HTC's shipments growth, Ko said.
(By Jeffrey Wu)