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HTC launches mid-range Desire 500

2013/07/23 17:36:47

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) Taiwan's HTC Corp. said Tuesday the launch of a new smartphone, the HTC Desire 500, in Taiwan will strengthen its product portfolio in the affordable phone market.

The new device, targeted at young users, will be sold from Aug. 1 onward -- exclusively through Taiwan Mobile Co., the country's second-largest mobile service operator, and various retailers -- at a price of NT$11,900 (US$398) per unit, HTC said in a statement.

HTC North Asia President Jack Tong revealed that the new model will be available in black, blue, and red, and will be "especially suitable for college students and new graduates entering the job market."

"We would like to make the young generation think of the Desire 500 when they think of fashion," he added.

The Desire 500 features a 4.3-inch display, a 1.2-gigahertz quad-core processor from Qualcomm Inc., 4 gigabytes of internal memory, an 8-megapixel camera, and the BlinkFeed news feed home screen that was initially available only on the company's flagship device-the new HTC One.

It also sports near-field communication (NFC) technology, through which users can share pictures, films, music, and other data without needing access to the Internet, HTC said.

The Desire 500 is the third model in the mid-range Desire series, which has been launched by HTC in the space of a month-after the launches of Desire 200 and Desire 600 on June 18 and June 19, respectively. The Desire 200 costs NT$4,990, while the Desire 600 carries a price tag of NT$12,900.

HTC is still lagging behind its rivals in the mid- to low-end phone segment, particularly in China, said U.S. brokerage Goldman Sachs in a June 24 report.

The brokerage firm said it expected HTC's shipments in China, which accounted for 20-25 percent of its total shipments last year, to be relatively flat in 2013, far short of the 75 percent growth in end-market shipments by all brands in the Chinese market this year.

HTC's disappointing smartphone business in the mid- to low-end phone segment most likely was due to its late response to the growing strength of Chinese brands, Goldman Sachs noted.

In the upper end of the smartphone market, too, HTC had a hard time when its sales in June fell 24 percent from the previous month to NT$22.1 billion, implying a shorter product cycle for the new HTC One and high uncertainty for HTC's smartphone business in the third quarter.

The slowing sales of the new HTC One had pulled down HTC's second-quarter earnings to NT$70.7 billion, slightly higher than its projection of NT$70 billion in early May.

(By Jeffrey Wu and James Lee)