HTC to ship 5G smart hub in U.S. market at end of May
Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. said Friday that it will start to ship the first-of-its-kind 5G mobile smart hub in the U.S. market at the end of May as it bets on 5G to help it revive its sagging fortunes.
HTC said Sprint, one of the major telecom carriers in the U.S. market, started pre-sale orders for the Taiwanese brand's 5G hub on May 17 in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City, where the 5G hub is compatible with Sprint's technology.
Shipments will begin on May 31.
Over the next few weeks, HTC's 5G hub will go on sale in other U.S. cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington for use in Sprint's 5G network.
HTC has also made inroads into the Australian 5G market as the 5G hub has been available through the online channel of telecom operator Telstra since May 22, the smartphone brand said.
Sales in Telstra's physical outlets will begin on May 28, HTC said.
HTC unveiled the 5G smart hub at the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in late February.
The product is essentially a 5G mobile hotspot for up to 20 users that will also serve as a mobile hub that can stream TV shows and movies from different apps, and it comes equipped with a battery so that it can be used anywhere.
According to HTC, 5G will be the game-changer for virtual reality and augmented reality, and the new HTC 5G Hub will seamlessly deliver the bandwidth of 5G to its VR devices.
HTC entered the VR market in 2015 with its first VR headset -- the Vive -- and then introduced subsequent models, including the Vive Pro Eye and the Vive Focus Plus, to try to create new revenue streams to offset falling smartphone sales.
The company's smartphone business has lost money every quarter since the second quarter of 2015. HTC reported a profit in the first quarter of 2018, but that was the result of the sale of its OEM phone business to Google for US$1.1 billion.
The losses continued in the first quarter of 2019, as its main product line continued to struggle in the face of intense competition in the global smartphone market.
In the January-March period, HTC posted a net loss of NT$2.46 billion (US$78.04 million) and a loss per share of NT$2.98, somewhat improved from a NT$5.27 loss per share in the previous quarter.
Despite the first quarter loss, HTC did see its gross margin, which reflects the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold, improve to 14.7 percent from 8 percent the previous quarter because of efforts to improve its product mix.
It was the fifth consecutive quarter in which HTC reported a sequential increase in gross margin.
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