Profitable HTC Eyes Up Tablet Market

Paul Lilly

As Android grows, so too does HTC, Taiwan's No. 1 smartphone maker. It's been a banner year for HTC, which announced fourth-quarter earnings twice as high as one year ago, according to an AP report .

HTC continues to cash in on the smartphone frenzy and saw its net profit for the fourth quarter reach $500 million. That's a 160 percent jump from a year earlier and a 31 percent surge from the third quarter. All this success has HTC thinking about tablets, albeit cautiously.

"It's a new market with many competitors, and we don't want to rush into it," said Peter Chou, HTC chief executive. "We hope the product we eventually unveil will be one that meets consumers' needs."

HTC is wise to play it patient here. Early Android tablets, while showing some promise, lack the polish that Google's upcoming Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is supposed to bring to the table. Honeycomb is being built from the ground up with tablets in mind, and from what little we've seen so far , it appears to be a much more appropriate OS to base a tablet on.

In the meantime, HTC is killing it in the smartphone market. The handset maker shipped 24.6 million handsets in all last year, which is more than twice the number it shipped in 2009.

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