HTC Profit Surge Boosted by Android

HTC said its recent quarterly profits nearly tripled, due in large part to the increasing popularity of Google’s Android smartphone software.

The Taiwan-based phone maker posted a $500 million fourth-quarter profit, up from $188 million in the same period a year ago. Once the world’s leader in Windows Mobile devices, the results, in large part, highlight HTC’s successful move to Android.

As the momentum for Android remains strong, HTC’s profits are expected to climb this year, and fuel the company’s continued growth in the future.

Companies like HTC are riding high on the overall surge in popularity of Android. Google’s platform became the world’s number-two smartphone operating system last year, trailing only Nokia’s Symbian platform. In the U.S., more people are choosing Android phones over Apple’s iPhones for the first time ever, according to a recent report by research firm ComScore.

But Android phones still have some distance to cover if they are to overtake the wildly-popular iPhone. Apple still commands more than 28 percent of the market share of smartphones in the U.S., while Android devices are spread out among a range of companies. Both Android devices and the iPhones are also expected to grow equally by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

While the race is still on between Android and iPhone to dominate the smartphone market, companies like HTC are capitalizing on Android’s boom and seeing profits grow at explosive rates.

Earlier this month, HTC gave a glimpse of its latest Android smartphones — the Thunderbolt for Verizon and Inspire for AT&T — in an ad in Rolling Stone magazine.

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