HTC is raking in profits on Android smartphones, which have quickly reshaped the mobile market with their explosive growth.
The rising popularity of Android-based phones like its Thunderbolt handset helped HTC nearly triple profits in the first quarter of 2011. The Android-based Thunderbolt 4G outsold the iPhone in 28 percent of the 150 Verizon stores surveyed and sales of each phone were in a dead heat at another 61 percent of stores, according to New York research firm BTIG last week.
HTC isn’t the only company expected to get a sales boost from Android, which is only set to expand its market share in the future. Forty-nine percent of all smartphones are expected to operate on Android by the end of 2012, according to research analysts Gartner. That’s up from 39 percent this year and 23 percent last year.
In contrast, Apple is expected to slowly decrease in market share, though total market growth will keep absolute numbers rising steeply. Android handset makers will also be scraping market share from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.
Nokia’s Symbian OS is set to evaporate by 2015, but the handset maker could be giving the market a run for its money with Windows Phone-based handsets in the future: by Gartner’s estimation, the Microsoft OS will run on nearly 20 percent of smartphones by 2015, and many of those should be Nokia, which announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft earlier this year.
Aside from getting richer and expanding its line of high-end Android models, HTC’s plans for the current quarter include expanding into the rapidly emerging tablet market. The company will launch its first tablet, the HTC Flyer, which was first unveiled in February. The Flyer runs on Android with HTC Sense, has a 7-inch touch screen, and weighs less than 15 ounces.