Taiwan's struggling HTC aims latest 'phablet' phone at China

Taiwan's struggling HTC aims latest 'phablet' phone at China

TAIPEI - Struggling Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC launched its latest plus-sized handset in Beijing Tuesday, hoping to cash in on the fast growing Chinese market where users are demanding increasingly larger screens.

The "One Max", which boasts the widest display in the HTC family at 5.9-inches and a fingerprint scanner, is to be rolled out around the world from the middle of the month, the company said.

The device - which sits in the so-called "phablet" category where handsets are larger than average smartphones but smaller than tablets - will not receive its Taiwan or Unites States launch until later this week, although reporters in Taipei were briefed on the new device Tuesday.

A company spokesman would not comment on reports that publication of the phone's specifictions was brought forward 24-hours following a media leak.

Analysts said it was in China where the Taiwanese manufacturer hoped the One Max would prove popular as it struggles against its more popular rivals Samsung and Apple.

"It is reasonable that HTC is now giving priority to China as it is expected to emerge as the most fast growing and biggest smartphone market in the world," a senior industry analyst told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He was mindful of a pledge by HTC chairwoman Cher Wang to take a 20 per cent share of China's lucrative high-tier smartphone market by next year.

But the analyst predicted the amount of One Max handsets HTC is able to ship to China would not be high enough to significantly lift up the company's fortunes.

According to research firm IDC, sales of smartphones in China could grow 25 per cent in 2014 to 450 million units from a forecast 360 million for 2013.

The phone's large screen is part of a trend across high-end smartphone manufacturers to offer larger devices as consumers increasingly rely on the phones in their pockets to surf the Internet and watch movies.

"We're introducing this supersized handset as users are changing their habits," an HTC official, told reporters in Taipei.

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