HTC to ship 1 millionth Touch Diamond by mid-August

HTC will ship its one millionth iPhone-rival handset within months of its June launch.

High Tech Computer (HTC) will soon ship its one millionth Touch Diamond handset, just a few months after its launch in June, despite stiff competition from Apple's iPhone 3G.

By comparison, Apple took just three days to sell a million of its popular new iPhone 3G and 74 days to sell the first million units of its original iPhone. Few products measure up to the hype and popularity of the Apple device.

The Touch Diamond, a Microsoft Windows Mobile-based 3G (third generation telecommunications) smartphone with a 2.8-inch touchscreen, is HTC's fastest selling handset ever, said Maggie Cheng, an HTC representative. The smartphone is selling well in Europe and Asia, she said, but has not yet launched in the U.S. or Japan.

HTC expects to ship over 2 million Touch Diamond handsets by the end of this year.

The Touch Diamond has been popular among gadget blogs and technology Web sites for its cutting-edge technology and the contoured diamond-shaped backside, as well as its status as a rival to the iPhone 3G.

Strong demand for the Touch Diamond indicate the iPhone continues to expand the overall market for smartphones, a theory analysts that some market researchers, such as Canalys and Gartner, have put forth as a reason rival products sell well against the popular Apple handset. There had been fears that Apple's US$199 price tag might significantly slow down the competition, but companies including HTC have been able to provide similar pricing for their smartphones.

The Touch Diamond has already been launched by over 50 operators in 30 countries around the world.

On Monday, HTC announced a deal with Taiwan Mobile to offer the Touch Diamond for free to people who sign a 3G contract. The cost of the handset is recouped over time through the contract, as is the case with the iPhone 3G.

HTC had originally planned to launch the Touch Diamond for NT$23,900 (AUD$846) in Taiwan.

HTC is the world's largest maker of smartphones that use Microsoft software, and the Touch Diamond pits the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS against Apple's iPhone software.

The company also plans to introduce four or five more Diamond family products in the second half of this year, including the Touch Pro, which boasts a Qwerty-keypad that slides out from underneath for easy thumb typing.

Shipments of the Touch Diamond have far outpaced HTC's previous best seller, the HTC Touch, Cheng said. The Touch was launched last year to compete against the original iPhone.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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