After a strong 2010, HTC promises an even better 2011

After a strong 2010, HTC promises an even better 2011HTC has ridden on the tidal wave of Android's success to become one of the top smartphone makers around, but if 2010 was a big year for the Taiwanese company, 2011 promises to be even better.

That was the message from HTC boss Peter Chou as he delivered another set of stellar quarterly results for Q4 2010. He promised 2011 would see HTC enter the tablet game in a big way as well as deliver another hatful of strong Android phones.

Chou announced that HTC's total revenues in 2010 had risen a massive 93% over 2009's figures, while actual smartphone sales more than doubled to 24.67 million units.

“The year 2010 was a breakthrough year,” Chou said in an earnings call yesterday. “Going from a company of no scale to one of scale, that process was faster than I expected. Last year was the year that smartphones exploded.”

Much of that explosion was down to Android, which itself went from an also-ran with potential at the end of 2009 to the fastest-growing platform of all a year later, and one expected to be the global market leader within months.

HTC can take plenty of the credit itself, having been the manufacturer involved in many of Android's most notable handsets, from its own HTC Hero and HTC Desire HD to the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, and Google's own-branded Nexus One.

But the company certainly isn't resting on its laurels, and plans a strong line of products for the first half of 2011, as revealed in yesterday's leak of part of the company's smartphone roadmap for the year by PocketNow.

“We continue to see strong demand from existing products and expect recently launched 4G products to help drive shipment growth in 2011,” the company said in a statement prior to Chou's comments, adding that first-quarter smartphone shipments alone were expected to hit 8.5 million units.

Yet despite such strong ties with Android in the smartphone market, HTC has yet to follow the example of Samsung, Motorola and a host of other Android associates in looking to get involved in the tablet arena.

The company has always said it sees little point in releasing a tablet also-ran, and wants to be able to offer something compelling. However, if Chou's comments are anything to go by, it seems HTC may have found what it's looking for. He confirmed an HTC tablet was indeed in the pipelines, with rumours doing the rounds that the device will be named the HTC Flyer, but reaffirmed the company's policy of taking things carefully.

“It’s a new market with many competitors, and we don’t want to rush into it,” Chou said.

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