By Tarmo Virki and Clare Jim
BARCELONA/TAIPEI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Taiwan’s HTC , the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, launched a new range of smartphone models on Sunday, hoping the fresh designs will help it to recover some of the lost market share.
The new smartphones are crucial for HTC in a cut-throat market place -- dominated by Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc -- as lack of new, outstanding models has sent its sales sinking over the last months.
The challenge for HTC, which was once the standard bearer for the market-leading Google’s Android operating system, but dropped in global rankings last quarter, is to make its Android devices stand out among dozens of similar models.
HTC unveiled three new models for the new HTC One range late on Sunday, ahead of start of Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.
“HTC One takes HTC to a new level,” CEO Peter Chou said at a news conference.
All new models -- One X, One S and One V -- run the latest version of Android software.
HTC said 144 mobile operators -- the widest carrier support for the firm so far -- have agreed to carry HTC One range models starting from April.
“The products look competitive, but HTC executives will be looking over their shoulders nervously to see how these new devices stack up against rival Android smartphones also being announced at the show,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.
The Taiwanese company said on earlier this month that it anticipated a drop in revenue of as much as 36 percent for the first quarter, well below analysts expectations. ID:nL4E8D653N]
The former contract maker had a fairytale ride in 2010 and early 2011, when its shares more than tripled in the 14 months to April 2011 and sales grew four-fold in 1-1/2 years as consumers snapped up its innovative phones with their distinctive large clock numerals.
But an equally rapid fall from grace saw its stock become the worst performer among global smartphone companies last year, down 42 percent.