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UPDATE 2-HTC CEO says Q1 results better-than-expected

* HTC results, smartphone demand better-than-expected

* No impact on carrier relationships from Apple suit (Updates with additional details from interview)

LAS VEGAS, March 23 (Reuters) - HTC Corp's 2498.TW chief executive said the company's current quarter results would be better-than-expected, amid strong demand for smartphones.

The world’s No. 5 smartphone maker disappointed investors with the first quarter outlook it offered in January, where it forecast revenue to grow by up to 7 percent from a year ago and gross profit margins of about 30 percent.

HTC CEO Peter Chou declined to comment specifically on revenue or profit margins, but had upbeat comments about the current quarter.

“I think it was better-than-expected in terms of demand and our results,” Chou said in an interview with Reuters during the CTIA trade show in Las Vegas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sprint Nextel S.N formally unveiled HTC's EVO 4G, the No. 3 U.S. operator's first smartphone that will support its WiMax high-speed wireless service. [ID:nN23111202]

HTC ranks behind bigger smartphone rivals Nokia Oyj NOK1V.HE, Blackberry maker Research in Motion RIM.TO, iPhone maker Apple Inc AAPL.O and Motorola Inc MOT.N in the global smartphone rankings, according to research firm IDC.

Earlier this month, Apple sued Taiwan-based HTC and accused it of infringing 20 hardware and software patents related to the iPhone.

Even though the suit did not name Google as a defendant, Apple's move was widely viewed as an attack on the Internet company, whose Android software is fast becoming popular in smartphones from HTC, Motorola, Samsung 005930.KS and others.

Chou said the company has not seen any impact on its carrier relationships from Apple’s lawsuit.

Although he declined to talk about the case, Chou said HTC does not copy its rivals’ technology.

“We have been working on smartphones for long before the iPhone came to market,” he said.

Chou said that HTC has seen good support from Google in the wake of the Apple lawsuit.

He also does not expect any impact on HTC’s Android phones in China due to Google’s dispute with the Chinese government.

Google on Monday closed its China-based search service and began redirecting Web searchers to a uncensored portal in Hong Kong, a move that drew a sharp response from Beijing.[ID:nN22214210] (Reporting by Sinead Carew and Gabriel Madway; editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr)

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