*Sees U.S. phone sales volume up at least 50 pct this year
*Sees U.S. launch of Hero Android phone in the fall
*Sees strong growth of Windows-based phones
(Adds executive quotes, background details)
NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) - HTC Corp (2498.TW) sees U.S. phone unit sales increasing by “at least 50 percent” this year, boosted by devices based on Google Inc’s (GOOG.O) Android system, the head of its U.S. business said on Wednesday.
“I expect to grow U.S. volume by at least 50 percent from 2008 to 2009,” Jason Mackenzie, vice president for HTC America, told Reuters in an interview, noting that this would imply sales of about 6 million phones this year.
In comparison, Mackenzie noted that HTC’s chief executive had announced expectations for volume growth of 20 percent on a global basis for the company this year.
Part of the reason for the faster U.S. growth may be attributed to strong interest in smartphones here and the fact that HTC’s brand is longer-established in overseas markets.
Mackenzie said HTC, which also makes phones using Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) software, would boost sales despite the recession and stiff competition from phones such as Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone and BlackBerry from Research In Motion RIM.TO.
HTC was first to launch phones based on Google’s Android system last year. It plans to start selling a new phone based on the system via No. 4 U.S. mobile service T-Mobile USA in August. T-Mobile USA is owned by Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE).
Rivals such as Motorola Inc MOT.N and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) are also planning to sell Android phones.
“Competitively we feel very good,” Mackenzie said.
Android will likely be the fastest growing platform here this year, since HTC only started selling its high-profile G1 Android phone in late October last year.
Along with the new MyTouch 3G phone, to be sold by T-Mobile USA, Mackenzie said it also has a U.S. carrier customer planning a fall launch for the HTC Hero, another Android phone that will first go on sale in the UK in July.
But Mackenzie said growth would also be driven by phones based on Microsoft’s Window’s Mobile system.
“We’ll do great business with both platforms,” the executive said.
HTC had a roughly 4.5 percent share of the global smartphone market in 2008 and ranked No. 4 behind Nokia, Research In Motion and Apple, according to Gartner.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Carol Bishopric and Richard Chang)
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