BARCELONA (Reuters) - Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC (2498.TW) unveiled on Tuesday two social networking phone models, with a focus on Facebook access, and introduced its first tablet computer to a crowded marketplace.
The world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker also introduced new versions of its hit models Desire, Wildfire and Incredible.
All six new devices will run Google’s (GOOG.O) Android software, which ended the 10-year reign of Nokia’s NOK1V.HE Symbian as the pre-eminent smartphone platform last quarter.
“We believe customers want choice; one size does not fit all,” said Philip Blair, product director at HTC Europe.
HTC’s strong push into smartphones using Google’s Android operating system has helped the company to grow market share against bigger rivals like Nokia and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS).
It held 9 percent of the global smartphone market in the December quarter, according to research firm IDC.
HTC joined the throng of tablet makers with its Flyer model, which comes with a 7-inch screen and a separate stylus.
According to PRTM Management Consultants before the show there were 102 tablets either for sale or in development by 64 manufacturers.
HTC positioned the tablet in the premium price category, but said its was ready to sell new social networking phones at keenly competitive price levels.
“We are really trying to for the young and mass market. We will try to be as aggressive as we can,” Blair said.
HTC is hoping to replicate the success of smaller vendor INQ Mobile, which has built a business by focusing solely on social networking models.
HTC’s new social networking models come with a dedicated hard-key for Facebook, enabling users to post information to their Facebook account with just one keystroke.
Mobile is an increasingly important driver of traffic to Facebook, which says 250 million users per month access the social network on mobile devices.
All six devices use Qualcomm’s (QCOM.O) chipsets.
Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Will Waterman