Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The Taiwanese firm HTC says it's striving for a five per cent share of the smartphone market, up from around 1.8 per cent last year, a top official said.

Mohammad Kais Zribi, regional director, HTC, Middle East North Africa, told Gulf News: "HTC was the first company to launch Android phone G1 and today we have launched two more new Android operating system [ver 2.2] models in the region as the Middle East region is an important region and a big potential for our phones."

Yesterday, HTC launched two smartphone models — Desire HD and Desire Z — with an expected price tag of around Dh3,000.

HTC Desire has a 4.3 inch screen powered by a 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with the company's new user interface — the new HTC Sense. Desire Z has a 3.7 inch screen powered by a 1Ghz Qualcomm processor.

He said the new HTC Sense offers a variety of enhancements that improve how people capture, create, share and access multimedia.

With a newly created camera, people can record high definition videos or capture and edit images with a variety of fun camera effects. With HTC's Location, described as a new online mapping experience, users have instant, on-demand mapping without download delays or mobile roaming charges.

HTC Sense is described as including a new, integrated online e-reading experience which utilises a new e-book store powered by Koboäand and a new, mobile, optimised e-reader that includes the ability to highlight, annotate and quickly search for definitions or translate unfamiliar terms.

In the smartphone operating systems, Android expanded rapidly in the second quarter of 2010, overtaking Apple's iPhone operating systems to become the third most-popular in the world.

In the US, it also overtook RIM's operating systems to become the top in this region.

The volumes sold by Android operating system are very strong. Globally Android has a 17 per cent market share and the Apple iOS (operating system) has 14 per cent.

Annette Zimmermann, Senior Research Analyst, Mobile Devices Technology and Service Provider Research at Gartner, said: "Android will definitely become the number two platform much before 2012 behind Nokia's Symbian".

In 2010, around 15.7 million smartphones are expected to be sold. Of that, Android handsets are expected to be in 377,100 units compared to 16,000 units in 2009.

Zribi said: "Our strategy is to become the number one player in the Android segment in this region this year and next year we want to attain average market share in the Middle East and Africa of 10 per cent."

In the second quarter of 2010, HTC sold around 88,300 units and captured 2.3 per cent of the MEA market, compared to 96,300 with a market share of 2.8 per cent in first quarter.

"We will be launching Windows Phone 7 handsets next month and we will be concentrating on Android and Windows segments," Zribi said. "So far we have launched six models and around five more models by end of the year."

He said as part of the expansion plan, HTC Mena is spreading its wings into the North African and Levant markets.