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HTC triples profits on strong Android sales

Smartphone maker HTC has almost tripled its profits this quarter, compared to the same period last year, thanks to a boom in sales of its Android smartphones.

According to a report on business news site Bloomberg, the Taiwanese company earned $14.8 billion Taiwan dollars (£311 million) in the quarter ending March 31st - nearly three times as much as it made in the first quarter of 2010.

HTC didn't reveal exactly how many handsets it had shipped in the first three months of the year - but in January, the company announced that it expected to ship 8.5 million handsets - a 157 per cent hike on the previous year's sales.

The company's new ThunderBolt handset, which uses 4G mobile technology, has proved particularly popular in the States, where 4G networks are beginning to be rolled out. US Mobile operator Verizon reported that sales of the ThunderBolt equalled or exceeded sales of Apple's iPhone 4 in 89 per cent of its stores this quarter.

The company also hopes to crack the tablet market, currently cornered by Apple's IPad 2, with its upcoming seven-inch Android-based Flyer due to launch this spring.

Earlier this week, it was announced that HTC's market value had surpassed that of global best-seller Nokia, with a worth of $33.8 billion, against Nokia's $32.84 billion.

Finnish mobile maker Nokia's fortunes have foundered over the past year with the failure of its Symbian operating system to keep pace with rival offerings, Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS. The phone giant recently threw its hand in with Microsoft, with a controversial $1 billion agreement to develop handsets for the Windows Phone 7 Platform - a move that could prove make-or-break for the company.