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HTC M7 flagship smartphone rumoured for early 2013 release

Reports have emerged that HTC is preparing a flagship handset to rival leading smartphones such as Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3.

The handset, rumoured to be the HTC M7, may appear in the first half of 2013. A Taiwanese publication called Focus Taiwan has claimed that HTC has briefed suppliers to prepare casings and semiconductors for four to five million handsets for a March 2013 launch.

No specs have been released but rumours are rife that the device will feature a Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core processor, a 5in display, a 13-megapixel camera and a unibody aluminium shell.

Despite enjoying early success, HTC has struggled to compete in the smartphone market since 2011, when its sales began to decline sharply as consumers switched to handsets like Apple's iPhone 4 and Samsung's Galaxy range.

In October, the firm announced a 79 per cent fall in profits since last year. It is hoping to change its fortunes with the release of the HTC Windows 8X and 8S handsets, both of which run on Microsoft's recently launched Windows Phone 8 platform.

Fans are also eagerly awaiting the release of the 5in HTC J Butterfly, thought to be the world's first smartphone to feature a full HD display, into the European market. It has already been released in the US as the HTC Droid DNA but there is no word on when the device will reach the UK.