High Tech Computer Corp (HTC, 宏達電) said yesterday it would offer domestic customers the chance to try its Touch Diamond smartphone free of charge starting today at 30 outlets, as the company gears up to launch sales of the new handset nationwide at the end of the month.
The company’s Touch Diamond smartphones will hit the market with a retail price of NT$23,900 (US$785) per unit, the company said on its Web site.
That figure is much higher than the price tag for Apple Inc’s new 3G iPhone, which was launched earlier this week at US$199 for 8GB of memory and US$299 for 16GB of memory.
But the retail price for the Diamond model does not include a possible subsidy by its local telecommunications operator as part of a contract deal.
Analysts have speculated that HTC will have to slash its price to compete with the new iPhone.
HTC said its model offers faster data connectivity with High Speed Downlink Packet Access and High-Speed Uplink Packet Access technologies.
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the only domestic operator of the Diamond, said HTC’s handset was tailored for businesspeople.
A KGI Securities Co (中信證券) official who declined to be named said that Chunghwa Telecom had an interest in portraying the HTC handset as better for businesspeople as Chunghwa may also become the operator of the new iPhone in Taiwan.
Shares of HTC rose 0.56 percent to NT$760 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The stock has dropped 5.89 percent since the launch of the new iPhone on Tuesday.
HTC chief financial officer Cheng Hui-ming (鄭慧明) said yesterday that smartphone prices wouldn’t drop in the short term.
She said the company expects an annual rise of 30 percent to 40 percent in smartphone shipments next year.
HTC president Peter Chou (周永明) said customer orders for the Diamond were stable despite the launch of the new iPhone.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY WANG I-HUNG
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