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HTC Opens UK Office, Launches Evo 3D Phone

HTC officially opened its European headquarters in Slough today, amid rumours of a new boss

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has opened a new European headquarters in Slough – in the same building that used to house the UK headquarters of mobile operator O2.

The new facility is 6,500 square metres in size, and will allow nearly 150 new positions to be created over the coming 12 months.

The opening ceremony was officiated by culture minister Ed Vaizey, and was attended by the Mayor of Slough, Sukhjit Dhaliwal, as well as Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation, and members of the HTC board.

“HTC is committed to expanding our influence in EMEA over the next few years and look forward to using this new state-of-the-art base to derive more insights into how we will communicate in the future in order to fuel mobile innovation now and in the future,” said Florian Seiche, president of HTC for the EMEA region.

New talent, new devices

The news comes amid rumours that Phil Roberson, the executive who oversees Everything Everywhere’s range of devices, is defecting to HTC. ‘Insiders’ reportedly told The Independent newspaper that Roberson has not yet resigned, but has told colleagues of the forthcoming move.

eWEEK Europe contacted HTC for confirmation, but a spokesperson said that the company did not comment on rumour or speculation.

Meanwhile, HTC has announced the forthcoming arrival of its Evo 3D smartphone in Europe. The device has a stereoscopic display, which means that 3D effects can be seen without the need for special glasses, and has been billed as a competitor to LG’s Optimus 3D handset.

The HTC Evo 3D runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, together with the latest HTC Sense user interface. It runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has twin 5 Megapixel cameras, allowing users to switch between 2D and 3D mode, even in low lighting conditions.

Making an impression on the market

HTC is fast becoming one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in Europe, with smartphone sales across EMEA increasing by 67 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared to a year earlier, according to statistics from Canalys.

The company sold 9.7 million smartphones globally in Q1 2011 – an increase of 192 percent year-on-year, and 6 percent on the previous quarter.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, HTC unveiled its first tablet computer, the HTC Flyer, along with two new Android smartphones, the ChaCha and the Salsa, with built-in Facebook integration.

The Flyer is a 7-inch tablet running on a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and can be operated either with a finger or with a ‘magic pen’ (also known as a stylus). The device went on sale in shops across the UK, including Amazon, the Carphone Warehouse and Expansys, in May. Prices start from £479.99 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only edition, rising to £599.99 for the 32GB version with both Wi-Fi and 3G.