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Mini-handset accessory launched for HTC One

TAIPEI--Taiwan's HTC Corp. on Monday launched a mini handset as an optional accessory to a customized version of its HTC One flagship phone for the Japanese market, in cooperation with a major telecom operator there.

The HTC J One Mini has the same form factor as the HTC Mini accessory sold in China, featuring a 1.5-inch screen and a substantial number keyboard, according to HTC.

Priced at 9,800 Japanese yen (US$96), the phone-like device can be paired with the HTC J One phone by Bluetooth wireless radio technology or near-field communication (NFC) technology to make voice calls, check messages or trigger the camera shutter, the company said.

When the HTC One was launched in China last month, the mini-handset accessory was sent as a free gift to a limited number of customers who had pre-ordered the phone. HTC said the accessory is currently available only in China and Japan.

Also on Monday, HTC launched its flagship HTC J One smartphone in collaboration with au, the mobile division of Japan's second-largest carrier KDDI Corp., in a bid to build on the success of its large-screen J Butterfly phone there.

The HTC J One has similar specifications to the international version of the HTC One — a 4.7-inch full-HD display, a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core chipset and a 32-gigabyte built-in memory — but includes a micro-SD card slot for up to 64GB extra storage.

The new phone is expected to go on sale through au stores in early June, the mobile carrier said, but did not disclose the prices.

Japan is the 9th foreign market that the new HTC One has entered in the past three months, after the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Australia, Singapore, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

CK Cheng, an analyst at Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA Global Markets, said the launch of the HTC J One with au was a positive move for HTC.

“Our check suggests One's availability in Taiwan has improved since last week. The launch of the device in Japan further echoes the comments of Peter Chou, HTC's CEO, at the company's first-quarter earnings call that One supply will improve from May,” he wrote in a note to clients dated May 20.

For HTC to attain its second-quarter revenue guidance of NT$70 billion, which indicates a 64-percent quarterly growth, its May and June sales would need to grow 20 percent and 15 percent month-on-month, respectively, Cheng estimated.

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