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HTC adds mini version to its One M8 series

TAIPEI -- Taiwan-based HTC Corp. (宏達電) expanded its flagship smartphone lineup Thursday with a downsized version of the HTC One M8, in an effort to chase Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Mobile and boost its second-quarter sales.

The HTC One mini 2 sports a 4.5-inch HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad core processor, 16GB of internal memory, 4G LTE connectivity, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera with 1080p full-HD video recording.

The One mini 2 will arrive in Europe and Asia in June, with different dates of availability in the various countries, HTC said in a press release but did not disclose the price of the device.

"The latest member of the award-winning HTC One family distills the advanced features that have earned it global acclaim, into an elegant, compact handset," said HTC CEO Peter Chou (周永明).

"Its size and tapered edges fit perfectly in a hand, pocket or purse, making it look great and feel even better to use. It's the perfect choice for those who love the iconic design of the HTC One M8 yet want something more compact," Chou said.

Some of the features carried over from the flagship M8 include the BoomSound dual front speakers, BlinkFeed live-streaming home screen, and Zoe app that allows users to create, share and remix video compilations of selfies, video clips and photos, according to HTC.

While it took six months for HTC to release its One mini after the launch of the HTC One (M7) in February last year, the One mini 2 was unveiled less than two months after the M8's debut on March 25 this year.

The faster roll-out is expected to help HTC close the gap with its competitors and boost its sales in the second quarter. HTC has forecast that it will to return to profitability in the second quarter after three consecutive quarters of losses.

In early February, Japan's Sony Mobile launched its 4.3-inch Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone on the Taiwan market at a price of NT$15,380 (US$511), seeking to capitalize on the start of Taiwan's 4G operations in the second half of this year.

This was followed by top Android phone maker Samsung's launch of its flagship Galaxy S5 in Taiwan in mid-March. The South Korean firm reportedly will add to its successful Galaxy series a 4.5-inch model called the S5 mini and a 5.2-inch model called the S5 Prime

HTC shares closed down 0.31 percent at NT$162.5 Thursday in Taipei prior to its announcement of the One mini 2.

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