Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - HTC profits have reached only about half what analysts had expected, figures from the last quarter of 2012 have revealed. Operating income for the period had been expect to be around the $39 million mark but turned out to be more like $21 million - the lowest the company has posted since 2004.

Much of that was attributed to a lack of products released in that quarter by HTC and the figures don't yet include the sales from the HTC Butterfly, which was in the top 10 phones sold in Japan over the Christmas period. Nonetheless, the figures won't make particularly comfortable viewing for CEO Peter Chou nor are they encouraging for customers and mobile networks the world over.

The numbers should be of little surprise to Pocket-lint readers and followers of mobile phone development. While HTC was hot off the mark with Android, that's very quickly become the domain of Samsung with its Galaxy S phones ruling the roost. The other great share of the smartphone market, of course, goes to Apple, and HTC has watched its space in the same field dwindle over the past year or two to 4.6 per cent - less than half that of Samsung.

It's easy to point at losing chief innovation officer Horace Luke in 2011 and the chief of operations in 2012 and it's equally easy to look at the relatively small and safe steps in mobile phone development at the same time. What HTC does about the fall going into MWC 2013 and beyond will likely prove to be the real test of the company.

Writing by Dan Sung.